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Detailed Program

Click here for a detailed 2013 agenda featuring dates & times, session desciptions, speaker information as well as a printable copy.

Program at a Glance

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 ** Please note: This agenda has not yet been finalized and is subject to change at any time.

Optional Pre-Conferences

** Please note that an additional fee of $150 will be added to your registration when signing up for these sessions.


Pre-Conference 1 - Surgical Ethics

Coordinator: Dr. Martin McKneally, MD, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Joint Centre for Bioethics & Toronto General Hospital


  1. Clarify and teach about ethical issues encountered in the care of surgical patients – e.g. consent for surgical innovation, life sustaining treatment in the post-operative interval, recent developments in organ donation, and education of trainees and practitioners in Surgical Ethics.
  2. Develop a cadre of interested surgeons, trainees, nurses, and social workers who will participate in a program of continuing education in Surgical Ethics.

This one day pre-conference workshop will focus on issues encountered in the care of surgical patients, and on education in surgical ethics. In large and small group sessions we will discuss:

  1. The ethics of surgical innovation – when is it ok to try something new? When is innovation research? Surgical innovations can raise challenging issues of consent, oversight, and resource consumption that strain the capacity of research ethics boards.
  2. Important new approaches to organ donation that affect all surgeons.
  3. End of life issues – life sustaining treatment in the postoperative interval is rarely addressed until crises arrive.
  4. Effective initiatives and proven techniques for teaching ethics to surgical trainees and practitioners.
  5. A network of interested participants will be enlisted in a program of continuing education in Surgical Ethics.


Pre-Conference 2 - Ethics and Drug Supply Shortages: A National Workshop

Coordinator: Dr. Jennifer Gibson
Director of Partnerships & Strategy, Joint Centre for Bioethics, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto

Background and Rationale

When Sandoz Canada Inc. announced in February 2012 that it would be limiting production of a number of generic injectable drugs, the scope and magnitude of the drug supply shortage were unprecedented in Canada. Drug shortages are not uncommon in clinical practice, but are of increasing concern among health professionals (Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health 2011; Ventola 2011). Recent surveys of pharmacists and physicians in Canada and the United States suggest that the frequency of drug shortages may be increasing (CPA 2010; US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] 2011) and contributing to concerns about the impact of drug shortages on quality and safety of patient care, access to care and pharmacy staff time, clinicians and health system administrators (Fox et al. 2009; Institute for Safe Medication Practices 2010; Kaakeh et al. 2011; Printz 2012). Many drug supply shortages are addressed successfully through local conservation and redistribution efforts of hospital and community pharmacists. However, drug shortages on the scale of the Sandoz drug supply shortage raise unique challenges at a health system level regionally, provincially, and nationally.

Faced with a large-scale drug supply shortage, there is a clear need for a coordinated response across federal and provincial jurisdictions, between health organizations within the provinces and territories, between health sectors (e.g., acute and community care) and among health professionals working with diverse patient populations (Gibson et al., 2012). This systems-level approach must be complemented with an ethics approach. Previous experience with pandemic planning and addressing the allocation of finite resources, such as vaccines, antivirals and ventilators, underscores the importance of adopting a health system perspective that incorporates an ethics framework (e.g., Ontario Ministry of Health & Long Term Care Pandemic Influenza Plan). The possibility of drug scarcity calls for a proactive engagement with, planning for, and response to these ethical issues. Key ethical questions include: How should priorities be established for allocating drugs that are in limited supply? What steps ought to be taken to minimize the impact on the quality and accessibility of patient care? Who ought to be accountable for making these decisions?


08:00-08:30   BREAKFAST

08:30-09:00   Welcome & introductions

09:00-10:00   Panel Discussion: What are the biggest challenges our health system faces in preparing for and responding to drug supply shortages?

