Conflict of Interest Webinar Series



Please note that only the second half of Part 2 is available

due to technical difficulties at the start of the event.

Identifying, evaluating and managing conflicts of interest – Practical approaches for public health physicians

As part of your work as public health and preventive medicine specialists, you are likely to be presented with many instances in which conflicts of interest (COI) arise. While you may understand the concept of COI and have skills in dealing with those that you encounter, it is important not to underestimate the complexity of such situations.

The Public Health Physicians of Canada (PHPC) are pleased to invite you to participate in a webinar series exploring the implications of COI for public health in the Canadian context. This free three-part webinar series will apply a case study to frame the issue of COI, as an ethics expert – Dr. Bryn Williams-Jones – walks participants through an overview of the concept and describes how COI can be identified and their risks evaluated. Dr. Williams-Jones will then build on the discussion from the first two offerings to consider policy options applicable to the management of COI and discuss with the audience how public health physicians, and their organizations, can influence the systemic aspects that can support the management of COI. Each of these one-hour webinars will highlight important COI concepts and approaches with the intent of leading participants to develop the skills necessary to take action in the management of COI, and provide tools to facilitate effective partnerships and influence collaborations in which the objectivity of decision-making may be questionable. The overall aim of the 3 webinars is to provide practical tools to manage those COI that cannot be avoided, and so ensure the best possible public health outcomes in your work.

Learning Objectives

Through your participation in this webinar series, you can expect to learn to:
  • Identify COI and describe how they can counteract efforts to protect and improve public health;
  • Understand how to evaluate the risks and manage those risks in the context of interaction with private industries;
  • Discuss and contribute to the refinement of proposed PHPC guidelines for its members for safe guarding against, identifying and managing COI in public health policy decision-making as a means of ensuring the integrity and transparency of these decisions/policies.


Dr. Bryn Williams-Jones
Associate Professor and Director of the Bioethics Program in the Department of social and preventive medicine, School of Public Health of the University of Montréal. His research examines the conflicts that arise in academic research and professional practice with a view to developing ethical tools to manage these conflicts, when they cannot be avoided. Dr. Williams-Jones heads research groups studying professional ethics, research ethics and integrity, and ethics and public health; he is Editor-in-Chief of the open access bioethics journal BioéthiqueOnline (

These webinars were offered in English only.

Webinar 1) Conflict of Interest Defined and How you can Recognize the Risks

Held on Friday, April 25, 2014 (12:00-1:00 PM EST)

The first part of this webinar series will provide an overview of COI to ensure a common understanding and basis for future discussion and analysis. The case study, which will be used to frame the discussions across the three-webinars, will be presented and considerations of risks will begin. Participants can expect to develop a better understanding of the importance of managing COI in supporting the decision-making for which they are accountable and help retain the credibility of their work.

Presentation handouts available here: COI Defined and How to Recognize the Risks

Webinar 2) Unpacking the Risks: Evaluating the Impact of Conflicts of Interest

Held on Thursday, May 8, 2014 (12:00-1:00 PM EST)

Identifying COI and their associated risks might seem straightforward, although it might be impossible to avoid them or inappropriate to remove yourself from the decision-making process altogether. How can public health professionals evaluate the risks and determine the most appropriate course of action and management strategy? Bryn Williams-Jones will help participants go from identifying COI (as focused on in Webinar 1) to assessing the potential threat or risks they present. Management techniques will be discussed that will provide participants with tools that can assist them in effectively mitigating or avoiding the risks resulting from COI, depending on the types of institutions and players involved.

Presentation handouts available here:  COI Unpacking the Risks

* This webinar was recorded in part.

Webinar 3) Conflict of Interest: What can we do about it?

Held on Thursday, May 22, 2014 (12:00-1:00 PM EST)

Public Health and Preventive Medicine Specialists and Public Health Physicians will encounter COI throughout their careers, so if they are unavoidable, what can we do about them? Given your knowledge of how to identify and analyze risks of COI as presented in earlier offerings in this webinar series, you will begin to apply what you’ve learned to the unique situations you are faced with as a PHPM Specialist or Public Health Physician. Bryn Williams-Jones will help participants consider the policy options available and outline how public health professionals and their organizations can influence the systemic aspects required to successfully manage COI.

Presentation handouts available here:  COI: What_can_we_do_about_it?

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