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The JCB Voice

Nov-Dec 2019 / Vol. 25 / No. 3
In this month's issue:
Featured / In the News / JCB Seminars & Events / Announcements / Events / Employment Opportunities / Call for Submissions / Publications


Assessing Risk, Automating Racism: How Do We Reimagine the Default Settings of Technology in Healthcare?

This week we presented another lecture in our series on Ethics and Governance of AI for Health. Dr. Ruha Benjamin was on hand to talk about racial bias in health care algorithms. She was joined in a panel discussion with Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Dr. Andrew Pinto and Dr. Arjumand Siddiqi.
» Watch the lecture

In the News

Alzheimer Society Won’t Fight Potential Legal Changes Allowing Patients to Make Advance Requests for MAID

The Alzheimer Society of Canada has changed a key aspect of its stand on medical assistance in dying, saying it will no longer fight potential legal changes that would allow dementia patients to make advance requests for the procedure. (Jennifer Gibson, The Globe and Mail)
» Read more

AI in Health Care: Improving Outcomes or Threatening Equity?

Scientists warn that the unexamined use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care could result in worse health outcomes for marginalized people. (Jay Shaw, CMAJ News)
» Read more

Targeting Each of the Four Types of Opioid-Related Stigma Can Bring Health Policy and Social Change

U of T researchers have identified four types of opioid-related stigma that depend on a variety of factors, including the context of opioid use, the social identity and networks of the person who is consuming the opioid, and what type of opioid is being consumed, including prescribed opioids. (Daniel Buchman and Melissa McCradden, DLSPH News)
» Read more

The Occupation of Dying

Judith Friedland was 10 years old when her mother died of leukemia. (Kevin Reel, UofTMed)
» Read more

Google Health-Data Scandal Spooks Researchers

Google and one of the largest health-care networks in the United States are embroiled in a data-privacy controversy that researchers fear could jeopardize public trust in data-sharing practices and, potentially, academic studies. (Jay Shaw, Nature)
» Read more

U of T's Centre for Sustainable Health Systems to Focus on Reducing Health-Care Sector's Environmental Impact

Nearly five per cent of Canada's carbon footprint is generated by the health-care system. (Fiona Miller, U of T News)
» Read more

U of T Experts and Friesen Prize Winner Debate Gene Editing, AI and Other Disruptive Medical Technologies

Gene editing represents a promising new pathway to treat disease-causing mutations and other medical conditions. (JCB, U of T News)
» Read more

The Latest Medical Assistance in Dying Decision Needs to Be Appealed: Here’s Why

The federal and Québec governments appear reluctant to appeal what's known as the Truchon decision, which invalidated Canada's “reasonable foreseeable death” and Québec's “end of life” access criteria for medical assistance in dying. (Trudo Lemmens, The Conversation)
» Read more

Improving Medicine Through Machine Learning

Growing up, I enjoyed watching movies and TV shows that depicted a future where technology could detect specific diseases and even treat patients. (JCB, MedEmail)
» Read more

JCB Seminars & Events

Reflections from the Inaugural Cohort of the JCB Scholars Program on AI, Ethics & Health

November 6, 2019
Saumil Dholakia, Geriatric Clinical Pharmacology and Geriatric Psychiatry Clinical Fellow, McMaster University, Psychiatrist, Christian Medical College, Vellore; Joseph Donia, MSc candidate, Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation, University of Toronto; Tara Upshaw, MHSc candidate, Translational Health Services Research, University of Toronto
Moderator: Jay Shaw, Research Director, Artificial Intelligence, Ethics & Health, Joint Centre for Bioethics, Assistant Professor, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toront
» Watch video

What's in an Explanation? The Legal and Ethical Imperative of 'Explainability' in Clinical Machine Learning

November 13, 2019
Melissa McCradden, PhD, MHSc(c), Department of Bioethics, The Hospital for Sick Children; Ian Stedman, MA, LLB, LLM, PhD(c), Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
» Watch video

To Eat or Not to Eat: That is the Question

November 20, 2019
Peter Allatt, MA, MHSc, Bioethicist, Sinai Health System (Mount Sinai Hospital and Bridgepoint Active Health Care); Melissa Turner-Joseph, MSc, SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, Reg. CASLPO
» Watch video

Violence and Virulence: What is Our Duty to Care in the 21st Century?

December 4, 2019
Andrew Helmers, MD, MSc, MHSc(c), Department of Critical Care, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto
» Watch video

Canadian Bioethics Society: 31st Annual Conference

June 3-5, 2020
Abstracts are now being accepted! The theme of the annual conference is "The Role of Bioethics in AI and Emerging Health Technologies: Activator, Inhibitor or Collaborator?"
» Read more


Michael Gordon retired from his position at Baycrest in early November 2019.

Melissa McCradden accepted the role of Junior Bioethicist in October 2019 at the Hospital for Sick Children. Her unique embeddedness at the intersection of machine learning and health care ethics is a great addition to the Department and hospital.

Heather Ross received the Canadian Heart Failure Society Annual Achievement Award in October 2019.

