Learn about current projects that the RGHL's graduate and post-doctoral fellows, affiliated graduate members and grant recipients are currently working on.
Current graduate and postdoctoral fellows are funded through an FRQSC bursary dispensed by the research group.
RGHL Graduate and Post-Doctoral Fellows, and Affiliated Graduate Members
Maria Rodriguez- LLM Candidate, Graduate Fellow
María Rodríguez is a human rights lawyer with extensive experience working in international human rights litigation and advocacy both at the Universal System of Human Rights and the Inter-American System of Human Rights. She is particularly interested in the protection of women, girls and persons with reproductive capacities’ fundamental rights to health, autonomy and integrity in the context of structural systems of violence, exclusion, and discrimination. María is a member of the Barreau du Québec and is a graduated from McGill’s Faculty of Law (B.C.L / LL.B, ‘16).
Preliminary thesis title: New Legal Strategies and Narratives: Re-conceptualizing Sexual and Reproductive Rights in regressive normative frameworks and patriarchal societies
Dimitri Patrinos - LLM Candidate, Graduate Fellow
Dimitri is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and a graduate of the University of Montreal (LL.B., 2018; J.D., 2019) and Concordia University (B.Sc., 2013). Dimitri is interested in exploring medical liability related to the use of novel technologies in health care.
Preliminary Thesis Title: Remote Patient Monitoring and Physician Liability
Maushumi Bhattacharjee - LLM Candidate, Affiliated Graduate Member
Maushumi is am a law graduate from India, with an LL.M in Intellectual Property Laws from Gujarat National Law University. Working in a pharma company in India has given her immense knowledge on legal contracts for clinical trials, clinical studies including contracts with ethics committees, and has also given her extensive experience in working with the legalities of expanded and fast-growing clinical research activities in a developing country. She is interested in researching the barriers to access to healthcare resources in developing countries and LMICs caused by the existing framework of intellectual property laws.
Preliminary Thesis Title: A (Bio)ethical Intellectual Property Framework for Vaccine
John Petrella – LLM Candidate, Affiliated Graduate Member
John Petrella practiced civil litigation, with a focus on medical negligence cases, and regulatory law, focusing on the regulation of health professionals. These experiences, along with his undergraduate and graduate experience in the health sciences, peaked his interest in investigating the ways in which expert evidence is utilized in Canadian health law and exploring ways to facilitate greater access to justice and just outcomes in health law cases.
Preliminary Thesis Title: The Good Doctor: A critical analysis of use of expert evidence in Canadian health law
Michael Lang – LLM Candidate, Affiliated Graduate Member
Michael Leung is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and a graduate of McGill University’s Faculty of Law (BCL/LLB, 2018) and of the University of Alberta (BA, 2014). Michael is broadly interested in the ways technology is changing healthcare, how the law understands personhood, and how humans interact with the natural environment.
Preliminary Thesis Title: The Inexplicable Decision Maker: Reviewing the Reasons of Machine Learning Algorithms in Healthcare.
Kristina Kékesi-Lafrance – LLM Candidate, Affiliated Graduate Member
Kristina Kékesi-Lafrance is a master’s student specializing in bioethics. She is interested in how laws and ethics interact, particularly in the context of human genetics.
Kristina holds a bachelor of civil law from Sherbrooke University and has been a member of the Quebec Bar since July 2018. Before starting her master degree at McGill University, Kristina practiced as a lawyer in a national firm for a year.
Lingqiao Song – DCL Candidate, Affiliated Graduate Member
Lingqiao Song acquired a BSc in Biology and two Masters of Law at the Chinese Academy of Social Science and University of Montreal, where she was awarded the “Dean’s Award: Best Overall Academic Achievement.” In 2016, she was admitted to Chinese Bar Association.
Lingqiao is also a member of the Institutional Review Board of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and an assistant to the Data Access Officer of the ICGC.
Sara Hartmann – LLM Candidate
Hailing from Luxembourg and Germany, Sara Hartmann is an masters (thesis) candidate pursuing the bioethics specialization.
