Conflict of Interest

What is considered an ethical conundrum if you are representing PAEA on the Board of Directors or other volunteer leadership group? Answers to organizational ethical conundrums are rarely simple; ethical issues are always contextual. We all have conflicts of interest (COIs) — some manageable, some not. Transparency is the best way to address these issues.

PAEA has currently identified only two unmanageable conflicts of interest:

  1. For members of PAEA’s Board of Directors: holding a Board position with an organization whose mission is in conflict with PAEA’s mission
  2. For PAEA’s exam item writers: participation in other exam item-writing activities for service or pay (excluding faculty work writing exam items at their program for use by their students)


Here are three short scenarios that may help illustrate examples of potential COIs:

  • You are considering running for treasurer of PAEA. You are presently treasurer of an organization in your community. Is this a COI?
    • This not a COI; however, it should be noted in your application for the treasurer position.
  • You are a faculty member of a PA program, and one of your scholarly tasks is to develop test questions for students after they have completed a clinical rotation. You have been asked to join an Exam Development Board to write questions for a PAEA project. Is this a COI?
    • This is a manageable COI; however, you should declare it on the annual agreement form.
  • You have been asked to become a PAEA volunteer group chair. You are presently a member of a similar council in your state PA chapter. Is this a COI?
    • No, in most cases this is an asset and not a COI; however, it should be declared on the annual agreement form and in your application.

You will find PAEA’s Code of Ethics and conflict of interest policies in the PAEA Policies and Procedures Manual. If you have any questions, please contact Lynn Heitzman at