Director's Message: Conflict of Interest

The New York Times recently ran a story about a top cancer researcher who failed to disclose corporate financial ties in many of his research publications. The article outlines the researcher's relationship with corporations, making the point that "[the researcher's] extensive corporate relationships - and his frequent failure to disclose them - illustrate how permeable the boundaries remain between academic research and industry, and how weakly reporting requirements are enforced by the medical journals and professional societies charged with policing them." This is not the impression we want to convey to the public. 

In her weekly message, Dean Pamela Davis, dean of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, addressed this issue and reminded the audience that it is our duty as researchers to ensure the results we produce are honest and transparent. 

"We deal with the lives and health of human beings -therefore it is crucial that the science is accurate and the interpretations impeccable. Anything less than absolute integrity puts patients at risk," said Davis. "Beyond accurate data and reporting, we owe our patients and the scientific community full disclosure about information that may affect how we interpret our findings. Journal readers must be able to consider any possible biases that could influence our data analysis and interpretation. Meticulous attention to these precepts creates public confidence in our findings and recommendations."

This is a great reminder to review your conflict of interest policies.