Conflict of Interest

An important component of the Research Integrity Program at UMB is the management of financial conflicts of interest in research. The office of the vice president for Academic Affairs oversees the management process for such conflicts. The Conflict of Interest (CoI) Officer is UMB’s designated official to administer the review and management process for such conflicts.

UMB Conflict of Interest in Research and Development

University employees also are state employees, and as such, in addition to University System of Maryland (USM) and UMB CoI policies in research and development, the State of Maryland’s Public Ethics Law governing conflict of interest applies. Faculty and staff are encouraged to inquire, through the Conflict of Interest Officer, whether specific relationships fall under the law and require exemption under these procedures in order to be lawful relationships. This includes a financial relationship with an entity that also is sponsoring your research at UMB.

Related policy: Procedures Implementing Board of Regents Policy on Conflicts of Interest in Research or Development

UMB COI Exemption Forms
These forms concern UMB CoI policy in research and development, and not U.S. PHS regulations. Please contact Alison Watkins, UMB CoI Officer, at athom001@umaryland.edu before completing these forms.

Annual Reports for COI Exemptions
For individuals with CoI Exemptions, annual reports are required from the date of your exemption. Reports must be shared with your department chair or division head and the UMB CoI Officer. Questions concerning the policy and procedures and their application may be directed to:

Alison Watkins, JD, MS
UMB Conflict of Interest Officer
Director, Research Integrity Office
athom001@umaryland.edu
410-706-1266

UMB CoI Policy for PHS-Funded Research and List of PHS Agencies

In compliance with the 2012 U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Financial Conflict of Interest regulations, each individual participating in PHS-funded research is required to participate in mandatory training on the new regulations and to submit Significant Financial Disclosure (SFI) forms to the Conflict of Interest Office. Where investigators have disclosed that they have no SFI related to their institutional responsibilities, the University’s Policy and Procedures on Financial Conflict of Interest to Promote Objectivity in Public Health Service-Funded Research requires Investigators to certify that no SFI exists.

UMB related policy: UMB Policy and Procedures on Financial Conflict of Interest to Promote Objectivity in Public Health Service-Funded Research

List of PHS Agencies:
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Indian Health Service (IHS)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

For PHS questions, please contact:

Shilene Johnson, MPH
Research Compliance Specialist
Office of Accountability and Compliance
Shilene.johnson@umaryland.edu
410-706-4934

Erin Burch, MS
Research Compliance Specialist
Office of Accountability and Compliance
erin.burch@umaryland.edu
410-706-6951

Alison Watkins, JD, MS
UMB Conflict of Interest Officer
Director, Research Integrity Office
athom001@umaryland.edu
410-706-1266

UMB PHS Training module and SFI Disclosure Form (PHS Requirements)

Significant Financial Interest (SFI) Training
To proceed to UMB’s Online Training Module in compliance with the new U.S. Public Health Service regulations, please click the link below. That link will automatically begin the training exercise. Once the exercise has been completed, please proceed to the training assessment by clicking on that link at the end of the presentation.

   PHS Training

Significant Financial Interest (SFI) Disclosure Form

You can download a copy of the SFI Disclosure Form by clicking on the link below. Submit disclosures to: Disclosure@umaryland.edu. Questions concerning your disclosure may be submitted by email with your disclosure.

   SFI Disclosure Form 

SFI Disclosure Frequently Asked Questions

‌‌   SFI Disclosure FAQs

UMB Training and Disclosure database for PHS-Funded Research

The database includes dates for individuals who have completed training and provided SFI disclosures.

** As of May 31, 2018, the PHS Training and SFI disclosures database has transitioned from UMVibe to SharePoint.  If you are a school administrator and need access to the database, please contact Shilene Johnson at 410-706-4934 or shilene.johnson@umaryland.edu.

 

 

UMB Institutional CoI Policy

This policy is intended to address real and perceived conflicts of interest resulting from the financial interests of the University as an institution or of its senior leadership. By implementing a plan to manage potential bias in the research or other academic activity caused by the financial interest, the integrity of the activity will be preserved and enhanced.

