Session Organizer Instructions

HomeSpeakers ▶ 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.

Scientific Integrity

International Conference planners and presenters have diverse interests and relationships that contribute to the success of the Conference but may also cause potential or actual conflicts of interest (COI) that must be disclosed, reviewed, and managed to comply with Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) requirements. 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    • Data presented should not be outdated.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

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

Corporate Support

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.

Session Content

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 Friday, October 22, 2021 .

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

Prior to Submitting the Session Workform:

  • Prior to inviting a prospective speaker, session organizers/chairs must informally consider whether there are any circumstances of which they are aware that could be perceived as causing a significant conflict of interest relative to the speaker’s topic, and if so, structure the session and speaker’s role to resolve the issue required by ATS recommendations and ACCME requirements.*
  • Please also note:
    • The ACCME prohibits the use of employees of commercial interests such as medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies as organizers, chairs, and presenters in accredited CME activities if the content of CME that the employee controls (e.g., her/his presentation) relates to the business lines and products of her/his employer. Sessions that do not meet this requirement will be ineligible for CME credit. ATS staff will contact organizers/chairs that state on their workform that they think involvement of an industry-employed scientist is necessary and discuss options. Please be sure to state the company name on the workform rather than just the person’s academic appointment if one also.
    • The ATS prohibits persons affiliated with the tobacco industry – including with tobacco product manufacturers, their subsidiaries, and foundations initiated by them - as an employee, consultant, advisory committee member, grant recipient, or in other roles - from organizing, chairing, or presenting conference sessions. ATS similarly now prohibits persons affiliated with any cannabis entity that promotes recreational use and/or non-evidence-based uses of inhaled cannabis products if the relationship has existed within the past 12 months preceding application for presentation at conference sessions. ATS does not, at this time, explicitly prohibit persons affiliated with the vaping industry from participation in these ways unless the company is tobacco industry owned fully or in part. However, ATS may impose conditions to ensure that content is scientifically rigorous, non-promotional and complies with any legal restrictions. Future ATS policies may affect participation by persons involved with these industries more extensively.

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


You must submit the session workform confirming all session and speaker information. Completed workforms must be submitted by the dates below.

Scientific Symposia workform deadline: Friday, October 22, 2021.

Postgraduate Courses workform deadline: Friday, November 12, 2021.

To submit your session work form:

Mandatory Disclosure of Relevant COI by Session Chair and Speakers – both to ATS and to Attendees (Learners) – and Formal Review before the Conference

  • Instructions for completing or updating the 2022 online ATS COI Disclosure Form will be emailed to the chairs and speakers in all sessions designated for CME credit (instructions will be mailed before or by mid-February 2022).  COI forms must be completed online at the ATS COI website by the deadlines announced in the instructions to be emailed to chairs and speakers*.
  • Disclosures will be reviewed initially by ATS COI staff, and when warranted, by members of the ATS Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee. When conflicts are reported or perceived, some chairs of sessions designated for CME credit will also be instructed to return to the ATS COI website to review the disclosures submitted by their speakers and choose a management option if needed (i.e., an ATS-prescribed step to ensure that the speaker’s content is seen as unbiased). Chairs can contact ATS COI Staff if they need assistance. Staff will contact Ethics and COI Committee members and may contact the respective Program Committee Chair if the session chair and staff are unable to resolve a matter.

Disclosure to Session Attendees at the Time of Presentation:

  • In addition to disclosure-to-ATS prior to the conference, chairs and speakers must disclose to learners (audience) any financial relationship with commercial entities that is relevant to her/his talk, according to ATS and Accreditation Council for CME requirements. Speaker creation of a disclosure slide for this purpose may be required, and if so, a slide template will be provided at a later date on the ATS website. Chairs and speakers will be notified of procedures. Chairs and speakers will be notified of procedures.
  • Please also orally note any commercial relationships that are relevant to your talk, and if you wish, assure the audience that your findings and recommendations are free of commercial bias.

* Disclosure and review of speaker changes made past these deadlines will be arranged separately. ATS COI staff are available for assistance at ethicsoffice@thoracic.org.    


In addition to the COI disclosure process noted above, all ATS 2022 session speakers will also be instructed to:

  • Register for the conference. (All chairs and speakers must personally register.)
  • Consult the Procedures for Electronic Presentations available on the ATS website.
  • Prepare and upload a PowerPoint presentation online according to ATS instructions.
  • Refrain from using industry logos or brand names in PowerPoint presentations
  • Complete the online Speaker Agreement and Disclosure Forms prior to uploading presentations.
  • 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