Conflict of Interest Policy

I. INTRODUCTION

The International Society For Children’s Health and the Environment (ISCHE) was created to function both as a scientific society and an advocacy group for children’s health. With a membership of clinicians, researchers, and advocates for children, it aspires to use scientific evidence to promote health and to protect children from environmental hazards. Confidence in the integrity of the Society is enhanced by maintaining independence and transparency in financial relationships. ISCHE demonstrates its dedication to these values by disclosing, managing, and limiting financial relationships that could be perceived to compromise its objective voice.

The following policy for relationships with companies describes ISCHE’s approach to addressing financial relationships held by leaders, members of committees or working groups, and participants in ISCHE activities.

II. Definitions:

A.Elected Leadership: members of organization council, executive committees and similar elected offices

B.  Employees: hired individual that works for ISCHE and receives financial compensation

C.  Other committee or working group members: membership, policy, fundraising, publication, and other committee members involved in developing position statements and other activities representing the Society

D.Members of the organization: members that identify with ISCHE and pay the annual dues

E.  Industry: for-profit entity that may be affected by policy resulting from ISCHE-sponsored committee or other reports, or a company that develops, produces, markets, or distributes products or services that could potentially harm children’s health. 

F.   Potentially conflicted not-for-profit organizations: Organizations receiving funding from industry or with industry-overlapping directorates, leadership or staff.

III. IMPLEMENTATION:

A.  Application of policy to the Society and affiliated entities

 This policy applies to the activities of the Society, unless explicit terms or the context dictate otherwise.

B.   Conflict of Interest Policy for Leadership

The Society’s conflict of interest policies for ISCHE leadership govern the management of all ISCHE associated individuals, their affiliation with the organization, and the implementation and procedure in the case of conflict.

C.  Conflict of Interest Policy for Committee Members

The Society’s Conflict of Interest Policies for ISCHE committee or working group members govern admission and management of financial relationships held by interested persons. If other committee members believe that a member's interest may result in the approval of a policy or the undertaking of activity that is not in the best interest of ISCHE, the other members may raise concerns. (See below).

D.Conflict of Interest Policy Prevention and Public Health Guidelines

ISCHE’s policy is to encourage the development of clinical practice and public health guidelines,guidance, quality measures, and practice tools in a manner that minimizes the risk of actual and perceived bias. Among other requirements, all committee or working group members developing ISCHE position statements or representing ISCHE must not hold relevant relationships with affected industry or other potentially conflicted organizations. At the discretion of an ISCHE working group, this requirement does not preclude inviting an industry-affiliated expert with knowledge important for developing ISCHE goals, to speak or present to an ISCHE working group (for example a representative of a company developing a “green technology” alternative to lead batteries or filters for air pollution). However, industry-affiliated experts will not be invited to serve as members of such a committee or working group or to have voting rights if applicable. In addition, ISCHE does not accept funding from such organizations to support the development or initial publication of public health, policy statements or clinical practice guidelines.

IV. DISCLOSURE OF FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIPS

A.  Institutional Relationships

The Society publicly reveals external support of programmatic actions, including charitable donations, educational grants, and sponsorships. In addition, the Society publicly discloses financial relationships with companies held by leadership, employees, and committee members.

B.Individual Relationships

Many volunteers and other individuals take part in the planning, authorship, peer review, or presentation of programs or content through ISCHE conferences, workshops, committees, and other activities. ISCHE considers it important to understand individuals’ financial relationships with industry and to make appropriate information available to colleagues, readers, and other affected parties. This policy requires disclosure of certain financial and other relationships held by all individuals who:

1. Are part of ISCHE leadership and employees

2. Serve on ISCHE committees, as spokespersons, or in any other volunteer activity or official capacity for ISCHE

3. Submit abstracts or makepresentations in ISCHE educational or scientific programs

4. ISCHE members or registrants for ISCHE conferences or workshops

5. Have other roles for which disclosure is required by ISCHE

6. Are immediate family members of individuals who hold relationships as described in items 1 through 5.

C. Information to Be Disclosed

Disclosure under this policy generally includes but may not be limited to the following financial relationships: reimbursement received for employment, leadership positions, consulting activities, speaking engagements, and expert testimony; as well as ownership interests, research funding, and licensing fees and royalties associated with intellectual property interests.

