Integrity in Academic Medicine
The integrity of our faculty as they pursue their clinical, research and teaching missions is of paramount importance, and the challenge posed by potential conflicts of interest is one we take extremely seriously. For this reason, I am pleased to announce that the committee I commissioned to review the Harvard Medical School Faculty of Medicine Policy on Conflicts of Interest and Commitment has completed its work. A process has been initiated to incorporate the committee's recommendations into our existing policy and practices.
Clearly, neither academia nor industry alone is equipped to develop the therapies that we so desperately need to eradicate the diseases men, women and children around the world confront. For this reason, we are committed to encouraging collaborations between our faculty and industry while ensuring the transparency of those relationships through a policy that further codifies and enforces our high standards.
On this website, in the Dean's Corner, you will find two articles that I have written; one, written to help frame these new recommendations within the context of our many HMS research and education programs; the second, a white paper written last year that provides a broad overview on industry and academic relationships. I invite you to read both articles and send me your thoughts.
Compliance with the Faculty of Medicine Policy on Conflicts of Interest and Commitment is an important way for the HMS faculty to assure the continued integrity of and trust in those relationships and our missions. As a result of the committee’s recommendations, HMS Policy now requires faculty to report their outside activities annually. The current reporting cycle can be accessed by HMS Faculty by going to http://ecommons.med.harvard.edu/gopage.asp?aoa.asp and logging in through eCommons.
Identifying and appropriately addressing conflicts of interest, whether they be financial, personal, or professional, are the responsibility of HMS and every academic institution in the country and throughout the world. Please check back frequently for updates as we work to implement the committee's recommendations to reinforce our longstanding commitment to integrity in science.
Jeffrey S. Flier
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Harvard Medical School, Harvard University