She graduated from Université Panthéon-Assas Paris 2 and from Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3. She also has an American LLM degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Regarding her research, she is interested in the transformation of civil law in an era of scientific advances.
Louise Holm – LLM Candidate
Louise Holm is a master's student at McGill University's Faculty of Law, pursuing the degree at the Institute of Air and Space Law. She also holds a LLB and LLM degree from the University of Aarhus, Denmark, where her thesis focused on the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources in the international seabed.
Ms. Holm will conduct research within both space law and health law, combining the two in her final thesis, which is expected to be finalized in the summer of 2020. The one defining trait of her legal interests is that of public international law in all its forms.
Similoluwa Ayoola – LLM Candidate
Similoluwa Ayoola is a human rights lawyer and advocate. She has participated in notable litigations through the entire rung of the Nigerian court hierarchy. For a number of years, she has contributed to the movement for the inclusion of the right to food as a legal and constitutional right under Nigerian laws.
She is currently an master's candidate and O’Brien Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, Faculty of Law, McGill University, where she researches the tradeoffs between the international legal framework for the right to food and climate change.
Joséane Chrétien – DCL Candidate
Joséane Chrétien is a doctoral candidate interested in health law and ethical issues. She holds a master degree in comparative and European Law from the University of Oxford and a master degree from the University de Montréal. She has been a member of the Québec Bar since 2003 and worked as a litigator for over a decade.
Her research project, titled Legal Chronicles of Utopia: Regulatory Framework of Human Enhancement in a Post-Darwinian Era, focuses on the legal and ethical issues surrounding human enhancement (genetic engineering, preimplantation diagnostic, performance-enhancing drugs, anti-aging medicine, etc.), particularly in terms of fundamental rights and human dignity.
Mary Bartram – Postdoctoral Fellow
Mary Bartram has extensive experience in mental health and addictions policy development with federal and territorial governments, indigenous organizations and NGOs, including as the Director of the Mental Health Strategy for the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
As a McGill postdoctoral fellow, her research focuses on the potential for harm reduction to bridge different understandings of recovery in the mental health and addictions sectors.
She completed her PhD at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University in 2017, with doctoral research on equity in access to psychotherapy in Canada, Australia and the UK.
Agnieszka Doll – RGHL Postdoctoral Fellow
Agnieszka is an interdisciplinary scholar trained in law, sociology, and gender studies.
Her PhD at the Law and Society Program at the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria (2017) incorporated ethnographic research on the organization of involuntary psychiatric admission and legal aid lawyering that is undertaken within it. More broadly, Agnieszka is interested in intersections between legal practice, professional knowledges, and institutional processes in medico-legal spaces and their implications for vulnerable populations.
As postdoctoral fellow, she is pursuing a project exploring the interface between standardized and generalized modes of institutional functioning in legal and psychiatric settings and a textual representation of experiences of women undergoing psychiatric admission.
Kathleen Hammond – RGHL Postdoctoral Fellow
Katie is a postdoctoral fellow with the Research Group on Health and Law and visiting scholar with the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School.
She has been involved with policy development in the area of reproduction for organizations, including the World Health Organization. Katie completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar, during which she explored the market and regulation of assisted reproductive technologies in Canada.
She is interested in questions surrounding medical markets for gametes, embryos, and surrogacy, and their regulation. Her postdoctoral project will explore fertility clinic policies surrounding consent for social egg freezing and the disposition of preserved eggs.
Michael Da Silva – Banting Postdoctoral Fellow
Michael Da Silva is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Law and Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University.
Michael completed his doctorate in the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where he was a CIHR Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar.
His numerous publications include works in health law, ethics, and philosophy of law
Stefanie Carsley – DCL Candidate
Stefanie Carsley is a doctoral candidate at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, studying Canadian legal responses to assisted reproductive technologies. Her dissertation draws on qualitative interviews with Canadian fertility lawyers to comment on the strengths and shortcomings of Canadian laws pertaining to surrogate motherhood.