V. MANAGEMENT OF POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Information disclosed under this policy will be used to recognize and handle possible conflicts of interest.  

VI. RESTRICTIONS ON CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS

This policy calls for admission and supervision of financial associations with industry and does not create a presumption of impropriety in the existence of these relationships. However, ISCHE’s policy is that certain financial relationships give rise to conflicts of interest that may not be capable of being effectively managedor are incompatible with actual and perceived independence. Individuals who are free of these relationships may play a key role in the authorship of original research submitted to ISCHE meetings or development of policy statements by ISCHE committees or working groups. Although the contribution of every author is important, ISCHE looks to these individuals primarily to ensure the balance and objectivity of the research as presented.

A.Original Research in ISCHE Educational or Scientific Programs

Abstracts and articles concerning original research are not eligible for inclusion in an ISCHE educational or scientific program if the first, last, or corresponding author has:

1.participated in a speakers’ bureau (on any subject) on behalf of an industry sponsor of that original research within 2 years before submission of the abstract;

2.held an employment relationship with the industry sponsor of that research within 2 years before submission of the abstract; or

3.held a significant ownership interest in an industry sponsor of that original research within 2 years before submission of the abstract.

C.Political Affiliations

A member should disclose any considerable political activity in which he or she is involved, or intends to become involved, including any positions for political office held or sought. The member's political activities are permissible if the political activity or office is compatible with the member's ISCHE responsibilities.

VII. EXEMPTIONS AND APPEAL TO RESTRICTIONS

Original research sponsored by governmental and unconflicted not-for-profit agencies, including in exceptional cases, industry-sponsored research (eg. the Health Effects Institute sponsored jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Automobile Industry), if adequate safeguards to guarantee objectivity, independent review of protection and other data developed in the research, and to protect children’s health are in place. Furthermore, restrictions on participation in educational and scientific programs, work on ISCHE committees and working groups, and other conflicts of interest may be waived in cases in which it is clearly in the interest of the Society. However, these will be reviewed and approved by the ISCHE Council on a case-by-case basis.

VIII.    ENFORCEMENT OF POLICY

Covered individuals who do not comply with the requirements of this Policy or applicable implementation plans or procedures may face sanctions under the ISCHE member discipline procedures. The final decision rests with the majority group vote of the ISCHE Council. Sanctions may include but are not limited to:

1.exclusion from submitting abstracts or presenting at Society activities;

2.exclusion from publishing in ISCHE publications;

3.exclusion or removal from participation on ISCHE committees and other volunteer positions; and

4.censure, suspension, or revocation of ISCHE membership.

IX.    IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURE

In order to implement the Conflict of Interest Policy and address any potential conflicts, the following procedure is adopted:

  • The Conflict of Interest Policy will be distributed to all candidates seeking appointment to ISCHE committees, working groups or leadership positions.
     
  • The Conflict of Interest Policy and these guidelines will be distributed annually to each committee or working group member.
     
  • At the time of yearly membership renewal, committee members should disclose all affiliations, including employment, consulting arrangements, memberships on councils and on other boards of trustees or boards of directors, and political offices.
     
  • If a committee member becomes affiliated with another organization, or ceases an affiliation, the member should promptly notify ISCHE. Committee members will be notified of any changes in a member's affiliations prior to the next meeting.
     
  • The members’ affiliations will be reviewed by the council or executive committee to identify any potential conflicts.
     
  • A listing of all committee members' affiliations will be distributed to all other committee members prior to the annual ISCHE meeting.
     
  • Any committee member may raise a question about a possible conflict of interest of another member at any time.
     
  • The committee chair will recommend any necessary action to resolve a conflict of interest.
     
  • The committee will be advised if the conflict of interest has been resolved with the affected member. If the conflict is not resolved, the enforcement of policy (detailed in VII will be executed).