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Session Organizer Instructions

The ATS has developed these instructions to assist you in the preparation of your session for the ATS International Conference.  Please review them carefully. 


International Conference planners and presenters have diverse interests and relationships that contribute to the success of the Conference but may also cause “conflicts of interest” (COI) that must be disclosed and managed to comply with the Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) requirements. ATS COI management strives to ensure public confidence in the scientific integrity of ATS activities, not to create barriers to collaboration between clinician-scientists and industry. To accomplish this in the context of a large number of Conference sessions and diverse topics, ATS must rely heavily on each Program Committee, session organizer, chair, and speaker.

Please ensure that the following requirements are met as you organize and carry out your session:

  • Independence, balance and scientific rigor.
    • All participants in official ATS activities, including conference session organizers and speakers, are required to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.*
    • Content must provide objective information based on scientific methods generally accepted in the medical community, and be free of commercial bias.
    • Data presented should not be outdated.
  • A balanced view of therapeutic options
    • Use of generic names will contribute to this impartiality and is preferred. If the presentation requires trade names, where available trade names from several companies should be used.
  • Disclosure of relevant conflicts of interests (COI) to ATS and learners
  • Disclosure of any “off-label” uses of substances or products cited in the presentation (i.e., uses not approved in the United States), and/or the status of substances or products that are being investigated for such use, is also required.

*See the related ATS policy at http://conference.thoracic.org/speakers/index.php  


The ATS reserves the right to seek corporate support in the form of educational grants for all the programs accepted for presentation at the International Conference. These grants are in support of the International Conference and are sought after sessions are approved and final programs are submitted. The grant relationship is between the American Thoracic Society and the supporting companies. Supporters have no input into the content of the program. The grants will not affect the disclosures of the faculty relationships with commercial interests.


The most successful sessions provide enough time for a thorough review of each topic as well as time for general questions from the audience. Securing time after each talk for this discussion will provide the best experience for the audience.  When communicating with your speakers, be sure to alert them to the amount of time for their actual talk and time for discussion after their talk.


Upon session approval, you are responsible for determining and inviting the chairs and presenters (speakers) in your session, confirming their participation, and submitting the required Session Workform by October 16, 2018 (see next page for details). When arranging your speakers, please:

  • First look to the ATS Membership when choosing the speakers for your session. 
  • Be sure the content of each presentation complements the other presentations and with no overlaps. 
  • Notify each speaker of the date/time and length/title of their presentation.
  • Stress the importance of adhering to their schedule. 
  • Share the objectives and target audience with your speakers for a better understanding of the session.
  • Manage potential conflicts of interest as outlined on the next page


Prior to Submitting the Session Workform:

  • Prior to inviting a prospective speaker, session organizers/chairs informally consider whether there are any circumstances that could be perceived as causing a significant, relevant conflict of interest, and if so, structure the session and speaker’s role to resolve the issue according to ATS recommendations and ACCME requirements.*.
  • Please note:
    • The ACCME prohibits the use of employees of commercial interests such as medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies as presenters in accredited CME activities if the content of CME that the employee controls relates to the business lines and products of the employer. Any sessions accepted by ATS that do not meet this requirement will not be eligible for CME credit. ATS staff will contact organizers/chairs that state on their Workform that involvement of an industry scientist is necessary to discuss options.
    • The ATS prohibits persons affiliated with the tobacco industry from organizing, chairing or presenting at conference sessions.

*See ATS COI management details at http://conference.thoracic.org/speakers/index.php

Formal Disclosure to ATS and Learners by Session Chairs and Presenters and Formal Review of Relevant COI

  • After session chairs provide ATS with their session program and confirmed speakers, instructions for completing or updating the 2019 ATS COI questionnaire will be emailed to the chair and speakers in all session designated for CME credit. COI questionnaires must be completed online at the ATS COI website by the end of January 2019*.
  • Chairs of sessions designated for CME credit will also be instructed to return to the ATS COI website during February 2019 to review summaries of the disclosures submitted by their session speakers and use a simple drop-down menu to evaluate any relevant conflicts of interest that were disclosed, and then confirm to ATS that they will be managed according to requirements. Chairs can contact ATS COI Staff if they need assistance. Staff will contact the Program Committee Chair of the sponsoring Assembly if the session organizer and staff are unable to resolve a matter.

* Disclosure and review of speaker changes made past these deadlines will be arranged separately.


You must submit the session workform confirming all session and speaker information.  Completed workforms must be submitted online by Tuesday, October 16, 2018.   

To submit your session work form:


In addition to the COI disclosure process noted above, all ATS 2019 session speakers will also be instructed to:

  • Register for the conference. (All chairs and speakers must personally register.)
  • Prepare a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Consult the Procedures for Electronic Presentations available on the ATS website.
  • Refrain from using industry logos or brand names in PowerPoint presentations
  • Upload PowerPoint presentations online according to ATS instructions
  • Complete the online Presentation Recording Permission and Disclosure Forms.
  • Disclose relevant conflicts of interest onsite at the start of their presentation
  • Visit the Speaker Ready Room onsite to be sure your presentation is running correctly


All chairs and speakers must register for the conference through the regular registration process. 

Presentation and Conference Attendance:

  • ATS member speakers are required to pay the member general registration fee and respective fees for courses, seminars and workshops accordingly.
  • Non-member speakers who plan to attend the full conference are required to pay a discounted non-member general registration fee and respective fees for courses, seminars and workshops accordingly. 

Presentation Only:

  • Non-member speakers planning to attend the conference just for the purpose of giving their presentation, and do not plan to attend the other conference sessions, are eligible to register for a one-day complimentary pass.