Her work has been published in the University of British Columbia Law Review, the Canadian Journal of Family Law, the Health Law Review, the Dalhousie Law Journal and is forthcoming in the Canadian Bar Review. Her doctoral research is supported by the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship and the Queen’s Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Estefanía Fierro Valle – LLM Candidate
“Euthanasia in Ecuador: How to make it happen. A legal and ethical approach”
Estefanía Fierro Valle is a LLM (Bioethics) candidate at McGill’s Faculty of Law. She graduated in law from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and holds a Bachelor in Civil Law. She also studied EU Competition Law in King’s College London. Her interests lie at the intersection of law and health, particularly relating to patient’s rights, public health policy and medical liability. Estefania provided advice to clients in numerous proceedings with the antitrust authority in Ecuador on abuse of power cases, restrictive agreements, and pre-merger notifications in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
Florence Ashley Paré – LLM with Thesis Program
“Saving Trans Lives with a Prescription Pad: The Normative Landscape of Prescribing Hormone Replacement Therapy to Trans Patients by Family Physicians”
Florence Ashley Paré is a LL.M. candidate at the McGill Faculty of Law where they are exploring the bioethical and legal frameworks for prescribing hormone replacement therapy to trans patients. They conduct trans/feminist activism on the unceded lands of Tiohtià:ke (Montreal), and frequently publish op-eds and give conference presentations on a wide range of issues faced by trans people. Their academic work has been published on the McGill Journal of Law and Health and is forthcoming in the University of Toronto Law Journal. Aside from their membership of the McGill Research Group on Health & Law, they are also O'Brien Fellow in Human Rights and Legal Pluralism for 2017-2018.
Heather Whiteside – 2017-2018 BCL/LLB Fellow
Heather Whiteside is a second-year student at McGill’s Faculty of Law. Her interests lie at the intersection of law and health, particularly relating to sexual and reproductive rights, medical liability, and disability law. She has explored these areas as a research intern at the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy and through her work with the McGill Journal of Law and Health. Her work is financed by the Regroupement stratégique Droit, changements et gouvernance (http://www.rdcg.org/)
Salman Shahad, DCL candidate — 2015-2016 Fellow
Rationing of health care through contractualization: the responsibility of provincial legislatures in preserving fairness in personalized care
Shahad Salman is a lawyer, a member of the Quebec Bar, and an academic associate at the Genomics and Policy Center (CGP) at McGill University. She graduated in law from the University of Montreal, and holds a juris doctor in common law. She also studied international law in Europe at the International Institute of Comparative Law of University of San Sandiego. Me Salman also holds a master of Laws from McGill University.
Her thesis aims to explore the responsibility of the provincial governments in preserving the fundamental principles of the Canadian health care system, particularly preventing unfair prioritization of patients while simultaneously favouring the acceleration of personalized medical innovation.
Patrick Garon-Sayegh, BCL/LLB'10, LLM'17 (Bioethics) — 2015-2016 Fellow
Medicine’s Empire: Professional Law and the Organization of Quebec’s Healthcare System Since 1973
Dîplomé du programme B.C.L./LL.B. de la Faculté de droit de l'Université McGill, Me Garon-Sayegh a pratiqué au sein du cabinet Millet Thomson en droit administratif, municipal, de la construction, et en droit environnemental de 2011 à 2015. Il entame présentement un LLM en bioéthique à l'Université McGill, s'intéressant aux interactions du droit administratif, du droit professionnel et de l'éthique avec les politiques publiques.
His research project examines professional law’s role in shaping Quebec’s healthcare system, particularly since the enactment of the Professional Code and related legislation at the end of the “Quiet Revolution”. It focuses on the central —and dominant— role of the medical profession within the system and how professional law sanctions this role, often to the detriment of other healthcare professions and options.
Renzo M. Munita, Visiting Graduate Student — 2013-2014 Fellow
Licencié en Droit pour l´Université Catholique de Concepción et Avocat pour la Cour Suprême de Justice au Chili; Master en droit privé de l'Université Pierre Mendès France - Grenoble 2 et Doctorat en droit privé pour l'EDSJ de Grenoble, France; Professeur (en mission) de la Chaire de droit civil à l'Université du Desarrollo au Chili.
