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Principles of Ethical Conduct and Practice

One of the hallmarks of a profession is the ability to self-regulate and to define standards of conduct. (Swick, 2000) While professionalism may have many facets, the establishment of a code of ethics for the profession or specialty remains a hallmark of distinction.

One of the first actions of the American Medical Association after its founding in 1847 was to develop a Code of Medical Ethics. The Code has seen many changes in the last 171 years, and currently exists as a set of ten Principles and a more detailed Code numbering hundreds of pages which offers opinions on topics commonly held in tension in medical practice. (AMA, 2015)

Similarly, after its founding in 1951, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) developed a Code of Ethics which includes sections on Ethical foundations, Physician Conduct and Practice, Conflicts of Interest, Professional Relations, and Societal Responsibilities. While taking some inspiration from the AMA Code, ACOG’s Code also opines on problems unique to women’s health and specialists in women’s healthcare. (ACOG, 2011)

Current Context

The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) is now a mature society, having success through 50 years of service to women with gynecologic malignancies. What was initially a small, intimate group of gynecologic oncologists, has now grown into a large, multi-faceted organization with members who are gynecologic oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, fellows, resident physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants and researchers.

Each of those groups may see professionalism through a different filter due to their scope of practice, training and association with other professional groups. It is important for SGO to have a unified set of ethical principles to which all of our diverse members can agree to uphold. This is an important marker of professionalism and will serve to reassure our patients, communities and interested parties outside of medicine that members of SGO are dedicated to our patients’ welfare.

 

ANTI-HARASSMENT AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND COMMITMENT POLICY

References

  • Swick, HM. Toward a normative definition of medical professionalism. Acad. Med. 2000;75:612-616.
  • American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics. AMA Press, Chicago, IL. 2017.
  • Code of Professional Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG, Washington, DC. July, 2011. Accessed online 111218.

Statement of Ethics

As a member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, I pledge to adhere to the following Principles of Ethical Conduct and Practice.

  1. To uphold the welfare of the patient as paramount.
  2. To care for our patients with the utmost care, compassion, honesty, and respect throughout the course of their disease, including the end of life.
  3. To develop and maintain my education, skills and competence in caring for women with gynecologic malignancies throughout my career.
  4. To treat colleagues and coworkers with dignity, respect, and compassion, regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity in my clinical practice as well as within the Society of Gynecologic Oncology.
  5. To uphold my profession with honesty and integrity, and to report impaired, dishonest, or unprofessional colleagues.
  1. To advocate for advancing the care of women with gynecologic malignancies with patients, families, the public, community, and legislators.
  2. To advocate for the highest standards of research in gynecologic oncology, promote the science of gynecologic oncology, and expose any instance of research misconduct whenever I become aware of it.
  3. To minimize conflicts of interest in my practice with payors, institutions, pharmaceutical companies, device companies, and referral sources and to accurately disclose conflicts of interest where relevant.
  4. To minimize financial conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment relevant to the Society of Gynecologic Oncology as required for leadership and committee participation, and during my presentations for continuing medical education events.
  5. To provide honest evaluation and testimony about the standard of medical care of a gynecologic oncology patient when asked as part of a peer review, root cause analysis, quality assurance or medical malpractice action.

SGO Rules of Conduct during Business Meetings

Members and guests attending any Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) meeting are expected to exhibit professional and respectful conduct at all times. As such, while participating in SGO activities, individuals must agree to:

  • Conduct themselves and their activities in a professional manner and to uphold the SGO Principles of Ethical Conduct and Practice;
  • Abide by the SGO Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy;
  • Properly register and display appropriate credentials during the meeting;
  • Abide by the Bylaws and policies of the SGO;
  • Refrain from distributing brochures, flyers, handouts, etc., or post displays of any kind without prior approval of the program committee co-chairs and the SGO chief executive officer (or their designees);
  • Refrain from using the SGO name or logo other than in the conduct of official SGO business as determined by the Board of Directors;
  • Not use any SGO membership lists or any part thereof except in the conduct of SGO business as determined by the Bylaws and/or the Board of Directors;
  • Restrict the use of SGO information or materials (work products, work in progress, and databases), in any media or form, to the purpose defined by the Bylaws and/or the Board of Directors;
  • Refrain from engaging in any activity that would violate the proprietary rights of their employers, SGO or any other person or organization;
  • Be professional and respectful in any social media postings and electronic communications;
  • Refrain from making illegal copies of copyrighted and/or licensed software or use unauthorized copies on SGO computers; and
  • Not engage in any exchange of information or other behavior that violates the antitrust laws of the United States.

SGO reserves the right to take any action deemed necessary and appropriate, including immediate removal from the meeting without warning or refund, in response to any incident of unacceptable behavior. SGO also reserves the right to prohibit attendance at any future meeting.

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