Queen's University

Queen's Philosophy prof to head international end-of-life panel

 
2009-10-27

Queen's Philosophy professor Udo Schuklenk has been selected to head a prestigious new international panel on "End-of-Life Decision Making" in Canada.

Appointed by the Royal Society of Canada, the expert panel will investigate key aspects of this critical issue - including voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide - and prepare a public report.

"It is extremely gratifying that a member of the Queen's community has been selected not only as an expert, but as the chair of a committee informing decision-making on issues of such great public importance," says Vice-Principal (Research) Kerry Rowe.

"This is one the most serious social and ethical issues facing all advanced countries today," says Dr. Schuklenk, who holds the Ontario Research Chair in Bioethics. "It is important that information be presented to the public in a balanced, thorough, and informed way. A Royal Society of Canada expert panel report could make a significant contribution to the public policy debate on this issue."

A world leader in the study of health care ethics related to policy, Dr. Schuklenk was appointed the first of eight new Ontario Research Chairs in Public Policy in 2007 as part of a $25-million provincial government initiative to address key policy issues. He is currently Joint Editor in Chief of the international journal Bioethics, and founding editor of Developing World Bioethics.

Other members of the expert panel include: Johannes van Delden, Chair of the Ethical Commission of the Medical Council of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; Jocelyn Downie, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at Dalhousie University; Sheila McLean, International Bar Association Chair of Law and Ethics in Medicine at Glasgow University; Ross Upshur, Canada Research Chair in Primary Care Research at U of T; and Daniel Weinstock, Canada Research Chair in Ethics and Philosophy at theUniversity of Montreal.

The end-of-life decision-making project is one of a new series that the Royal Society has commissioned on issues of significant public interest and importance. The panel's report is expected to be released in the spring of 2011.

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