Dans le cadre de sa thèse de doctorat portant sur la responsabilité civile liée aux activités scientifiques et technologiques supervisée par le professeur Etienne Vergès, M. Munita étudie le contentieux industriel, environnemental et sanitaire, particulièrement dans une lecture des risques et des incertitudes.
C’est dans le cadre de ces recherches de droit comparé, qui incluront l’étude du droit canadien, qu’il fera un séjour à la Faculté de droit de l’Université McGill, sous la supervision de la professeure Lara Khoury.
Lee Black, DCL'17 — 2013-2014 Fellow
"Legal Pluralism in the Medical Profession in the United States: Harmonious Coexistence?"
The medical profession in the United States is faced with government regulation at both the state and federal level, dictating many aspects of medical practice.
However, the profession has a long and continuing history of self-regulation, ranging from practice and education standards to peer review to ethical standards. How do these two authorities—the profession and the state—interact and coexist to influence the behaviour of physicians? What are the tensions between the two that impact the effective practice of medicine?
Daniel Widrig, LLM'14 — 2013-2014 Fellow
“Appropriateness/Proportionality in health care decision-making”
A few decades ago, we as a humanity did not always have the luxury of boundless medical opportunities.Today, where science is so far, we seem to reach other limitations, mainly financial restrictions.
This leads to the question: When is the burden for society too high to finance one individual’s treatment?
The research project approaches this question by comparing current Canadian and Swiss law while continuously reflecting it through the lens of bioethics.
Keith Lenton, LLM'16 — 2012-2013 Fellow
“Authenticating Treatment Refusal in the Context of Mental Illness: When is it Appropriate to Respect Versus Overrule Treatment Decisions?"
I am doing a survey, analysis and critique of the mental health treatment regimes within Canada and other jurisdictions, to the extent that they are constituted by the law, in order to determine when it is ethically permissible to overrule treatment decisions when mental illness is an influencing but not overriding factor.
Ya Tan — 2012-2013 Fellow
"The reform of assessment of medical malpractice in China"
Currently there is a tension in Chinese law due to conflicts regarding the application of the two assessment systems in medical malpractice: medical and judicial. With the promulgation in 2010 of the Chinese Tort Law, urgent improvements are needed in the future. Through a comparison of Chinese medical malpractice laws with those of Canada, this project aspires to determine whether the dualism in Chinese law can persist, and what the future of Chinese law regarding medical malpractice will be.
Ma'n H. Zawati, DCL candidate — 2012-2013 Fellow
"Physicians’ Legal Duty to Inform in Large-Scale Population Genomic Projects: Reciprocity as a Complement to the Respect for Autonomy"
Genomic Research in general and population genomic studies in particular are challenging the traditional legal duties of clinician-researchers. More specifically, this project focuses on the legal duty to inform and assesses the challenges facing the traditional interpretation of the principle of respect for autonomy.
RGHL Travel Grant Recipents
Mary Bartram, DCL Candidate
Harm Reduction as a Bridge between Mental Health and Addiction Recovery, presented as part of a panel on 'Harm Reduction, Public Policy, and Moral Controversy: Principle and Practice' at the 4th edition of the International Conference on Public Policy, Montreal, June 26-28, 2019.
Recovery is a key concept driving system transformation in both the addiction and mental health sectors, with shared roots in advocacy a shared focus on hope in the face of stigma, self-determination, and meaningful lives. Nevertheless, while cure is not thought to be necessary for mental health recovery, addiction recovery generally starts with abstinence. This study draws on concept analysis and phenomenological methods to explore the potential for harm reduction to act as a bridge between the mental health and addiction sectors.
Kathleen Hammond, BCL/LLB Candidate
Katie Hammond presented two papers at the Canadian Sociological Association Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 3-6, 2019.
Her first paper was entitled “Taking our Health into Our Own Hands: How Intended Mothers and Egg Donors are Changing the Laws and Policies Surrounding Assisted Reproduction in Canada.” It explored the ways that Canadian intended parents and egg donors have mobilized their collective power through online communities, and how they are prompting changes to medical guidelines and laws related to assisted reproduction. Her second paper “Relationally Speaking: The Implications for Women of Treating Embryos as Property in a Canadian Context” analyzed the recent ONSC and ONCA decisions of S.H. v D.H. and the implications of categorizing embryos as property.
