Planner FAQ

Who may serve as Course Directors?

  • For reasons of financial accountability and adherence to Stanford policies, a physician faculty member employed by the Stanford School of Medicine for at least 50% of the time should be part of the planning team.  Non physician faculty members may be considered for leadership positions based on compelling need; this requires prior approval by the Associate Dean for Postgraduate Medical Education or the Director of the Stanford Center for CME. Community practitioners with voluntary clinical appointments, non-physicians and community health partners may participate as a course co-director in concert with a Stanford School of Medicine physician faculty member.

What is the first step in creating a course?

Contact the Stanford Center for Continuing Medical Education (SCCME) in advance of the proposed activity to ensure the necessary time to discuss the conference concept and its planning and promotion by email at stanfordcme@stanford.edu

What is a Conflict of Interest?

Conflict of Interest (COI): In continuing medical education (CME), circumstances create a conflict of interest when an individual has an opportunity to affect CME content about products or services of a commercial interest (see definition below) with which he/she (or his/her spouse or partner) has a financial relationship.

The ACCME considers financial relationships to create actual conflicts of interest in CME when individuals have both a financial relationship (in any amount) with a commercial interest and the opportunity to affect the content of CME about the products or services of that commercial interest.

COIs are identified by reviewing disclosed financial relationships on the CME Disclosure form to determine if they are related to the content of the proposed CME activity. SCCME has mechanisms in place to manage and resolve all conflicts of interest for individuals involved in the planning and implementation of certified CME activities. A SCCME Coordinator (and as needed other SCCME staff)  will work with the Course Director to ensure any conflicts of interest are identified and resolve them before the CME activity occurs.

What is a Commercial Interest?

Commercial Interest:  Any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients with the exemption of non‐profit or government organizations and non‐health care related companies. The ACCME does not consider providers of clinical services directly to patients to be commercial interests (e.g. liability/health insurance providers, group medical practices, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers). 

What is a Financial Relationship?

Financial Relationships:   Those relationships in which the individual benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fee, honoraria, ownership interest (e.g., stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds), or other financial benefit. Financial benefits are usually associated with roles such as employment, management position, independent contractor (including contracted research), consulting, speaking and teaching, membership on advisory committees or review panels, board membership, and other activities from which remuneration is received, or expected in the last 12 months.  With respect to personal financial relationships, contracted research includes research funding where the institution receives the grant and manages the funds and the person is the principal or named investigator on the grant.

The ACCME  considers relationships of the person involved in the CME activity to include financial relationships of a spouse or partner.

If either the person involved in the CME activity or their spouse/partner is employed by a commercial interest, the ACCME considers there to be a non-resolvable conflict of interest and thus these individuals may not participate in the planning or teaching of the CME activity. The only exception is if the course content is unrelated to products or services provided by the commercial entity. See ACCME Policy  and ACCME Compliance Reminder: Resolution of Conflicts of Interest for clarification.

What if I want to seek Commerical Support?

Designated financial commercial support for courses and internet activity (enduring material) is allowed if the following conditions have been met:

  • Activity planning is independent of commercial control;
  • Review by the SAC and the Stanford Center for Continuing Medical Education (SCCME) finds the activity to be free of commercial bias;
  • Industry support is sought in collaboration with and under the auspices of the SCCME

To seek in-kind commercial support, you will work with your assigned CME team member and the Grants Specialist. 

Can commercial employees plan or instruct in CME activities?

Commercial employees may not participate in the planning of CME activities. Commercial employees may serve as an instructor in Stanford CME activities only under narrowly defined circumstances. An employee of a commercial entity may present on: the scientific or discovery process itself, the results of basic (biologic, chemical, physical) research studies relevant to the clinical problem being addressed but not those specific to a commercial product or its preclinical and clinical testing, and CME topics other than those related to the products and business lines of his/her employer. Commercial employees may neither teach about their products nor offer recommendations regarding patient care.

Contact Information

General Inquiries

E-mail: StanfordCME@stanford.edu 
Phone: +1 (650) 497-8554 
Fax: +1 (650) 497-8585 or +1 (650) 498-5020