17th  9:30-11:00 a.m. Elisa Gordon "African American Living Kidney Donors’ Preferences for Informed Consent for APOL1 Genetic Testing"

This presentation will briefly review racial/ethnic disparities in living kidney donation as background for examining the ethical dilemma of whether or not APOL1 genetic testing should be incorporated into routine donor evaluation. Patient-centered data on living donors’ attitudes about, and preferences for informed consent for APOL1 genetic testing will be presented to guide the ethical analysis.

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Health and Social Policy and the Centre de recherche en éthique. No registration required.




3 Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry - "What is Disability? Theoretical Strategies to Define a Contested Concept"
The concept of disability is used across a variety of contexts (e.g. medical, legal, artistic) to describe different phenomena and prescribe distinct behaviours or norms. The definitional challenge is not only that the category of “disabled people” is heterogenous, but also that what “disability” should denote, primarily or exclusively, is controversial amongst both theorists and practitioners. This conceptual breadth is far from innocuous: disability models have the potential to influence public policies, culture and interactions, by suggesting what rights, duties and social expectations disability entails. They can both benefit and harm people categorized as “disabled”.

Instead of examining those various definitions and arguing in favour of one of them, this essay considers the unavoidable cultural polysemy of disability and contrasts the appeal and limitations of the main theoretical strategies to manage it. Some disability models deny that competing understandings of disability are valid, while others seek to determine procedures through which disabilities will be defined and assessed and still others conceptualize disability in a more culturally malleable way.


Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry is an Assistant Professor of Law at McGill University (joint appointment with the Institute for Health and Social Policy) and a member of the Quebec Bar. His publications include a book on freedom of expression in Latin America and articles in the areas of legal history, human rights, ethics and disability law. He collaborates with disability organizations on public policy issues and is an Advisor to the Vulnerable Persons Standard.


21 Chris Barrington-Leigh - "What Makes Societies Happy? The Dawn of Happiness-guided Policy"

Are we ready to enact happiness-guided policies? It has been four decades since economists began to be interested in a subjective measure, "life satisfaction", as an overall assessment of well-being. The science of "happiness" is now rich and deep, but only in the last few years have those studying it felt confident enough to significantly turn their attention to proposing concrete government policies.

Recently back from the Global Dialogue on Happiness at the World Government Summit, Chris Barrington-Leigh, Associate Professor at McGill University’s Institute for Health and Social Policy and the McGill School of Environment, will discuss his recent work and the move towards a world in which policy is accountable to human-centred outcomes.

Please join the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy and the Max Bell School of Public Policy in celebrating the International Day of Happiness with this discussion led by Chris Barrington-Leigh.

Watch the video.


14 Adam Cureton - "Expressing Respect for People with Disabilities in Clinical Settings"

A brief abstract: All too often, the medical community treats people with disabilities in insulting, offensive and demeaning ways. Medical staff often express disrespectful attitudes about disabled people through the meanings attached to the environments they create, the policies they maintain and the manner in which they interact with disabled patients. People with disabilities deserve to be treated justly, humanely and respectfully in clinical settings, but we also deserve to be shown respect in those contexts as well. The aim of this presentation is to explore, interpret and assess these ideas by, first, describing a general way of thinking about respect, disrespect and expressions of those attitudes, second, using this model to explain how medical staff in clinical settings might express disrespectful attitudes about people with disabilities and, third, suggesting some measures they can take to avoid or counteract those messages and to show disabled people positive signs of respect in clinical contexts.



5 Daniel Béland - "Older and Wiser? Reflections on the Past and Future of Canada's Public Pension System"

 2018 Special Event