Florence Paré, LLM candidate
“Torture Isn’t Therapy”: The Legality of Transgender Reparative Therapy, presented at the 3rd Biannual Conference of the European Association for Transgender Health, Rome, Italy, April 11-13, 2019.
Although a number of jurisdictions have since banned or attempted to ban reparative therapy, the overwhelming majority have no legislative measures in place that explicitly protect trans youth against therapies, which aim at changing their gender identities and make them align with the gender they were assigned at birth, despite WPATH considering such therapeutic approaches unethical.
Using a doctrinal and jurisprudential method that draws on notions of professional liability, disciplinary law, and the right to equality while situating them within of contemporary scientific knowledge and standards of practice, the presenter argues that laws of general application may be used to sanction the practice of reparative therapy by licensed professionals even in the absence of explicit prohibition.
Michael Lang, BCL/LLB Candidate
On May 10–11, 2018, I attended “Rights in the Modern World,” a postgraduate law conference that took place at Durham University in Durham, United Kingdom. I presented on the tort of wrongful life, comparatively outlining how the tort has been considered in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Finding the treatment of wrongful life cases to have been argumentatively unsatisfying, I defended the view that an expressive theory of the law of tort provides compelling grounds on which wrongful life cases might be taken seriously.
Matt Malone, BCL/LLB Candidate
Matt Malone presented a paper at the Western Anthropology Graduate Society’s annual conference, held March 9-10, 2018.
His paper (“The Property Discourse in Cases of Destroyed Cryopreserved Human Reproductive Material”) discussed recent trends extending the property law discourse to human biological materials, and examined the history of this discourse in the common law. His abstract and presentation won an award on the panel “Perceiving Biological Boundaries.”
Kathleen Hammond, BCL/LLB Candidate
With the support of the RGHL, Katie presented a paper entitled ‘Canada’s online grey market in egg donation’ at the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society annual meeting, taking place September 14-16, 2017, in Vancouver, Canada.
Summary of paper: Despite the ban on payment, it is widely known that Canadian intended parents and egg donors are buying and selling donor eggs in an online grey market, or are traveling to jurisdictions where payment is permitted. Through data from in-depth qualitative interviews I conducted with Canadian egg donors and intended parents, I explore donors’ and intended parents’ experiences of these markets. I argue that the ban on payment neither reflects or ameliorates the ethical concerns faced by egg donors and intended parents.
Sarah Berger Richardson, DCL candidate
Ms Berger Richardson received the 2016-2017 RGHL Student Travel Grant to attend The Future of Food Law and Policy in Canada conference, taking place Nov 3-4, 2016, at the Shulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, in Halifax, and participate as a panelist on a discussion around ‘Food Safety: Between Governance & Choice.’
Summary of paper: Food safety regulations strengthen public confidence in our food supply, but deciding what constitutes an acceptable level of risk is a value judgment involving moral and political questions. It cannot be determined by science alone. And yet, contemporary food safety regulations purport to speak in universals about food quality while shifting attention away from the complex web of interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral interests that make up food systems including the environment, rural development, cultural heritage, animal welfare, and public health. Drawing on the scholarship of Alasdair MacIntyre, my paper suggests that a deeper understanding of theories of virtue can soften the current dichotomy between scientific and ethical perspectives in Canadian food law and policy.
Ayodele Akenroye, DCL candidate
Mr. Akenroye, doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Law who is working under the supervision of Professor Frédéric Mégret, received the 2012-2013 RGHL Student Travel Grant. Mr. Akenroye presented his research at the International Peacekeeping in Africa conference at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, being held between November 22-24, 2012.
His presentation was entitled "Navigating the Complexity of HIV/AIDS in Peacekeeping Missions in Africa: Challenges and Prospects", and spoke to the role of peacekeeping missions in the spread and control of HIV/AIDS, the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS within African peacekeeping missions, the human rights challenges posed by the testing of personnel for HIV, and gave an an overview of the steps taken by regional and international peacekeeping groups to tackle the complex challenges brought about by HIV/AIDS.