The following document has been created based on the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine Department of Continuing Professional Development sponsorship policy, and with consultation from various stakeholders within CCHCSP.
A sponsor is an individual, group, corporation or organization who contributes funds, goods or services to support educational activities, learning resources, or tools. Sponsorship is the process by which a sponsor provides support (financial or in-kind contributions) to CCHCSP to support an educational activity, learning resource, or tool. All learning activities and tools created and organized by CCHCSP are subject to this policy. The intent of this policy, standards and guidelines is to safeguard the integrity of our educational activities from the influence of organizations that could lead to bias.
Continuing Professional Development provided by CCHCSP must
- Be free of commercial influence, based on best scientific evidence and focused on improving the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour of learners.
- Ensure that current, objective, and scientifically rigorous content is delivered to the learners.
- Avoid promoting any service or product for personal gain.
- Ensure that planning committee members will oversee the program development, compliance, and the oversight of the activity in general without any interference from sponsors.
- Resist any influence or interference that could undermine the professional integrity of our training sessions, programs and tools.
This document outlines CCHCSP’s policy pertaining to the support of educational activities, tools, or resources by commercial sponsors (e.g. pharmaceutical companies, instrument and device manufacturers, and service providers). Such activities or resources include but are not restricted to courses, seminars, conferences, workshops, journal clubs, rounds, lectures, online courses, and the production of learning resources, e.g. videos designed for participation or use by health professional learners.
Commercial interests will not influence:
- Identification of learning needs
- Development of educational objectives
- Selection and presentation of content and speakers
- Selection of all planning committee members
- Selection of educational methods
- Evaluation of the activity
SEPARATING EDUCATION FROM MARKETING
Health care professionals must maintain professional autonomy and independence in relations with for profit industry. For educational events and tools, content should be aimed to promote education among its varied learners, while being fair, balanced and free of commercial bias. Acceptable commercial support must be separate from activities intended to promote the marketing of a product.
A. Content, Objectives and Evaluation
Invitations to participate in planning CCHCSP events and tools will come from the CCHCSP governing body and not from commercial sponsors. Topics and learning objectives covered in educational events and tools must be determined by the CCHCSP committees and not sponsors, based on evaluations and gaps that have been identified by registrants and the Program leadership and members. Evaluation mechanisms must contain questions that serve to inquire whether learners perceived commercial bias in the materials received from the speakers.
Sponsors will not be involved in any way, shape or form in:
- Selecting individuals to participate in planning CCHCSP events and tools. This will come from the CCHCSP administration and relevant committees.
- Selecting topics and learning objectives covered in educational events and tools. This will be based on evaluations and gaps that have been identified by the registrants and the program.
- The selection of speakers and course material. All speakers must be identified and invited by the CCHCSP Director and/or planning committee. The choice of speakers, subjects of presentations, travel arrangements, registration, and expenses must all be arranged and paid through CCHCSP, and not through commercial sponsors or their agents. Presentations must give a balanced view of all relevant options.
B. Direction of Funds
All funds from a commercial source must be in the form of an unrestricted educational grant payable to CCHCSP. It is acceptable to designate an unrestricted educational grant to a specific CCHCSP event. All educational events and tools should attempt to have sponsorship from multiple sources to avoid the perception of ownership that a single commercial source may imply. Funds should be held centrally at the CCHCSP home Institution (SickKids), and not by any one individual. Financial statements for each sponsored event should be available for audit by the Institution and commercial sponsors.
Disclosure of commercial affiliations, sponsorships, honoraria, monetary support, contract research, and other potential conflicts of interest must be made to the registrants in a CCHCSP activity by the planning committee members and speakers. Disclosures should be made in the course syllabus and must be included in the speakers’ presentations. If there are no handouts or slides, a verbal declaration is required.
D. Commercial Displays and Promotional Material
Commercial displays and materials must be in a separate room from educational activities. When commercial exhibits are included in the program, they must not influence the planning or interfere with the presentation of the educational activity. Small gift items and promotional material with the exhibitor’s logo (e.g. flyers, brochures, pens, etc.) may be available freely for pick up. They must not be distributed to the participants in the venue. Engaging in sales or promotional activities during a CCHCSP event is not allowed.
E. Satellite Symposia/Workshops
Many satellite symposia are held in proximity to conferences and meetings. These are separate meetings, sometimes produced by commercial interests, that may or may not have sponsorship restrictions, policies and guidelines. Registrants may perceive such programs as integral to the CCHCSP program and be unaware of commercial bias. Thus, CCHCSP must ensure that:
- CCHCSP members are aware that such satellite symposia are not part of the CCHCSP curriculum.