10:00-10:30   Presentation: Expert Consultation Findings

10:30-11:00   BREAK

11:00-12:00    Refinement of key ethical issues and guiding principles – small group discussion

12:00-13:00   LUNCH

13:00-14:00   Refinement of key ethical issues and guiding principles – large group discussion

14:00-15:15   Priority actions/practical strategies to address ethical issues

15:15-15:30   BREAK

15:30-16:30   Future directions for research (large group)

16:30-15:00   Next steps & Concluding Remarks


Pre-Conference 3 - Relational Ethics in Health Care

Coordinator: Wendy Austin, PhD, RN
Professor & Canada Research Chair (Relational Ethics in Health Care), Faculty of Nursing & The Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, University of Alberta

Relational ethics is expanding vistas for bioethics by recognizing the centrality of our relations and commitments to one another. Its core elements are meaningful interaction, mutual respect, uncertainty and vulnerability, and an interdependent environment. As Canada Research Chair in Relational Ethics in Health Care, Dr. Wendy Austin’s research has advanced the theoretical basis of relational ethics by exploring these core elements, as well as the understanding of health practitioners’ accountability and means to support ethical practice in complex and critical care situations.

This day’s sessions are intended to further interdisciplinary dialogue on relational ethics as a means of addressing vulnerability in healthcare environments. Relational ethics will be used to address issues in caring for two of our most vulnerable populations and their families: the palliative care environment and the neonatal intensive care unit. Dr. Austin and her colleagues will explore issues such as compassion fatigue and moral distress as they are experienced by Canadian health professionals. A relational ethics approach will be used to address addiction among health professionals. Relational ethics will also provide the basis for reflecting upon our ethical obligations to the dead.

This pre-conference will be of interest to health professionals, health educators and administrators, clinical bioethicists, researchers in health ethics, and anyone interested in evolving, contemporary approaches to health ethics.


08:00-08:30  Breakfast

08:30-09:00  Welcome and brief introduction to relational ethics

09:00-09:45  Presentation: Using Relational Ethics to Address Ethical Challenges in Palliative Care

  • Philip Larkin, RN, PhD, Chair, Irish Association for Palliative Care; Professor of Clinical Nursing, Palliative Care, University College Dublin & Our Lady’s Hospice Ltd.

09:45-10:00 Break

10:00-10:45 Presentation: Understanding Parental Decision-Making in the NICU as “Encounter”

  • Michael van Manen, PhD(c), MD, FRCPC Neonatal Intensivist, Alberta Health Services and Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta.

10:45-11:30 Presentation: A Relational Ethics Approach to Addressing Addiction among Health Professionals

  • Diane Kunyk, RN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta & Charl Els, Psychiatrist and Addiction Specialist, Associate (Adjunct) Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta.

11:30-12:30 Lunch

12:30-13:15 Presentation: The Moral Distress of Health Professionals as “Relational Demand”

  • Wendy Austin, RN, PhD, Professor and Canada Research Chair (Relational Ethics in Health Care), Faculty of Nursing and the Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, University of Alberta.

13:15-14:00 Presentation: Exploring the Relational Elements of Compassion Fatigue as Experienced by Canadian Health Professionals

  • Denise Larsen, Chartered Psychologist; Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Alberta; Director of Research, Hope Foundation of Alberta.

14:00-14:15 Break

14:15-15:00 Presentation: Reflecting upon our Ethical Obligations to the Dead from a Relational Ethics Perspective

  • Julija Kelecevic MD, Clinical Ethicist, Alberta Health Services; Assistant Professor (Bioethics), Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

15:00-15:30 Reflections on the day

Plenary Speakers

Charlene Hellson, Artistic Associate / Actor, Crazy Horse Theatre Company

Charlene Hellson is a proud mother of 2 daughters, and a member of the Siksika Nation. She graduated from University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and a minor in Anthropology. She has been involved with her community personally, professionally, and artistically addressing issues that impact Aboriginal people. Charlene is an Artistic Associate and Actor for the Crazy Horse Theatre Company, and has been involved with the Calgary Aboriginal Arts Awareness Society as a Curator for the First Nations Haute Café – a multi-displinary arts festival. She sits on the programming committee for the herland film festival’s Aboriginal night, and has worked with Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe’s Indigenous Health Pathways as an Actor. Charlene lives in Calgary with her daughters, and currently works for the Calgary Health Region’s Adult Aboriginal Mental Health Program as a Wellness Worker.

