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Research and Innovation

​​​​​​Bioethicists at UHN enable responsible research and innovation by reviewing and assisting in the design and application of research protocols. They conduct their own original research and have particular strengths in transplantation and research ethics. Emerging specialties include neuroethics, diversity, rehabilitation and professionalization.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Ann Heesters

Heesters, A., Talbot, D. (October 2017-January 2018). FaCE-ing and Managing Boundary Dilemmas in Volunteer Management. e-Volunteerism, XVIII(1). Available online: [publication]

Li, M., Watt, S., Escaf, M., Gardam, M., Heesters, A., O’Leary, G., Rodin, G. (2017). Medical Assistance in Dying — Implementing a Hospital-Based Program in Canada. New England Journal of Medicine, 376, 21. [publication]

Heesters, A., Buchman, D.,Z., Anstey, K., Bell, J.A., Russell, B.J., Wright, L. (2016). Power of Attorney for Research: The Need for a Clear Legal Mechanism. Public Health Ethics. [publication]

Khoja, L., Horsley, L., Heesters, A., Machin, J.D., Mitchell, C., Clamp, A.R., Jayson, G.C., Hasan, J. (2016). Does clinical trial participation improve outcomes in patients with ovarian cancer? ESMO Open. Available online: [publication]

ABdool, R., Szego, M., Buchman, D., Justason, L., Bean, S., Heesters, A., Kaufman, H., Parke, B., Wagner, F., Gibson, J. (2015). Difficult healthcare transitions: Ethical analysis and policy recommendations for unrepresented patients. Nursing Ethics. 1(4). [publication]

Heesters, A., Bioethics in a Digital Age. Panel launching the Strategic Plan of the Joint Centre for Bioethics. University of Toronto. Toronto, May 2018. [presentation]

Heesters, A., Rodrigues, K. Guiding, Abiding and Occasionally Deciding: Ethical Supports in Caring for Those with Dementia. Canadian Conference on Dementia. Toronto, November 2017. [presentation]

Heesters, A. Everyday Ethics in Dementia Care: A Framework for Practice. North Simcoe Muskoka Dementia Network, 7th Annual Conference. Orillia, October 2017. [presentation]

Andria Bianchi

Bianchi, A., Greenberg, R. (2018). Deceased Directed Donation: Considering the Ethical Permissibility in a Multi-Cultural Setting. Bioethics, 1-8. [publication]

Bianchi, A. (2017). Transgender Women in Sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 44(2), 229-242. [publication]

Bianchi, A. (2017). Gender Testing in Sport: Ethics, cases and controversies. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 45(1). [publication]

Bianchi, A. (2016). Autonomy, Sexuality, and Intellectual Disability. Social Philosophy Today, 31, 107-121. [publication]

Parke, B., Bianchi, A. (2016). Micro Data: Wearable Devices Contribute to Improved Chronic Disease Management. Healthcare Quarterly, 18(4), 62-65. [publication]

Bianchi, A. The Health Justice Approach and Models of Disability. Canadian Bioethics Society Annual Conference. Halifax, May 2018. [presentation]

Bianchi, A. Ethical Considerations of Sexuality and Caring for People with Dementia. Integrating the Attending NP Role in Long-Term Care Conference- Nurse Practitioners Association of Ontario. Toronto, April 2018. [presentation]

Bianchi, A., Greenberg, R. Deceased Directed Organ Donation: Exploring the Ethics from a Family Centred Care Perspective. The Joint C​entre for Bioethics Seminar Series. Toronto, March 2018. [presentation]

Daniel Buchman

Buchman, D.Z., Lynch, M-J. (2018). An ethical bone to PICC: Considering a harm reduction approach for a second valve replacement for a person who uses drugs. The American Journal of Bioethics, 18(1), 79-81.

Buchman, D.Z., Leece, P., & Orkin, A.M. (2017). The epidemic as stigma: The bioethics of opioids. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 45(4), 607-620.

Buchman, D.Z., Ho, A., & Goldberg, D.S. (2017). Investigating trust, expertise, and epistemic injustice in chronic pain. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 14(1), 31-42.

Buchman, D.Z., Ho, A., & Illes, J. (2016). You present like a drug addict: Patient and clinician perspectives on trust and trustworthiness in chronic pain management. Pain Medicine, 17(8), 1394-1406.

Buchman, D.Z. & Ho, A. (2014). What’s trust got to do with it? Revisiting opioid contracts. Journal of Medical Ethics, 40(10), 673-677.

Buchman, D.Z., Borgelt, E.L., Whiteley, L., & Illes, J. (2013). Neurobiological narratives: Experiences of mood disorder through the lens of neuroimaging. Sociology of Health & Illness, 35(1), 66-81.

Ruby Shanker

Shanker, R.R, Nicholson, V., Underhill, A., Kennedy, L., Jaworsky, D., Loutfy, M. (2018). Ethical Issues in the Care and Support of Women Living with HIV. In L. d’Agincourt-Canning & C. Ells (Eds.), Ethical Issues in Women’s Health Care: Practice & Policy. New York: Oxford University Press USA. [publication]

Reel, K., Macri, R., Dembo, J.S., Bean, S., Shanker, R.R., Costa, L., Waxman, R. (2017). Our last, best judgement: Assisted death for intolerable, irremediable suffering in mental health/substance use. In D. B. Cooper (Ed.), Ethics in Mental Health-Substance Use. Boca Raton, Florida: Taylor & Francis LLC. [publication]

Shanker, R.R, Anthony, S, Wright, L. (2018). What do we know so far? A Scoping Review of the Literature on Public Solicitations for Living Organ and Tissue Donation. Progress in Transplantation, doi: 1526924818781578. [publication]

Shanker R.R. Inclusion of Diverse Gender Identity within Diagnostic Medicine- Reframing Patient-Centred-Care and Ethics. Plenary speech, Kenora Rainy River Regional Laboratory Program Symposium. Dryden, September 2018. [presentation​]

Shanker, R.R. Who Makes Healthcare Decisions for Me When I can’t? Advance Care Planning. Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network’s 3rd Annual Renal Patient and Family Engagement Event. Toronto, June 2018. [presentation]

Shanker, R.R. The Ethics of Surgical Decision Making around Patients with Severe Disabilities and Cardiac Deformities. Panel presentation, International Adult Congenital Heart Disease Symposium. Toronto, June 2018. [presentation]

Shanker, R.R. Beyond Gender Binaries: Ethical Reflections for the 21st Century Medical Laboratory Professional. Plenary speech, LABCON 2018. Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science. Ottawa, May 2018. [presentation]

Shanker, R.R. Ethics in Diagnostic Medicine- What does it encompass exactly? Key note speech, Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare (IQMH) Conversation Day in Ethics. Toronto, February 2018 [presentation]