- Satellite symposia funded by commercial interests will not appear in the CCHCSP online curriculum or printed/online syllabus.
- The satellite symposia have clearly branded themselves to make them distinct from CCHCSP.
- The satellite symposia are located in a room or area separate from the CCHCSP curriculum.
- The satellite symposia do not run concurrently with the CCHCSP program in a way that would jeopardize attendance at the CCHCSP event.
F. Social Events
Commercial sponsors may not directly subsidize or name hospitality and other arrangements for planning committees, registrants or guests. Facilities, catering and other activities should be in keeping with arrangements made without commercial sponsorship. These activities must not be in the control of, or managed by, commercial sponsors.
Caterers and venues whom have no connection to the healthcare sector or the event, can however provide in kind discounts for their services of the social event. These vendors will be approached by the planning committee and in return CCHCSP will acknowledge their contribution in the syllabus and during a presentation for the event.
G. Registration fees
To-date all CCHCSP training events are free for all CCHCSP members, as it is one of the key missions of our program – to provide training to child health researchers via a core curriculum.
H. Participant List
Distribution of participant lists to either commercial sponsors or attendees by CCHCSP is prohibited. Distribution of commercial material or marketing tools through the CCHCSP mail list is strictly prohibited.
I. Payment to Registrants
Commercial sponsors may NOT provide or subsidize travel, lodging, honoraria, or personal expenses directly to practicing health professional attendees or their guests. This must be arranged and paid through CCHCSP, and through unrestricted grants.
J. Payment to Presenters
Honoraria for CCHCSP speakers and facilitators will not be provided based on the current CCHCSP budget. Should additional funding become available this will be reassessed as CCHCSP considers this reasonable. Reimbursement for personal travel, lodging, and meal expenses will be provided. Speakers may not be paid directly by commercial organizations but should be paid through CCHCSP. At the discretion of the Program Manger and Director, expenses incurred in making a presentation may be reimbursed (e.g. printing of poster abstracts). Small token gifts are acceptable to acknowledge speakers.
CCHCSP may acknowledge commercial support as noted below.
A. Course Brochures
Educational grants are documented in course brochures under “Acknowledgements.” Sponsors may not be listed in any part of: the schedule/agenda of activities, material related to the academic content, the list of delegates, the course objectives, and on the front of brochures.
B. Posters, Flyers and One-Page Brochures
Acknowledgements may be listed at the bottom in a font not larger than the text of the brochure.
C. Websites and other Electronic Formats
Acknowledgements listed as text must be in the same font size as the printed text on the website or electronic format. Acknowledgement listed as logos, may not be larger than the CCHCSP logo and can scale downwards based on support amounts. Acknowledgements may not be on the main (home) page, on a list of members/registrants, or with the learning activities. Advertisements and promotional materials are not permitted on the CCHCSP website. “Pop-ups” are not allowed. In presentation slides or announcements, only the company name may be used. The use of branded product names is strictly prohibited.
D. Printed Handouts or Syllabi, Advertisements and Promotional Materials
Advertisement and promotional materials must not be inserted within the pages of the syllabus. These materials may be left for pick up by delegates during CCHCSP events and will not be distributed to the delegates.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Event: An educational event that is based on identified learning needs, has a purpose or objectives, and is evaluated to assure the learning needs are met. An educational event is distinct from a social event.
Commercial Interest: Any entities that do business with the intent or possibility of commercial gain, generating a profit, or increasing equity. This does not include charitable organizations, military, non-governmental (NGO) or quasi-governmental organizations.
Registrant: Learners whose learning needs have priority. Learners are responsible for identifying knowledge gaps, actively participating in filling them, and keeping track of their learning gains. Teachers are expected to facilitate this process.
Sponsor: A profitable individual, group, corporation or organization who contributes funds, goods or services to support educational activities, learning resources, or tools (e.g. pharmaceutical company, medical device company, medical or research services company).
Sponsorship: The process by which a sponsor provides support (financial or in-kind contributions) to CCHCSP to support an educational activity, learning resource, or tool.
Unrestricted Educational Grant: All funds from a commercial source should be in the form of an educational grant payable to the institution or organization sponsoring the CPD activity, with no stipulations attached such as selecting faculty, authors, participants, or any matters related to the content. It is acceptable to designate an unrestricted educational grant to a specific CPD event. Subsidies must not be accepted if specifically designated for hospitality purposes.