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Ethics Issues and Position Papers

Position Papers

Position papers are statements of ACP policy approved by the Board of Regents. The Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee and ACP staff develop position papers addressing ethical and professional issues in medical practice, research and education.

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Stewardship of Health Care Resources

"As a physician performs his or her primary role as a patient's trusted advocate, he or she has a responsibility to use all health-related resources in a technically appropriate and efficient manner." (ACP Ethics Manual, Sixth Edition). What guidance do principles of medical ethics and professionalism offer physicians for fulfilling these responsibilities?

CME credit is available for completion of ACP's Case Studies on stewardship.

Read about Stewardship of Health Care Resources

End-of-Life Care

The College convened a panel of experts on end-of-life care to develop consensus-based ethical, policy, and clinical recommendations to promote high quality palliative care. The Consensus Panel published a series of papers addressing issues in palliative medicine and end-of-life care. Additional end-of-life resources including educational materials for patients and physicians, have been developed by ACP staff.

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Human Rights

"Health and human rights are interrelated. When human rights are promoted, health is promoted... Physicians have an important role to play in promoting health and human rights, and addressing social inequities." Ethics Manual, Sixth Edition.

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Human Subjects

The ACP Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee and the ACP staff develop position papers and case studies addressing the protection of human subjects of medical research. ACP also prepares formal comments addressing regulatory and legislative proposals related to human subjects protections.

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Medicine as a Profession Ethics Project

Social and institutional systems that focus on resource allocation can challenge the physician's obligation to his or her patients. Resolving competing demands requires ethical principles of patient care that are embraced by physicians, patients, and the community as a whole. The Medicine as a Profession Ethics Project brought together a working group of patients, consumer advocates, physicians, managed care organization leaders and ethicists to assess principles of ethics and professionalism in a changing practice environment.

Read about the Medicine as a Profession Project

Physician Industry Relations

A two-part ACP position paper on physician-industry relations developed by the College's Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee and ACP staff provides ethical guidance to physicians regarding the potential influence of financial incentives inherent in the practice environment.

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Research Ethics & Integrity

ACP provides and/or contributes to ACP comments on regulatory proposals and develops educational materials addressing the ethical conduct of research.

Read about Resources in Ethics Research