Coronavirus (COVID-19) notice

In accordance with the Quebec government directive, McGill University will remain closed until further notice. As a result, kindly note that the McGill Biomedical Ethics Unit team is working remotely.

The best way to reach us is via ssom [at] (email )

Biomedical Ethics Unit Seminars & Events


All seminars will be hosted virtually for Winter 2021. Registration is required and registration pages will be made available below.

Spring 2021 Events

Monday April 12 @ 12:30 - 2:30 PM

Hosted by the Department of Anthropology

Jarrett Zigon, University of Virginia.

Justice (considered relationally)

Typically, justice is conceived in terms of fairness, distribution, or retribution. Too often these are articulated instrumentally and by means of calculation. This talk will instead attempt to think justice relationally and situationally, and in terms of attunement. To do so, I will engage some of my ethnographic work with the anti-drug war movement, their concern with policing and mass incarceration, and the increasing use of what I call algorithmic “justice” in order to consider justice relationally

Zoom link: 

PDF icon zigon.docx_-_google_docs.pdf

Past Seminars

Thursday February 25 @ 1 PM-2:30 PM

The Psychedelic Resurgence in Psychiatry: Ethics, Epistemology, and Enthusiasm

Via Zoom

For more information:

To Register:

PDF iconbiomedical_poster_final027.pdf


Thursday November 12 @ 1 PM

Jennifer Miller, Yale School of Medicine

Data sharing, research equity, and the role of the Good Pharma Scorecard

This talk will briefly review key ethics concerns about the pharmaceutical industry, focusing on data sharing and equity in research as well as the accessibility of novel new medicines for middle and low income countries. The role of the Good Pharma Scorecard in benchmarking practices and catalyzing reforms where needed will also be explored.

To Register:

Thursday October 8 @ 1 PM

Glenn Cohen, Harvard Law School

Artificial Intelligence and Heath Care: Legal and Ethics Issues

The world is paying increasing attention to the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) especially machine learning (ML) into health care. Some of the talk is hope, some of it is hype, but some of it is already being introduced into clinical care. This talk will give a general overview of the legal and ethical issues raised by this trend, including questions such as:

What rules should govern the acquisition of patient data to build medical AI and the privacy of patient information?

Is pre-market approval of some medical AI necessary? How should regulators approach the task of reviewing medical AI? How should they manage updates?

What role should patients have in deciding when medical AI is used in their care? Is there an obligation for clinicians to get informed consent for the use of AI, even when that AI is not apparent to the patient and instead just advising the clinician?

How should ethicists and regulators manage concerns about equity – both equitable access to models that actually are successful and problems of “bias” or even “discrimination” by models?

PDF iconglenn_cohen_poster.pdf


Tuesday November 26 @ 1:30 PM

Ariella Binik, McMaster University

Delaying and Withholding Interventions: Ethics and the Stepped Wedge Trial

PDF iconariella_binik.pdf




Wednesday October 16 - Projection Week Seminar with Mara Buchbinder

Making Death’ in the Era of Medical Aid-in-Dying

PDF iconmara_buchbinder_poster.pdf

Organized in partnership with the Department of Social Studies of Medicine

For more information on Projection Week:

Wednesday 17 April 2019 at 10 AM

Fareed Awan, University of Minnesota

Connecting Exploitation and Injustice in Research Ethics

Exploitation is a central topic of biomedical ethics, but remains contentious. In this talk, I will present a relational account of exploitation, where the wrong of exploitation is defined as a failure of a relationship dynamics, contra views of exploitation that take maldistribution as the primary concern. My view is that corroding the ability to resist the causes of exploitation, namely oppression and degradation, is unjust, at least within the context of biomedical research, where power, knowledge, and authority imbalance is particularly ingrained. Research that (a) exploits or (b) corrodes the ability of vulnerable groups to avoid exploitation are both sources of injustice, even if the relationship is mutually beneficial and consensual.

PDF iconfareed_awan.pdf

Thursday 25 April 2019 at 4:30 PM

Book Launch of "Ethical Issues in Women;s Healthcare: Practice and Policy"

Edited by Lori d'Agincourt-Canning & Carolyn Ells

In the foyer of 3647 Peel Street

PDF iconcarolyn_ells_3.pdf



Friday, February 1st @ 3:15

Phoebe Friesen, University of Oxford

Is Schizophrenia Research Under Threat?: How funding structures and patient groups shape scientific knowledge

Two significant shifts are taking place within psychiatry. The first shift involves the replacement of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) criteria with RDoC (Research Domain Criteria), in research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the world’s largest funder of psychiatric research. Moving away from the discrete diagnostic categories of the DSM, RDoC prioritizes basic science research and refrains from drawing a line in advance between pathological and non-pathological experiences. The second shift has been taking place in schizophrenia research over several decades and involves the adoption of wider outcome measures related to quality of life in place of narrow measures such as symptom scales. This change is largely a result of the influence of patient groups. It is argued that this second shift has been successful in bringing to light several explanatory models of schizophrenia that are likely to bear fruit in terms of both understanding schizophrenia and developing tools and treatments for those living with the condition. In light of this, this presentation asks whether the shift to RDoC will threaten the gains associated with research related to quality of life in schizophrenia. In response, it is suggested there is both reason to be wary and reason to be hopeful when it comes to schizophrenia research and funding based on RDoC.

PDF icon phoebe_friesen.pdf


Follow Biomedical Ethics on:

Back to top