SLU Paper on Professionalism in Medicine Captures National Award
ST. LOUIS -- A national foundation has awarded one of its top prizes for research of professionalism in medicine to a Saint Louis University article that outlines practical strategies for doctors who want to limit conflicts of interest that could compromise their integrity.
|Erin Bakanas, M.D.|
The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation gave its Professional Article Prize to the paper, "A Humble Task: Restoring Virtue in an Age of Conflicted Interests," which was published last July in Academic Medicine. It was one of three articles selected by a committee of physicians, other health care leaders and a medical school student, who reviewed more than 100 peer reviewed articles published in 2013.
"It is both exciting and encouraging to have the ABIM endorsement for the arguments we made to promote virtue in the profession of medicine and I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue to build on this work," said Erin Bakanas, M.D., interim director of SLU's Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics.
Physician virtue is an important safeguard for patients and defines how doctors behave when no one else is watching, write the paper's authors. The article argues that because external regulations are not enough to address conflicts of interest, physicians need to take specific actions to elevate the goals of medicine over their own personal financial self-interest.
While the authors acknowledge the important role oversight bodies and professional organizations play in regulating conflicts of interest, they point out external groups can't identify and address all forms of unprofessional behavior. They also concede that nurturing virtue won't work for those physicians who are more driven by personal or corporate profit and prestige than doing what's best for their patients.
The authors of the paper are James DuBois, Ph.D., DSc, formerly director of SLU's Bander Center of Medical Business Ethics and now director of the Center for Clinical Research Ethics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; Erin Bakanas, M.D., who also is Bander Fellowship director and associate professor of internal medicine at SLU; Bander fellows: Anthony Mikulec, M.D., professor of otolaryngology-head and neck cancer at SLU, and Salvador Cruz-Flores, M.D., MPH, former professor and interim chair of SLU's department of neurology and psychiatry and now chair of neurology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; and Elena M. Kraus, who is a SLU medical student who has completed her Ph.D. in health care ethics.
Saint Louis University's Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics promotes ethical business practices in medical care and research through the development of training and investigation opportunities for medical students, residents and physicians in practice.