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 What We Do

A bioethicist provides support to staff, physicians, patients and their family members in dealing with ethical issues in a patient's care. This work involves ensuring that:

  • Patients are at the centre of their care, with the information and support they need to make free and informed decisions about treatment in view of what matters to them.
  • Reasonable, fair and transparent boundaries exist when individual preferences affect others.
  • Mediation is offered to help identify common interests and resolve conflicts when parties disagree about patient care.

For example, Bioethicists are often contacted to help Substitute Decision-Makers when a patient can't express their own wishes. Sometimes a family member needs help understanding their new role. In other cases, the substitute decision-maker's views may differ from those expressed in the past by the patient.

Bioethicists also develop policies and guidelines, conduct research, and promote the ethical conduct of research on human subjects by reviewing protocols as members of the organization's Research Ethics Board (REB).​

 Materials and Resources to Help You

All resources are in PDF  format unless otherwise indicated.

We have a short brochure that describes what a Bioethicist does, provides examples of situations where they may help, and supplies contact information for Bioethicists at UHN.

Here is some useful information for patients who want to appoint a Power of Attorney for Personal Care and/or Continuing Power of Attorney for Property.

Advance care planning is a time for you to reflect on your values and your wishes, as well as to let others know your future health and personal care preferences in case you can't consent or refuse treatment in the future. National resources are now available to help you make an Advance Care Plan:

 Engaging Ethics at UHN

In early 2024 the Department of Clinical and Organizational Ethics introduced a quarterly newsletter, in which we highlight current priorities as well as our events, lectures and publications.


 Meet Our Team

Senior Director: Ann Heesters, MA, PhD (Phil.)

  • Education Investigator 2, TIER (The Institute for Education Research)
  • Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • Member, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

Senior Bioethicist (Research): Jennifer Bell, MA, PhD

  • Bioethicist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, UHN
  • Scientist, Supportive Care, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, UHN
  • Education Investigator 2, TIER (The Institute for Education Research)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Clinical Public Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • Member, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

Bioethicist: Claudia Barned, MSc, PhD

  • Bioethicist, Toronto Western Hospital, UHN
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Clinical Public Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • Member, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto
  • Education Investigator 2, The Institute for Education Research (TIER)

Bioethicist: Jed Gross, JD, MPhil

  • Bioethicist, Ajmera Transplant Centre, UHN
  • Member, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

Senior Bioethicist (Learners/Fellows): Kevin Rodrigues, MTS

  • Bioethicist, Toronto General Hospital, UHN
  • Member, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

Bioethicist: Ruby Rajendra Shanker, MBBS, MHSc (Bioethics)

  • Bioethicist, Toronto Rehab
  • Adjunct Lecturer, Division of Clinical Public Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • Member, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

Administrative Coordinator: Donna Hutchins​

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