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The Cardiothoracic Ethics Forum
The Cardiothoracic Ethics Forum (the Forum) was founded in 1999 in response to a perceived need for discussion of ethics topics by thoracic surgeons. The Forum has been responsible for ethics education for thoracic surgery. In exercising that responsibility, the Forum has sponsored dozens of ethics sessions at cardiothoracic surgery meetings and its members have published hundreds of papers on ethics topics since 2000, in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the Journal of Vascular Surgery, and other surgery and ethics journals. A survey carried out by the Forum and published in 2010 indicated that these efforts have had positive effects on cardiothoracic surgical practices (1). The Forum supplies ethics-related questions to the American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS) for use in its qualifying examination and also provides questions to the Thoracic Surgery Directors’ Association (TSDA) for use in its In-Training Examination.
The Forum began with a few members of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) who are interested in ethics, and it has evolved to comprise all the members of both the STS Standards & Ethics Committee and the AATS Ethics Committee, as well as a few at-large members. Lists of former members and current members are available at the respective preceeding links. The Forum meets at the annual meetings of the AATS and the STS—notice of the time and place of each formally scheduled meeting is provided to the membership in advance, along with a formal meeting agenda and appropriate supportive materials.
The Forum effectively separated ethics education from other functions (disciplinary review and specific society-related policy development) within both organizations. Moreover, it has developed several policies that have been adopted by both societies and published in their respective journals (2, 3, 4). Connection to both The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery has been maintained through the Forum membership of the ethics editors of both journals. Forum activities have enjoyed the approval and support of both the STS Board of Directors and the AATS Council for many years.
For information on the Cardiothoracic Ethics Forum Scholarship program, please click here.
- D'Amico TA, McKneally MF, Sade RM. Ethics in cardiothoracic surgery: a survey of surgeons' views. Ann Thorac Surg. 2010 Jul;90(1):11-13.
- Sade RM, American Association for Thoracic Surgery Ethics Committee, Society of Thoracic Surgeons Standards and Ethics Committee. Broadcast of surgical procedures as a teaching instrument in cardiothoracic surgery. Simultaneously published: Ann Thorac Surg. 2008;86:357-361. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2008;136(2):273-277.
- Mack MJ, Sade RM, for the American Association for Thoracic Surgery Ethics Committee and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Standards and Ethics Committee. Relations between cardiothoracic surgeons and industry. Simultaneously published: Ann Thorac Surg. 2009 May;87(5):1334-1336. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2009 May;137(5):1047-1049.
- Sade RM, American Association for Thoracic Surgery Ethics Committee, Society of Thoracic Surgeons Standards and Ethics Committee. Standards for relations of cardiothoracic surgical organizations with industry. Simultaneously published: Ann Thorac Surg. 2011 Jul;92(1):3-8. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2011 Jul;142(1):12-17.