Policy: UMB Institutional CoI Policy

 

Questions relating to this policy should be directed to UMB’s Conflict of Interest Officer:

Alison Watkins, JD, MS
UMB Conflict of Interest Officer
Director, Research Integrity Office
athom001@umaryland.edu
410-706-1266

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered a conflict of interest at UMB?

   Individual conflicts of interest fall under two UMB policies.

  • Procedures Implementing Board of Regents Policy on Conflicts of Interest in Research or Development:
    • Conflicts of Interest in Research and Development occur when a UMB employee has any financial relationship with or financial interest in an entity that has a direct interest in the outcome of research at UMB.
    • A Conflict of Interest may also occur in matters concerning close family members, in particular a faculty or staff member applying for or having a funded grant or contract that supports a family member. The Maryland State Ethics Law generally prohibits UMB faculty or staff employees from taking action in matters concerning their relatives, or from using a UMB position for the financial gain of their relatives.
  • UMB Policy and Procedures on Financial Conflict of Interest to Promote Objectivity in Public Health Serve – Funded Research:
    • Conflicts of Interest under PHS regulations occur when a researcher, participating on PHS-funded research, has a significant financial interest that could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of PHS-funded research. PHS regulations also concern subrecipient investigators. For non-UMB employees participating on UMB PHS-funded research, UMB is required to ensure that those employees also are compliant with the regulations.

What must I do if I believe I have a potential conflict of interest under UMB’s CoI policy in research and development?

Contact the CoI Officer to make sure there is a conflict of interest requiring disclosure and campus review.

Details of the financial interest generating the CoI and the potentially affected research must be disclosed to the CoI Officer and/or the Institutional Review Board (for research involving human participants), as appropriate.

If there is a CoI under USM policy and Maryland Public Ethics law, you will be required to submit a disclosure form to request a CoI Exemption and have it reviewed by your supervisor, division head, department chair, dean’s office, and the CoI officer.

If approved, you will be granted a CoI exemption from UMB’s president that includes conditions under which the exemption was granted.

May I proceed with my financial interest and my research while my CoI exemption request is being reviewed?

No. An employee’s relationship with an entity with a direct interest in the outcome of the research is prohibited unless exempted by the president of the University.

What do I need to do if I am a consultant or participating on an advisory board?

Under the University’s policy on Consulting and Other External Activities, prior approval is required. Requests for approval should be directed to the dean or designee.

If prior approval is secured, and your external activities are with an entity which also has a direct financial interest in the outcome of your research at UMB, then you must contact UMB CoI Officer to disclose these activities and request a CoI exemption from the President of UMB.

What are the new U.S. PHS regulations?

The new 2012 PHS regulations require anyone participating in the design, conduct, or reporting of PHS-funded research to submit a Significant Financial Interest (SFI) Disclosure Form, even if there is nothing to disclose, and to complete training on the regulations every four years. Annual reports for SFI disclosure forms also are required, even if there is nothing to disclose or there are no further updates.

How do I complete UMB’s PHS online training and submit a SFI disclosure form?

The link for UMB’s PHS online training and SFI disclosure form is located on the CoI Office’s web page under the PHS heading.

There is a CoI Officer in my school; who do I speak to?

Your school may have a CoI Officer in place for handling CoI concerns within your school.

UMB’s CoI Officer is the designated official under UMB’s CoI policies to review and manage financial conflict of interest matters for all affected UMB employees.

Your school’s CoI Officer collaborates with UMB’s CoI Officer, and it will be necessary to speak to both.

Presentations

If you would like the CoI Office to give a presentation to your group, please contact us:

Alison Watkins, JD, MS
UMB Conflict of Interest Officer
Assistant Vice President
athom001@umaryland.edu
410-706-1266

Shilene Johnson, MPH
Research Compliance Specialist
Office of Accountability and Compliance
Shilene.johnson@umaryland.edu
410-706-4934

Erin Burch, MS
Research Compliance Specialist
Office of Accountability and Compliance
erin.burch@umaryland.edu
410-706-6951