Ethics in Health

Ethics in Health was the fourth installation of Ethics for UBC, a five-part speaker series to explore the current landscape of ethics scholarship and education across the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses of our university.

This panel discussion focused on ethics across a variety of disciplines, spanning kinesiology and the exercise sciences, neuroethics, and medicine.

Date: Apr 27, 2022
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM PDT

For more information about the other Ethics for UBC sessions, please visit:

Welcome by: Michael Allard, MD; Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine; Vice-Dean, Health and Engagement, University of British Columbia

Moderated by: Quinn Boyle, MSc; PhD Candidate, Experimental Medicine; Neuroethics Canada, University of British Columbia


  • Paul van Donkelaar, PhD; Professor, School of Health and Exercise Sciences; Office of the Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation, University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus
  • Heather Gainforth, PhD; Associate Professor, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus
  • Judy Illes, CM, PhD; Professor, Faculty of Medicine; Director, Neuroethics Canada, University of British Columbia
  • Anita Palepu, MD, MPH, FRCPC, MACP; Professor and Eric W. Hamber Chair, Head, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Break-out Sessions Highlights:

Break-out session with Dr. Paul van Donkelaar:

      • Importance of bridging the gaps between the medical and legal systems to facilitate communication and prevent the legal weaponization of medical information.
      • Value of an integrated knowledge translation approach to inform best practices and policy in the context of gender-based violence.
      • There is a movement toward viewing traumatic brain injury outside of the sports space and through the lens of gender-based violence against women.

Break-out session with Dr. Heather Gainforth:

      • To avoid tokenism and graduate school, collaborate with faculty and other researchers with existing partnerships, and do not force partnerships in cases where it is not appropriate
      • There is an emotional toll when empathizing with participant partners in research. It is important to explore your positionally, set boundaries and practice reflexivity.

Break-out session with Dr. Judy Illes:

      • The ethics of measuring brain signals in people with communication disorders is as or more important than the research on how to measure brain signals
      • People trained in healthcare can make a positive impact by looking at issues of equitable access
      • The importance of professional societies in monitoring and managing professional behaviour among its members

Break-out session with Dr. Anita Palepu:

      • A conflict exists around patient consent and administrative restrictions in regards to participant data sharing amongst research projects and teams. Further inquiry is needed to understand the risk and benefits of participant data sharing in medicine.
      • Those disobeying medical advice often have layers of trauma that inform their decision-making. To mitigate this, relationship building must be centred to build common trust.
      • Avoiding antagonistic reactions is of utmost importance in these contexts.

Recommended Resource Materials:

  • Neuroethics Canada Global Impact Report (link)
  • Spinal Cord Injury IKT Guiding Principles (link)
  • Dare to Lead, Brené Brown (link)
  • Podcasts by Brené Brown (link)
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman (link)
  • Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom (link)
  • Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women, Kate Manne (link)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot (link)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (film) (link)