Committee on Programs


The Committee is charged with:

  • Ensuring that the AOS is in compliance with the ACCME’s and AAO’s CME guidelines and criteria for Joint Sponsorship.
  • Selecting the papers to be presented at the scientific sessions at the annual meeting.
  • Identifying discussants for each of these papers.
  • Developing a topic and speakers for the annual AOS–Knapp Symposium.


The Committee on Programs consists of 4 active members, each of whom serves a 4-year term. The

Council appoints a new Committee member annually, and the senior member in service is the Chair of the Committee. The Executive Vice President serves as an ex-officio member of the Committee and has no vote. The Chair of the Committee on Programs should be prepared to meet with Council during its autumn meeting and the Council meeting prior to the Annual Meeting.


Symposium. The selection of a Symposium topic and speakers must be completed more than one year before the Annual Meeting at which the respective Symposium will be presented. To accomplish this goal, the Chairperson-elect of the Committee and the Chairperson-elect of the Council begin working on the topic soon after each autumn meeting of the Council. The Council Chairperson-elect is responsible for acquiring suggestions for topics from Council members and others by the time of the autumn meeting, for securing agreement of Council members regarding potential topics, and then for discussing these with the Committee Chairperson-elect. When a specific topic has been agreed upon, the Committee Chairperson-elect contacts potential speakers and secures commitments to participate in the Symposium. The entire process should be completed prior to the Annual Meeting that precedes the respective Symposium. The Chairperson-elect attends the Council meeting prior to the Annual Meeting to report on the next year’s Symposium plans.

Symposium speakers are funded for travel expenses, including one (or two when necessary) nights’ lodging, and honoraria. If an AOS member is selected as a Symposium participant, his or her registration fee will be waived in lieu of an honorarium.

The individual who is Chairperson-elect of the Committee on Programs and who becomes the Chairperson for the year in which the respective symposium is held is expected to maintain communication with all invited speakers and to confirm their attendance at the meeting.

Papers and speakers. Soon after the beginning of each calendar year, a “call for papers and posters” will be distributed to the membership from the AOS office. The Committee determines the deadline for the submission of abstracts. After the deadline has passed, the abstracts are distributed to each Committee member by staff, who will rank them, using criteria established by the Committee. The AOS requirements regarding IRB approval and appropriate disclosure must be followed (See related topic below). A meeting of the Committee, usually by conference call, is held in late January, and specific papers and posters are selected for presentation at the Annual Meeting. Papers that are selected will ordinarily be presented at the meeting in the order in which they were received in the

AOS office, i.e. the accepted paper that was submitted on the earliest date will be the first paper on the program. Submission of a paper by a member is a commitment that the respective member will be present at the time the paper is given. Occasionally, extenuating circumstances, such as a discussant’s need to respect a prior commitment, may require adjusting the paper order. The list of papers will be placed on the AOS website after the order is finalized.

Following the determination of papers to be presented, the Committee selects primary discussants for each of the papers. Traditionally, this task is divided equally among the members of the Committee. Potential discussants must be reminded that their agreement to discuss a paper obligates them to be present on the day of the meeting that the respective paper is presented.

When all papers and discussants have been selected, the Chair of the Committee submits lists of both to the AOS office, and the printed program is finalized.

IRB requirements. The abstract submission form contains a question regarding IRB approval. Authors reporting anything involving patients or human subjects must submit evidence of IRB approval or an official IRB opinion that approval is not required. In recent years, the IRB rules have changed so that it is now necessary to secure IRB approval for retrospective chart reviews, even on one’s own patients, for data involving standard medical care delivered in a usual clinic setting, and for device or drug testing.

If a paper does not involve patients or human subjects, a statement to that effect may be included with the abstract.

The program committee will reject abstracts that are not accompanied by the required IRB evidence.

Disclosure Requirements. Disclosure of financial conflict of interest is required by all authors, presenters and discussants and this disclosure must be submitted with the abstract. Authors are responsible for inquiring about, and including on a separate form, any conflicts of their co-authors. Authors are also responsible for reporting conflicts that develop between the time of abstract submission and the presentation of the paper or poster at the meeting.

All conflicts that are relevant to the healthcare industry must be disclosed whether or not the authors feel they are or are not related to the presentation.

The disclosure must be shown as the first slide at the beginning of any presentation, including planned discussions or included in the text of a poster.

Disclosure must also be stated by all secondary discussants before their comments related to any presentation begin.

Disclosure forms are required from all Council, Committee on Programs members, staff and others that may be in a position to have any influence over the content of a topic.

Committee Responsibilities for Ensuring Compliance with ACCME and AAO CME Guidelines:

  • Document the planning process and needs assessment, including, but not limited to written minutes of every meeting of the committee.
  • Receipt and review of disclosure information from all potential presenters and discussants BEFORE being confirmed as a presenter.
  • Management of any perceived or real conflicts prior to confirming any presenter and document the conflict resolution.
  • Document answers to the following questions at every meeting of the committee:

1)Why are we putting on this meeting, or choosing this topic?

2)What are the resources we used to support our decision? (Examples: Journal reviews, hot topics at other meetings, evaluations, Council Chair chat session, etc)

3)What is the most important thing our members need to know this year?

Committee members are encouraged to share copies of related articles or other documents that can be added to the CME file that validate needs assessment.

The Program Chair is involved with the invitations to the speakers for the symposia. Below are guidelines about reimbursement that you may discuss with the speakers.

  • AOS members receive complimentary meeting registration only.
  • Non-members receive a $1,500 honorarium, complimentary registration, two nights’ accommodations, and reimbursement of round trip coach airfare, meals and incidentals. They can bring a personal guest who can register for the meeting on a complimentary basis, but the AOS does not cover their expenses.
  • The Verhoeff and Blodi lecturer receives a $2,000 honorarium whether or not they are an AOS member. They receive three nights’ accommodations, complimentary registration, and reimbursement of round trip coach airfare, meals and incidentals. And they may also register a personal guest on a complimentary basis.

Revised 12.16.14

Upload to website 12.16.14