Claudia Barned and Jeremy Butler are the new fellows in Clinical and Organizational Bioethics at the Centre for Clinical Ethics (Unity Health Toronto).


Bioethics Grand Rounds

Toronto, ON
December 12, 2019
Important Bioethics News Stories from 2019: Looking Back to Move Forward
Moderator: Jonathan Hellmann, Medical Bioethics Associate
Presenters:Suzanne Beno – staff Physician Emergency Department; Karen Dryden-Palmer – clinical nurse specialist Critical Care; Jessica Faust – social worker – NICU; Lennox Huang – VP Medical & Academic Affairs; Kayla Wiebe – PhD candidate, Philosophy, UofT; Stacy Hewson – genetic counsellor; Mjaye Mazwi – staff physician Critical Care
12:00 to 1:00 pm. Daniels Hollywood Theatre, The Hospital for Sick Children.
» Read more

16th Annual International Conference on Clinical Ethics & Consultation

Spier Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa
March 31-April 3, 2020
Beyond Borders: Exploring New Frontiers
The conference will explore clinical ethics challenges that traverse borders and shift paradigms against a backdrop of cultural complexity and diversity.
» Read more

Employment Opportunities


Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto
You will work collaboratively with clinical program leadership, Patient and Family Experience team including the Client Relations Officer, legal counsel, and others to develop policies, initiatives, and tools to support ethical decision-making at all levels of the organization.
Deadline to apply: Until filled
» Read more

Senion Clinical Ethicist

Inova Health System, Fairfax, VA, USA
Inova Health System is continuing its development of a robust Ethics program and invites applications for a Senior Clinical Ethicist to help lead our team.
Deadline to apply: December 31, 2019
» Read more

Associate Professor - Global Health

Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) at the University of Toronto invites applications for a full-time tenure stream position at the rank of Associate Professor in the area of Global Health. The expected start date is July 1, 2020, or shortly thereafter.
Deadline to apply: January 7, 2020
» Read more

Call for Submissions



Canadian Bioethics Society 31st Annual Conference

Presenters and participants are invited to contemplate a broad canvas of ethical concerns associated with the role of bioethics in AI and emerging health technologies. All abstract applicants must identify a primary theme that best describes the general subject area of bioethics being addressed.
Submission deadine: January 17, 2020
» Read more

34th European Conference on Philosophy of Medicine & Health Care

The conference will focus on challenges posed by moral, religious and cultural diversity to healthcare, the life sciences and bioethics. Abstracts addressing any of the issues mentioned in the link below from a philosophical and/or ethical perspective will be favored, although work on other topics can also be submitted.
Submission deadine: March 1, 2020
» Read more



Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada - External Research Ethics Board Members

The HC-PHAC REB is seeking to recruit one or more members who are knowledgeable in ethics. The REB serves as an independent ethics review board to help ensure that all proposed or ongoing research involving human participants or communities carried out by, funded by, or otherwise under the auspices of HC or PHAC, meets the highest ethical standards, and that safeguards are implemented to provide the greatest protection to human participants and/or communities.
Submission deadine: January 31, 2020
» Read more


  • Baba A, McCradden MD, Rabski J, Cusimano MD. Determining the Unmet Needs of Patients with Intracranial Meningioma — A Qualitative Assessment. Neuro-Oncology Practice. 29 October 2019. Read more
  • Cooper J, Heesters A, Bianchi A, Rodrigues K, Brown N. Contracting Compliance: A Discussion of the Ethical Implications of Behavioural Contracts in the Rehabilitation Setting. Canadian Journal of Bioethics. 2019;2(2):97-101. Read more
  • Downar J, Close E, Sibbald R. Do Physicians Require Consent to Withhold CPR That They Determine to Be Nonbeneficial? CMAJ. 2019;191(47):E1289-90. Read more
  • Hayeems RZ, Luca S, Ungar WJ, Bhatt A, Chad L, Pullenayegum E, Meyn MS. [Correspondence] Response to Rubanovich et al. Genetics in Medicine. 19 November 2019. Read more
  • Lemmens T. [Book Review] Shining a Light on the Subtle Industry Courting of Nurses. Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. 28 November 2019. Read more
  • McCradden MD, Vasilev D, Orchanian-Cheff A, Buchman DZ. Ambiguous Identities of Drugs and People: A Scoping Review of Opioid-Related Stigma. International Journal of Drug Policy. 2019;74:205-15. Read more
  • Nelson MLA, Upshur R. Healthy Research Ecosystem—Healthy Researchers? The Researcher as an Organism of Focus Within a Research Ecosystem. Academic Matters. Fall 2019. Read more
  • Notini L, Vasileva D, Orchanian-Cheff A, Buchman DZ. Ethical Issues Associated with Solid Organ Transplantation and Substance Use: A Scoping Review. Monash Bioethics Review. 2019;37(3-4):111–35. Read more
  • Wynn Y, Spithoff S, Buchman DZ. Cannabis Legislation Provides an Opportunity to Strengthen Primary Care Substance Use Counseling. Canadian Family Physician. 2019;65(11):777-9. Read more

If you have a publication you would like to add to next month's list, please email
Copyright © 2019 University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, All rights reserved.