Mary Ellen Macdonald

Mary Ellen Macdonald, PhD
Assistant Professor, Oral Health and Society, Faculty of Dentistry
Program Head - Research, Programs in Pediatric Palliative Care, Montreal Children's Hospital
mary.macdonald [at] (Email)


Mary Ellen Macdonald is a medical anthropologist with postdoctoral training in Pediatric Palliative Care. Her research in palliative care focuses on family bereavement after the death of a child. Her recent work includes a gender analysis of pediatric palliative care research, a systematic review of family bereavement, a national survey of bereavement services, and a socio-cultural analysis of child death. She is also currently involved in medical education research, and research involving cultural aspects of health and illness with Aboriginal communities in Montreal and Northern Quebec.

Selected Publications

Allen D, Badro V, Denyer-Willis L, Macdonald ME, Paré A, Hutchinson T, Barré P, Beauchemin R, Bocti H, Broadbent A, Cohen SR.  Fragmented care and whole-person illness:  Decision-making for people with chronic end-stage kidney disease.  Chronic Illn. 2014 Dec 3. (Epub ahead of print)

Macdonald ME, Bathory LW, Shenker H, Weiler H, Berry M, Sharma A, Rodd C. Understanding healthy pregnancies:  the perspective of Inuit midwives in northwestern Quebec.  Can J Rural Med. 2014 Fall;19(4):128-33.

Macdonald ME, Kennedy K, Moll S, Pineda C, Mitchell LM, Stephenson PH, Cadell S. Excluding parental grief:  a critical discourse analysis of bereavement accommodation in Canadian labour standards.  Work. 2014 Sept 23 (Epub ahead of print).

Bell E, Racine E, Chiasson P, Dufourcq-Brana M, Dunn LB, Fins JJ, Ford PJ, Glannon W, Lipsman N, Macdonald ME, Mathews DJ, McAndrews MP. Beyond consent in research. Revisiting vulnerability in deep brain stimulation for psychiatric disorders.  Camb Q Health Ethics. 2014 Jul;23(3):361-8.

Boudreau JD, Macdonald ME, Steinert Y. Affirming professional identities through an apprenticeship:  insights from a four-year longitudinal case study. Acad Med. 2014 Jul;89(7):1038-45.

Wright DK, Brajtman S, Macdonald ME. A relational ethical approach to end-of-life delirium. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2014 Aug;48(2):191-8.

Stephenson P, Mitchell LM, Cadell S, Macdonald M. Virtual Memorials and the Social Lives of Dead Children. Health Sociology Review 2013, 21(4):413-431

Affleck W, Glass K, Macdonald ME. The Limitations of Language: Male Participants, Stoicism, and the Qualitative Research Interview, American Journal of Men’s Health, 2013, 7(2):155-62.

Macdonald ME, Liben S, Carnevale FA, Cohen SR. An Office or Bedroom? A Disconnect between family culture and professional culture in the PICU. Journal of Child Health Care 2012;16(3):237–249.

Campbell A, Macdonald ME, Jackson S, Carnevale M, Collin-Vézina C, Carnevale F. Child citizenship and agency as shaped by legal obligations. Child and Family Law Quarterly 2011;23(4):489-512). Available at SSRN:

Jagosh J, Boudreau, DJ Steinert, Y, Macdonald ME, Ingram L. The Importance of Physician Listening from the Patients` Perspective: Enhancing Diagnosis, Healing, and the Doctor-Patient Relationship. Journal of Patient Education and Counseling 2011:85(3):369-74.

Macdonald ME, Chilibeck C, Affleck W, and Cadell S. Gender Imbalance in Pediatric Palliative Care Research Samples, Palliative Medicine 2010, 24 (4) 435-444.

Macdonald ME, Rigillo N, and Brassard P. Urban Aboriginal Understandings and Experiences of Tuberculosis, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Qualitative Health Research 2010, 20(4): 506–523.

Lambert SD, Loiselle CG, and Macdonald ME. An in-depth exploration of information-seeking behavior in patients with cancer. Part 1: Understanding differential patterns of active information-seeking. Cancer Nursing, 2009, 32(1): 11-23.

Lambert SD, Loiselle CG, and Macdonald ME. An in-depth exploration of information-seeking behavior in patients with cancer. Part 2: Patterns of information avoidance and disinterest. Cancer Nursing, 2009, 32(1): 26-36.

Chan L, Macdonald ME, and Cohen SR. Moving culture beyond ethnicity: Examining dying in hospital through a cultural lens. Journal of Palliative Care, 2009, 25(2): 177-124.

Carnevale FA, Macdonald ME, Bluebond-Langner M, and McKeever P. Participant Observation in Pediatric Health Care Settings: Recommendations for Conducting Ethical Research. Journal of Child Health Care, 2008, 12(1): 18-32.

Macdonald ME, Liben S, Carnevale FA, and Cohen SR. Signs of Life and Signs of Death: Brain Death and Other Mixed Messages at the End-Of-Life. Journal of Child Health Care 2008 12(2):93-106.

Macdonald ME, and Carnevale FA. Qualitative Health Research and the IRB: Answering the "So What?" with Qualitative Inquiry. J Academic Ethics, 2008, 6: 1-5.

Boudreau DJ, Jagosh J, Slee R, Macdonald ME, and Steinert Y. Patient perspectives on physicians’ roles: Implications for Curricular Reform. Academic Medicine, 2008, 83(8): 744-753.

Macdonald ME, and Murray MA. The Appropriateness of Appropriate?: Smuggling Values into Clinical Practice. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research (Special Issue: Ethics, Values, and Decision-Making), 2007, 39(4): 58-73

Macdonald ME, Carnevale FA, and Razack S. Understanding What Residents Want and What Residents Need: The Challenge of Cultural Training in Pediatrics. Medical Teacher, 2007, 29(5): 464–471.

Macdonald ME, Liben S, and Cohen SR. Truth and Consequences: Parental Perspectives on Autopsy after the Death of a Child. Pediatric Intensive Care Nursing, 2006, 7(1): 6-15.

Macdonald ME, Liben S, Carnevale FA, Rennick JE, Wolf SL, Meloche D, and Cohen SR. Parental Perspectives on Hospital Staff Acts of Kindness and Commemoration after a Child's Death. Pediatrics, 2005, 116(4): 884-890.


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