Improved PharmFree Scorecard Rating for University of Illinois College of Medicine

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The University of Illinois College of Medicine Has Received an Improved PharmFree Scorecard Rating

The University of Illinois College of Medicine received a B rating on the American Medical Student Association PharmFree Scorecard  for its policy regarding conflicts of interests between health care industry representatives and university medical staff and faculty.   

The American Medical Student Association is the largest independent organization of physicians-in- training in the country, and is entirely student governed.  
Every year, medical school deans are invited to submit material for inclusion in an assessment of conflict of interest policies.  Findings are graded and published in the AMSA PharmFree Scorecard.
The current report was released on December 10, 2010, with the College of Medicine ranking second highest in Chicago and third amongst the Big Ten—a  significant improvement over the college's previous D rating.  
“The poor grade last year was the stimulus to hasten the project of creating a new COI policy for the College of Medicine,” says Dr. Sarah Kirkpatrick, chair of the College of Medicine Task Force on Relationships With Industry, the group responsible for drafting the new policy.
“I created the task force deliberately placing faculty from all sites and of differing medical specialties on it with the goal of creating a document that could get approved by the executive committee within a year.” 
The group delivered multiple presentations at each of the College of Medicine regional sites (Chicago, Peoria, Rockford, and Urbana) and met with the  College of Medicine Executive Committee on at least two occasions. After incorporating feedback and making appropriate changes, the task force drafted  a new document. The executive committee granted final approval on June 16, 2010.
In its online PharmFree scorecard, AMSA notes that UIC   “...submitted much improved new policies to the AMSA PharmFree Scorecard. Gifts, Meals and Samples are not permitted. Industry Reps are only permitted by appointment only and in non-patient care areas. Disclosure is required for all faculty and staff annually. Funds for non-site, off-site educational activities and scholarships are only acceptable when unrestricted.” 
“I am very pleased with the work the ad hoc group chaired by Dr Sarah Kilpatrick did on conflict of interest and of the thoughtful and candid discussions of this during our executive committee deliberations,” said  Joseph Flaherty, MD, Dean of the College of Medicine.  “It is clear the faculty of this college feel very strongly about maintaining and teaching with the high ethical and professional standards. We look forward to more work and to dialogue with our students on these topics." 
The new policy also includes strategies for continuing faculty and trainee education.  Plans have been outlined for establishing the College Committee on Conflict of Interest; members will be appointed by the dean and will examine future conflicts.
Additionally, a new curriculum is set to be implemented in 2012.  Courses will help students and residents identify conflicts of interest and understand ways in which industry promotion could affect clinical judgment.
The College of Medicine Task force on Relationships with Industry Members were:
Janet A. Jokela, MD, MPH, FACP, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Head of the Department of Internal Medicine (Urbana); Sarah Kilpatrick, MD, PHD, Vice Dean (Chicago);  Mitch King, MD, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs (Rockford); Brian McIntyre, Ed.D, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (Peoria); Linda Rowe,  Ed.D., Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (Peoria); and Mike Warso, MD, Associate Professor, Surgical Oncology (Chicago)