International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable Charter
29 January 2019
Rachel Ankeny, Kirstin Borgerson, Alex Broadbent, Havi Carel, Jonathan Fuller, Fred Gifford, Mäel Lemoine, Julian Reiss, Jeremy Simon, David Teira
A subcommittee of the Roundtable Scientific Committee was established (Kirstin Borgerson, Havi Carel, Jonathan Fuller, Mäel Lemoine). The subcommittee gathered feedback on the future of the Roundtable through the Roundtable email listserv, before creating a draft Charter. The Charter was revised and then approved by the current Roundtable Scientific Committee (the signatories listed above).
Mission: The mission and responsibilities of the Committee consist in: organizing the Roundtable conference and cognate society sessions; maintaining a website, listserv and other media; and promoting the growth and development of the philosophy of medicine.
Rationale: After discussion and consultation, the Committee decided against the creation of a formal society with a dues-paying membership and traditional structure. One main reason for societies in philosophy is to run a journal, and the Committee does not plan on starting a journal in the near future. Similarly, the Committee decided against becoming a nonprofit organization. Fundraising is needed to host the Roundtable, but local hosts are typically best placed to do their own fundraising. While there appears to be some (modest) interest in a society or nonprofit organization within the philosophy of medicine community, the current needs of our relatively small field are not great enough to justify the creation of a more formal organization. The Committee will revisit its structure and mandate periodically as the field develops.
Membership: The Committee will consist in approximately ten members, selected and governed as mandated in this Charter.
Committee Selection: One or two persons from the team who will next host the Roundtable will usually be offered membership. Other vacant positions will be filled by the committee after considering nominations, including self-nominations. Nominations will be accepted by the Chair at any time, but normally only considered when there is a vacancy on the Committee. Selection will be based on demonstrated commitment to and leadership in the field, and the Committee will seek to promote diversity among Committee members. New members will ordinarily join every two years, to roughly coincide with the conferences, although should a vacancy arise between conferences, it will be filled in a similar manner.
Rationale: The Committee seeks members who will best execute its Mission. Thus, selection will be based on leadership in philosophy of medicine and a willingness to contribute to the activities of the Committee. Because this willingness is best demonstrated by volunteering to host the conference, membership will normally be tied to conference hosting. Those who have previously hosted the conference also gain the experience needed to oversee its long-term governance. In order to further the development of the field, diversity within the Committee is also a desideratum. Because diversity and leadership might not always be achieved by selecting new members from among conference hosts, the Committee will at its discretion invite other nominated persons to join.
Other mechanisms for Committee membership have been suggested and were considered by the Committee. Because the Roundtable is not associated with a society, there is no formal membership to govern the selection of new members. Thus, the Committee will remain self-selecting. External governance is not essential because the Committee is a small group of volunteers tasked with running a biennial conference rather than a organization tasked with representing the philosophy of medicine community and/or entrusted with money or other goods on behalf of the community. Nonetheless, the Committee will be guided by democratic principles of fairness, equity/diversity and inclusiveness.
Advisory Board: As new members join the Committee, an equal number of current members will normally retire to an Advisory Board. Volunteers will first be sought to step down. If there are not enough volunteers, the longest serving Committee members will step down (if several members have served an equal tenure, a lottery will decide who will step down). The main function of the Advisory Board is to provide guidance and assistance to the Committee as requested. The Board will not normally participate in the organization of the Roundtable nor the Committee’s other activities.
Chair: The Committee will be led by a Chair, selected by the Committee from within its membership. The Chair will lead all activities of the Committee (especially searches for future Roundtable hosts and Committee members), and will liaise with other relevant organizations. The Chair will have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the Committee when these decisions are minor or when seeking the input of the entire Committee is not feasible. The Chair will be rotated every four years.
Secretary: The Chair will be joined by a Secretary, also selected by the Committee from within its membership. The Secretary will assist the Chair, particularly in Roundtable media and communications. The Secretary will also be responsible for revising the Charter as requested by the Committee. The Secretary will be rotated every four years
B. Roundtable Host Selection:
Timeline: The Committee will select future Roundtable hosts two-four years in advance. Normally, in odd years, a call for proposals to host the Roundtable will be circulated. The Committee will choose the next host from among the applicants.
Committee Membership: A hosting application should include the names of one or more lead organizers. One-two lead organizers will normally be invited to join the Committee if their proposal is accepted.
Scheduling Conflicts: The Chair will ensure that the dates of the Roundtable do not conflict with other major conferences in philosophy, especially in philosophy of science and medicine.
Chairing and Conduct: the Roundtable will follow best practices for chairing and conference conduct developed by the British Philosophical Association, adapting these guidelines to suit its own needs.
C. Diversity and Inclusion:
Diversity Policy: The Committee will develop a policy on diversity and inclusion by June 2019. This policy will cover elements listed in this section of the Charter. Included in the policy will also be a plan for ensuring diversity of participants in the conference.
Diversity of Roundtable Location: Preference should be given to continents that have not recently hosted the Roundtable. Rather than just North America and Europe, institutions from all continents should be given consideration. Consideration should also be given to costs and transportation so as to enable as many people as possible to attend the meeting and to be inclusive of all interested attendees.
Inclusion, Funding, Virtual Presentations: Included in Roundtable hosting applications should be plans to provide assistance to conference presenters who do not have access to funds to attend the conference, including early career scholars. The Committee should routinely consider applications to present remotely to enable those who are unable to travel (e.g. for health, childcare or financial reasons) to participate in the Roundtable.
Accessibility: Host applicants should articulate their plans for accessibility in their proposals. Plans might include: pre-circulation of papers and handouts; accessible format and font handouts (eg minimum font sizes); audio mikes and induction loops; making available information about parking, campus layout and floor plans; and providing rooms for child care. Accessibility information should be made available as a matter of course.