As I have mentioned before, we have several members serving on national committees for the College, and I wanted to introduce you to what they are up to. Julie Rosenbaum, MD, FACP, who is a faculty member of the Yale-New Haven Medical Center (Primary Care) Program, sits on the ACP Ethics, Professionalism, and Human Rights Committee. Dr. Rosenbaum writes:
“Since April of 2014, I have had the honor of serving on the APC Ethics, Professionalism, and Human Rights Committee (EPHRC). Because of my long standing interest in medical ethics, I had often read the statements from this committee in Annals of Internal Medicine over the years. These have included such topics as online professionalism, physician-assisted suicide, and physician-industry relations. This is the committee which updates the American College of Physicians Ethics Manual, which is currently in its Sixth Edition.
The official charge of the committee is “to formulate principles and policies in ethics, professionalism, and human rights for the Board of Regents, uphold high ethical standards in medicine, and advise ACP’s Ethics and Professionalism staff.” The committee includes a Chair, who is a Regent of ACP, a Vice-Chair, who is a Governor and 10 additional members who include at least one Regent, at least one Governor, one Resident/Fellow member, one Medical Student, and one Early Career Physician member. Members are appointed for one year terms, renewable up to three times, and therefore a total term of four years. The Committee meets in Philadelphia two times a year, usually once in June and once in the fall. There is often a separate committee conference call in February and a brief meeting during the ACP Annual meeting.
The meetings occur in the Boardroom of ACP and are supported by an outstanding staff, led by Lois Snyder Sulmasy, JD, who is an expert in clinical ethics and health policy. Lois has been at ACP for several years and has incredible institutional memory and understanding of how the EPHRC works with other committees and supports the efforts of ACP generally.
During recent meetings, the committee has considered how to formulate ACP recommendations regarding direct payment practices with the Medical Practice and Quality Committee. We have discussed the novel ethical implications of electronic health record in conjunction with the Medical Informatics Committee. At each meeting, we receive updates from the Board of Governors and Board of Regents, whether about the recent Maintenance of Certification controversy or resolutions on how to disseminate information on gun safety to members of the ACP.
Participating in this committee has given me a new appreciation for the efforts of the ACP to advocate on behalf of physicians and our patients, and how a large organization works to advance its mission and uphold its standards. The meetings themselves are fascinating opportunities to consider the ethical issues of our day with like-minded colleagues from around the country, examine multiple aspects of difficult issues, and formulate clear responses and positions for ACP. I will have the honor of helping to present the Update in Ethics Issues at the ACP Annual Meeting in Boston in April. Hope to see you there!”