Unpacking the Backpack - “I wrote this monologue for the Calgary Health Region’s inaugural conference “Cultural and Mental Health Practice: Honoring Our Differences”. I was inspired by Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the Knapsack of White Privilege”. I asked myself what would be in an Aboriginal person’s backpack? My intention was to create an encounter wherein learning and empathy could take place. So, I created an encounter between my character, the Aboriginal client with a presenting problem, and the helper. I wanted others to understand the impact of that other big “C” word – Colonization, without inciting debilitating guilt. Too often there is the belief that all one needs to learn about is culture. But our culture is not the problem; it’s not the reason why we are suffering. We are suffering because our cultural group has been impacted by Colonization, and focussing on beads and feathers takes us away from that.” – Charlene Hellson


Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Director of Research, Clinical Psychology Program, Union Institute & University, Battleboro, Vermont

Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and trained in family medicine, psychiatry, and clinical psychology. He has been on the faculties of several medical schools, most recently as associate professor of family medicine at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine. He continues to work with aboriginal communities to develop uniquely aboriginal styles of healing and health care for use in those communities. He is also currently working with people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia to explore healing through dialogue in community. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, and Coyote Wisdom, a trilogy of books on what Native culture has to offer the modern world. He has also written Narrative Medicine and, his most recent book, Healing the Mind through the Power of Story: the Promise of Narrative Psychiatry.

Lewis currently teaches in the Clinical Psychology Program at Union Institute & University in Brattleboro, Vermont, where he is Director of Research and a core faculty member. He maintains a part-time private practice of family medicine and psychiatry and serves on the Board of Directors of the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation.

Lewis has been studying traditional healing and healers since his early days and has written about their work and the process of healing. His primary focus has been upon Cherokee and Lakota traditions, though he has also explored other Plains Cultures and those of Northeastern North America. His goal is to bring the wisdom of indigenous peoples about healing back into mainstream medicine and to transform medicine and psychology through this wisdom coupled with more European derived narrative traditions. He has written scientific papers in these areas and continues to do research. He writes a weekly (almost) blog on health and mental health for His current interests center around psychosis and its treatment within community and with non-pharmacological means, narrative approaches to chronic pain and its use in primary care, and further developing healing paradigms within a narrative/indigenous framework.

Lewis will discuss “Bringing the wisdom of indigenous peoples back into mainstream medicine; the meaning of healing aside from curing disease, and relying on relationships and community for healing and identity.”


Hilde Lindemann, Professor of Philosophy, Michigan State University

Hilde Lindemann is a Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University. Her books include An Invitation to Feminist Ethics (McGraw-Hill 2005) and, as Hilde Lindemann Nelson, Damaged Identit ies, Narrative Repair (Cornell University Press 20 0 1). W ith James Lindemann Nelson she coauthored Alzheimer's: Answers to Hard Questions for Families (Double day 1996) and The Patient in the Family (Routledge 1995), and she has also edited three collections: Feminism and Families and Stories and Their Limits: Narrative Approaches to Bioethics (both Routledge 1997), and, with Marian Verkerk and Margaret Urban Walker, Naturalized Bioethics (Cambridge 2008). The former editor of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, she was also coeditor (with Sara Ruddick and Margaret Urban Walker) of Rowman & Littlefield's Feminist Constructions series and the general coeditor (with James Lindemann Nelson) of the Reflective Bioethics series at Routledge. A Fellow of the Hastings Center, her ongoing research interests are in feminist bioethics, feminist ethics, the ethics of families, and the social construction of persons and their identities.


Joseph Kaufert, Professor, Deparment of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Anthropology, University of Manitoba

Joseph Kaufert is a professor in the department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Manitoba. He is a community health researcher and medical anthropologist who has worked in the Departments of Community Medicine and Psychiatry in the Universities of London (England), Texas and Manitoba. Dr. Kaufert is the founder of the British Society for Medical Anthropology and the past president of the Canadian Association of Medical Anthropology. Dr. Kaufert works in research and cultural advocacy activities in both Aboriginal Health programs and the disabled consumers' movement in Canada. He has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and has edited books on medical sociology and ethnicity and research ethics. He developed post graduate programs for the M.Sc. and PhD. degrees in Community Health Sciences and co-directed the graduate program for 3 years. He teaches graduate seminars in research methods and disability studies and has served as Director of undergraduate programs in community medicine for ten years.

