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University of Maryland School of Medicine Names Dr. Nancy Lowitt as Chief Conflict-of-Interest Officer

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Dr. Lowitt, an Expert in Professional Standards of Conduct and Medical Education, Will Lead Compliance and Awareness Programs to Maintain School’s High Ratings in Professional Ethics
Baltimore, Md., May 20, 2014 — Today, University of Maryland School of Medicine’s (UM SOM) Dean E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., announced the appointment of Nancy R. Lowitt, M.D., Ed.M., as Chief Conflict of Interest (COI) Officer to help researchers and clinicians understand and comply with state and federal regulations, and UMSOM and University policy regarding identification, disclosure and management of financial and scientific conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment.  Dr. Lowitt has served as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development at the UM SOM since 1998.

“Dr. Lowitt is a nationally known expert in CME and professional development, Academic Health Center professionalism policies and practices, and is a contributor to our School’s success in maintaining high professional standards of conduct,” said Dean Reece, Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “We are delighted and honored to have her as our Chief COI Officer. Dr. Lowitt exemplifies the high ethical standards and professional caliber of faculty that puts the University of Maryland School of Medicine one among the country’s top-tier medical schools.” 

As medical schools and their faculty partner with healthcare industry scientists to solve vexing clinical problems, conflicts of interest may emerge for the faculty member or for the school that must be disclosed and understood and managed.  For example, a physician with a financial interest in a drug or device company must disclose that information to the School of Medicine and to scientific colleagues if they plan research related to that drug or device.  Federal law, State law, and School and University policies provide clear guidelines for identification and disclosure and reporting of conflicts of interest.

Dr. Lowitt will lead efforts designed to maintain full compliance with UM SOM and University of Maryland policies and practices, including reviewing faculty external professional relationships, identified conflicts of interest, and developing management plans for effective oversight. Additionally, she will act as UM SOM’s liaison with the University of Maryland conflict of interest management team, the University’s Faculty Physicians, Inc. practice (which represents 1,000 clinical full-time faculty at the SOM), as well as the University of Maryland Medical Center, federal agencies and other sponsors on issues related to professional conflicts. 

Dr. Lowitt led the development and implementation of UM SOM professionalism and industry consulting policies, which were awarded a grade of “A” for the third year in a row in 2013 by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). She also serves as a member of the Association of American Medical College’s (AAMC) Forum on Conflict of Interest (FOCI Academe) in Academic Medical Centers. As Associate Dean, Dr. Lowitt leads the CME program for the School of Medicine and was recently awarded a six-year term of Accreditation with Commendation by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.  She oversees faculty development in teaching skills, as well as professional development. She developed a model for the teaching portfolio that is now widely used at UM SOM for promotion and tenure review, and which has been peer-reviewed and disseminated nationally through the AAMC.

In addition to her duties as COI Officer, Dr. Lowitt is an assistant professor of medicine at UM SOM, where she teaches internal medicine and medical education scholarship to medical students, residents, graduate students and faculty.  She studies educational outcomes in continuing medical education programs.

“I am honored to be named to this important position at the University of Maryland School of Medicine,” said Dr. Lowitt. “As relationships between our faculty scientists and industry sponsors become more complex, and as our patients and stakeholders have become empowered to ask questions and demand accountability, it’s crucial that any real or potential conflicts of interest be identified and avoided or resolved. I’m very grateful to Dean Reece for appointing me to this position, and for the trust placed in me to ensure that our research processes and results remain above reproach.”

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