Interested in Presenting at the 2024 GWCO Congress?

Thank you for your interest in becoming a speaker for our 2024 GWCO Congress to be held on October 17-20, 2024 in Portland, Oregon.  GWCO is always looking for good speakers and presenters. All GWCO members and industry leaders are invited and encouraged to submit speaker application.

Attendees: Practicing optometrists, allied professionals, state and national leaders, students, and Industry professionals from throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Click here to submit your application!

Additional Information for those submitting a speaker application

GWCO Conflict of Interest Management & Resolution

COPE Disclosure Statement
COPE has adopted the ACCE® Standards for Commercial Support (SCS) of continuing education. Instructors and Administrators/Providers of COPE-Accredited CE must agree to abide by the following standards regarding commercial support.

The Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) has implemented guidelines to appropriately manage industry relationships in support of continuing activities to ensure transparency, fair balance, content free of commercial bias and an effective system of oversight. As a COPE Administrator/Provider, to comply with the COPE requirements for course qualification, the Great Western Council of Optometry is required to submit a financial disclosure to ARBO for instructors presenting CE-approved courses at the 2024 GWCO Congress, as well as those individuals involved in the selection and organization of CE-approved courses.

GWCO COI Management & Resolution
To identify and resolve conflicts of interest in its Continuing Medical Education activities, the Great Western Council of Optometry has established the following policy for those involved in the planning and implementation of CE activities.

It is the policy of GWCO to incorporate the following values:

  • GWCO must place a higher priority on the health and well-being of the public than on an individual’s personal economic interests.
  • Some individuals in CE have personal economic interests derived from financial relationships with commercial entities that create a personal sense of duty or loyalty to the commercial entity.
  • Some financial relationships with commercial entities are important enough to conflict with the individual’s responsibility to CE learners and with the public interest.
  • If an individual in CE has a conflict of interest, GWCO must manage the conflict in a manner that is in the best interest of the public.
  • Definition of Conflict of Interest: “Circumstances create a conflict of interest when an individual has an opportunity to affect CE content about products or services of a commercial interest with which he/she has a financial relationship”.
  • Financial relationships are considered to create actual conflicts of interest in CE when individuals have both a financial relationship with a commercial interest and the opportunity to affect the content of CE about the products or services of that commercial interest. “Content of CE about the products or services of that commercial interest” is considered to include content about specific agents/devices, but not necessarily about the class of agents/devices, and not necessarily content about the whole disease class in which those agents/devices are used.

GWCO Education Chairs and Executive Staff are charged with the following responsibilities:

  • Identifying potential relevant financial relationships prior to the activity being developed and delivered to the learners.
  • Obtaining from all faculty and planners’ disclosures of their financial relationships relevant to the content being considered or planned for the activity.
  • Clarifying content expectations with faculty including course chairs and presenters in all program formats.
  • Requiring that all presentations be evidenced based.
  • Requiring pre-conference peer review of content.
    • Disqualifying those individuals who refuse to disclose relevant financial relationships from roles that will give them the opportunity to affect the development, management, presentation, or evaluation of that CE activity.

Mechanisms for Management of COI
GWCO has established the following mechanisms to identify and resolve conflicts of interest (COI):

  • All persons in a position to influence the content (Planners, Faculty, Speakers, Education Committee, or authors) will disclose to GWCO all relevant financial relations where the relationship is associated with the content of the activity, prior to any CE activity being developed and delivered to learners.
  • Individuals who refuse to disclose relevant financial relationships are disqualified from having a CE role in the development, delivery, or evaluation of any CE activity.
  • GWCO will review all disclosure forms submitted and identify any incidence where both a current financial relationship (within 12 months) with a commercial entity and/or the opportunity to affect content relevant to products or services of that commercial entity.
  • GWCO disclosure review falls into two categories:
    • Forms which report no financial relationships are immediately put into "Final" status by the GWCO office staff and no Education Committee review occurs under normal circumstances.
    • A summary of the relevant data from each form with financial relationships disclosed will be prepared by the GWCO office staff and presented to the Education Committee for their review. Research data about the products and/or services provided by the commercial entities will be provided. The Education Committee will review the summary and research any other pertinent information. They will then determine if a COI exists in accordance with the definitions as provided by the ACCE of a Conflict of Interest and a Financial Relationship (see above).
    • In the event a COI is identified, one of the following must take place:
      • The individual (or member of family with COI) must provide evidence of elimination of the COI and will disclose this information to learners verbally (for live activities) and in print.
      • The individual will be replaced, and the activity will be planned and delivered by someone with no COI.
      • The content of the activity will be changed to the extent that no COI exists.
      • The educational activity is cancelled.

Activity presentation materials (PowerPoint, hard copy handouts, etc.) will be submitted for peer review in advance of the course to ensure a disclosure slide/page exists and that no COI is present:

  • Education Committee members will monitor all live events for evidence of bias in favor of commercial interests; if commercial bias is deemed present, the speaker will be stopped and asked to change or clarify his/her remarks on the spot before continuing and will be barred from speaking at future GWCO activities for a period of two years.

Analysis of the data collected from evaluations enable GWCO to measure the effectiveness of our system for identifying and resolving conflicts of interest:

  • If the data indicates errors made by reviewers, planners, or moderators, they can be addressed with an educational intervention regarding the importance of proper disclosure, conflict review, and methods of resolution; if deemed necessary, the individual may be restricted to working in other areas during any future volunteer efforts.
  • Offending speakers may not be allowed to speak at future GWCO activities for a period of 2 years.