Joseph will lead a "Bioethics Magic Show"


Ghislaine Cleret de Langavant, Deputy Health Commissioner Responsible for Ethics, Quebec Health and Welfare Commissioner

Ghislaine Cleret de Langavant has a background in both basic sciences and bioethics. She holds a Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences, a Master’s degree in Nutrition and a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. Her areas of expertise are many, running from methodology in bioethics and the complex ethical implications of genetics to the use of deliberative processes in bioethics to assist policy-making. Since 2004, Ghislaine de Langavant is associate professor at the department of Health administration at the University of Montreal. She is also a member of the Canadian Bioethics Society executive committee of as of June 2008. In January of 2007 Ghislaine de Langavant was named Deputy Health Commissioner, responsible for ethics, at the Quebec Health and Welfare Commissioner. Her responsibilities include the integration of ethics in the appraisal of the performance of the Quebec health and social services system. She also leads public consultations on the ethical dimensions of questions of public interest and assists deliberative processes within the Commissioners’ appraisal mandate, in particular with respect to the Commissioners’ “Consultation Forum”.

Ghislaine will discuss “Citizen Engagement”.


Debate Moderator: Andre Picard, National Public Health Reporter, The Globe and Mail

André Picard is one of Canada's top health and public policy observers and commentators.

Currently the public health reporter at The Globe and Mail, he has been a staff writer since 1987. He is also the author of three books and has received much acclaim for his writing and for his dedication to improving healthcare. In 2010, he was awarded a National Newspaper Award as Canada's top newspaper columnist.

Panelist: Susan Sherwin, Research Professor Emeritus, Dalhousie University

Susan Sherwin is a Dalhousie University Research Professor Emeritus and has served as Chair of the University's Department of Philosophy. Internationally, she is considered one of the world's foremost feminist ethicists, and has served on committees for numerous organizations such as the Royal College, UNESCO, and Health Canada on the Advisory Group on Reproductive and Genetic Technologies. Dr. Sherwin was recognized with the Killam Prize in the Humanities from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2006 as well as a fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada. She was elected fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and in 2008 received the Canadian Bioethics Society's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Panelist: Carl Elliott, Professor, Center for Bioethics; Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School; Professor, Department of Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts

Carl Elliott is Professor in the Center for Bioethics and the Department of Pediatrics, and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He is the author or editor of seven books, including White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine (Beacon, 2010) and Better than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream (Norton, 2003.) His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, Mother Jones, The New York Times and The New England Journal of Medicine. In 2011 the Austen Riggs Center awarded him its Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media.

A native South Carolinian, Elliott was educated at Davidson College in North Carolina and at Glasgow University in Scotland, where he received his PhD in philosophy. He received his MD from the Medical University of South Carolina. Prior to his appointment at the University of Minnesota in 1997 he was on the faculty of McGill University in Montreal. He has held postdoctoral or visiting appointments at the University of Chicago, East Carolina University, the University of Otago in New Zealand, and the University of Natal Medical School (now the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine), the first medical school in South Africa for non-white students. He has been a Network Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a Visiting Associate Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He is a Fellow of the Hastings Center, an Honorary Member of the Caribbean Bioethics Society, and a recipient of an Outstanding Faculty Award from the University of Minnesota's Council of Graduate Students. He blogs at
Fear and Loathing in Bioethics.

Panelist: Eiker-Henner Kluge, Professor and Departmental Ombudsman, University of Victoria

B.A. (Calgary), A.M., Ph.D. (Mich.), professor and departmental ombudsman. Taught at various universities in the US and Canada before coming to the University of Victoria. In 1989 he was asked by the Canadian Medical Association to establish the Department of Ethics and Legal Affairs, and was its first Director. He was the first expert witness in medical ethics recognized by Canadian courts, and has acted in that capacity in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. He has been a consultant to Health Canada, various provincial Ministries of Health and Health Regions, as well as to the Office of the B.C. Police Complaint Commissioner and has presented invited testimony to Royal Commissions and Parliamentary Committees. From 2004 to 2010 he was the Canadian Bioethics Society’s delegate to the Canadian Council on Animal Care. He is a member of WG4 (Security in Health Information Systems) of the International Medical Informatics Association, was the lead author of its Code of Ethics (translated into 9 languages) and wrote the accompanying Handbook of Ethics for Health Informatics Professionals. In 2005 he received the Award for Research Excellence of the UVic Faculty of Humanities, and in 2007 he was awarded the Abbyann Lynch Medal in Bioethics by the Royal Society of Canada. Current research interests include medical informatics, human tissue banking and genetic engineering.

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