New UAB Enterprise Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Policy Approved

The new UAB Enterprise Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Policy, approved this week and effective later this month, offers several noted improvements. It combines multiple, related standards from various policies into a cohesive whole, streamlines processes for requesting approval of external activities and disclosing financial interests, and clarifies form submission requirements and exemptions to make compliance easier.

After review and contributions from stakeholders from across the organization, the new UAB Enterprise Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Policy was approved this week with an effective date of August 24, 2012.  This policy combines multiple, related standards from each of the UAB entities into one comprehensive document, allowing employees to quickly and conveniently review and apply its provisions.  The policy streamlines processes for requesting approval of external activities and disclosing financial interests.  It also clarifies the purpose, requirements, and exemptions for form submissions, making compliance with the policy easier.  Its result will be less “paperwork” that more efficiently manage risks and adds real value to UAB’s practices.

Other substantive improvements include the following:

  • Varying standards from across the UAB Enterprise are harmonized into one centralized policy, ensuring those with multiple appointments are not bound to different expectations based on the door they enter. 
  • Employees to whom the policy applies are identified by their primary UAB employment organization and category, eliminating ambiguity.
  • All employees are expected to seek advance approval of their participation in external activities.  However, those employees that are required to submit an electronic form to do so are clearly delineated.
  • Many of the typical commitments faculty and staff make to external entities in the course of carrying out UAB’s mission of engagement with the community, such as presentations at other colleges or universities, participation on an academic review panel, or service on non-profit boards, are exempt from the requirement to seek advance approval.  These types of activities – called professional public service activities – are specifically defined in the policy.  Investigators, however, must include certain financial interests obtained from these engagements when they reach certain levels.
  • Individuals required to disclose financial interests related to their institutional responsibilities for purposes of research are illustrated by their role.  With the standard that is set – responsibility for the design, conduct, or reporting of research – this may reduce the overall number of people needing to file disclosure forms.

Advantages of the new policy will be clearly demonstrated in the new single smart form, debuting this fall.  More information about this process improvement will be available in the coming weeks.