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FSMB Webinar: "Stopping the Spread: Disinformation and its Impact on Physicians and Patients"

Date:  Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Time:  2:00 - 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Speakers:  Imran Ahmed, Katie L. Templeton, JD, and Mark Staz, MA


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About the Webinar

Health-related disinformation is not a new phenomenon, but during the COVID-19 pandemic its amplification via social media has broadened its reach and helped fuel distrust in vaccines and other proven public health measures. Disinformation about the COVID-19 virus, approved vaccines, and proposed treatments have a demonstrably harmful impact on patient safety and public health, and hinder physicians’ ability to help mitigate the spread of the virus. When disinformation is spread by licensed physicians, it raises significant challenges for state medical boards as they carry out their missions to protect patients. During this course, we will discuss how disinformation deeply impacts physicians and the patients they treat. We will describe the prevalence of disinformation on various social media platforms, the impact it has on patient health, and developing trends in medical regulation for addressing it, including efforts on the part of the FSMB.


About the Speakers
Imran Ahmed is the founding CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). He is a recognized authority on the social and psychological dynamics of social media, as well as what goes wrong in those spaces, such as trolling, identity-based hate, misinformation, conspiracy theories, modern extremism, and fake news. Mr. Ahmed is a regularly featured expert in the media on the international anti-vaccine movement, shedding light on who is behind it, and why they are doing it. CCDH research and reports such as The Anti-Vaxx Industry (2020), Will to Act (2020), The Anti-Vaxx Playbook (2020), Failure to Act (2021), and The Disinformation Dozen (2021) all exposed spreaders of anti-vaccine disinformation on social media platforms and showed how anti-vax influencers profit from disseminating deadly disinformation. Mr. Ahmed received an MA in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge.

Katie L. Templeton, JD,  is an attorney with more than 14 years' experience in all phases of health care law, litigation and claims management, focusing on medical outcomes, patient safety and best practices. Ms. Templeton has served as a Public Member on the Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners for more than seven years, during which time she was a member of the Oklahoma Opioid Task Force and personally authored the Best Practice guidelines for physicians in the state regarding opioid prescribing and legislative compliance. In May 2020, Ms. Templeton was elected as a Public Member to the FSMB Board of Directors and has served on various FSMB committees. This year, she was appointed as Chair of the FSMB's Ethics and Professionalism Committee and led the group in the development of a statement on the inappropriate dissemination of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and disinformation by physicians.  

About the Moderator
Mark L. Staz, MA, is Management Consultant for Regulatory Policy at the Federation of State Medical Boards. In his role, he is responsible for organizational initiatives related to regulatory best practices and supports the FSMB’s work in ethics and professionalism. He also supports the FSMB’s international collaborations with medical regulators outside of the United States, including its involvement in the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities. Mr. Staz has worked in medical regulation in Canada as a policy analyst for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and has been involved in several policy and research initiatives addressing human resources for health, social determinants of health, and physician performance enhancement. He received his master’s degree in philosophy at York University and is currently writing his doctoral dissertation on conflicting rights in health policy.

Target Audience
This activity was designed specifically for physician members and legal staff of state medical and osteopathic boards, and others within the medical regulatory and licensing communities.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the impact COVID-19 disinformation has on public health.
  • Dispel prevalent myths and conspiracy theories, and correct disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and proposed treatments.
  • Discuss the ethical and professional responsibilities expected of physicians when they share health-related information.
  • Assess the role of state medical boards in carrying out effective interventions.

Accreditation Statement
The Federation of State Medical Boards is accredited by the
Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statements
The Federation of State Medical Boards designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The Federation of State Medical Boards certifies that non-physicians will receive an attendance certificate stating they participated in the activity that was designated for 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

The American Osteopathic Association designates this program for a maximum of 1.0 of AOA Category 2-B credits.


Disclosure Declaration
As an organization accredited by the ACCME, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) requires that the content of CME activities and related materials provide balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor. Planning must be free of the influence or control of a commercial entity and promote improvements or quality in healthcare. All persons in the position to control the content of an education activity are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships in any amount occurring within the past 12 months with any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on patients.

The ACCME defines “relevant financial relationships” as financial relationships in any amount occurring within the past 12 months that create a conflict of interest. The FSMB has implemented a mechanism to identify and resolve all conflicts of interest prior to the activity. The intent of this policy is to identify potential conflicts of interest so participants can form their own judgments with full disclosure of the facts. Participants will be asked to evaluate whether the speaker’s outside interests reflect a possible bias in the planning or presentation of the activity.

The speakers, course director, authors, and planners at the Federation of State Medical Boards, have nothing to disclose.


System Requirements
In order to view this presentation, your computer must have audio capabilities (working speakers or headphones) and must have an internet browser capable of playing an HTML5 video.

Instructions for Participants and Obtaining CME Credit
There is no fee for this activity. To receive credit and receive their certificates, participants must view this CME activity in its entirety and complete the evaluation. The estimated time for completion of this activity is 1 hour.