Department Spotlight: Institutional Ethics And Compliance Program

The Institutional Ethics and Compliance Program works to keep Duke in compliance with laws, regulations

Joan Podleski, left, director of the Institutional Ethics and Compliance Program, discusses clientinformation with compliance analyst Brian Lowinger, center, and assistant Sandra Reade, right.


Department: Institutional Ethics and Compliance Program

Years at Duke: 4 years

Who they are: The Institutional Ethics and Compliance Program (IECP) leads Duke's efforts to maintain a high standard of ethics and compliance with all laws, regulations and policies that apply to what students, faculty and staff do at Duke. Members of the IECP function as consultants and coordinators to make sure students and employees involved with educate, conduct research and provide patient care follow federal and state laws and regulations, and policies, and Duke's own high standards. 

What they're known for: Before the Institutional Ethics and Compliance Program was created in 2006, Duke didn't have a way to analyze, resolve and coordinate compliance efforts across the university. With the department in place, Duke is able to assess ethics and compliance issues from a broader perspective by involving compliance officers from various departments with their experts.  It also allows for compliance issues to be assessed for risks in a consistent fashion. For example, IECP staff typically work with a department's compliance staff and coordinate efforts with other departments and senior officials. IECP also operates the conflict of interest disclosure program applicable to administrators and senior officials. 

What they can do for you: Employees can call on the Institutional Ethics and Compliance Program when they have questions or issues relating to any of the laws and regulations which relate to the university or their job. IECP can also refer employees to resources outside their department. For example, IECP works with staff to assess compliance obligations. "We deal with supervisors of offices and departments to act as an information resource for anything relating to ethics and compliance," said Joan Podleski, director of the Institutional Ethics and Compliance Program. "We can help employees get in touch with compliance experts from throughout Duke to look at potential impacts of problems or liabilities,"

Number of employees: Three.

Hidden department fact: Employees of the Institutional Ethics and Compliance Program typically interact with compliance liaisons, but they're available to talk about ethics and compliance with any Duke employee. "Anyone can call us and get information, and we also have a hotline for anonymous calls if employees have concerns about compliance, but don't want to share their personal information," Podleski said.

Significant achievement: IECP launched its website in 2010 as an online resource with contact information for a variety of commonly referenced compliance areas. The site is organized by areas to make it easy for visitors to find compliance information. Some sections featured on the site include clinical, research and teaching/student compliance.

Big goal: There are more than 400 various laws, regulations and policies faculty and administrators must follow at Duke. "We want to make sure following those rules aren't more of a burden than it has to be," Podleski said. "The list of laws faculty and administrators must follow is always going to be incredibly big, so we're here to deal with those regulations to make sure everyone's work isn't hindered."

How they make a difference: "As Duke changes, compliance changes and we're here to help employees understand and manage compliance and ethical risks," said Brian Lowinger, a compliance analyst with IECP. "For example, as Duke becomes more global, we need to educate employees about the ethical and compliance obligations related to travel, the exchange of ideas and tangible goods because those compliance obligations are now relevant to Duke.  "

Faculty and staff can contact the IECP at (919) 613-7691 or call the anonymous compliance and fraud hotline at (800) 849-9793.

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