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University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics joins the Dalla Lana School of Public Health

June 30/2015

On July 1, 2015, the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB) will join the Dalla Lana School of Public Health as its new home faculty. This transition from the Faculty of Medicine into the School reflects the evolution of bioethics as a field that is expanding its scope to address both upstream social determinants of health — such as income and gender — and downstream implications on patient care, health policies and population health.

“We are building the future together with the JCB and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation by creating bridges between public health and health care through scholarship and partnership within a shared vision of improving and promoting health,” said Howard Hu, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

“The JCB has longstanding academic collaborations with public health at U of T and our partnership is maturing at a crucial moment in time when health systems are facing are challenges that are both practical and ethical,” Hu continued, who is also a Professor of Global Health, Epidemiology and Environmental Health.

The JCB — which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in December 2015 — is one of the world’s leading bioethics centres, recognized for its contributions in healthcare, research, global and public health ethics. It’s a network of more than 180 interdisciplinary scholars and professionals across the University of Toronto and its affiliated healthcare institutions as well as continuing linkages to graduates nationally and internationally.

The JCB’s affiliated faculty, students, ethics practitioners and scholars, and alumni are making significant contributions toward tackling complex health system challenges, such as Ebola, on which the JCB operated both provincially (advising the Ministry of Health on preparedness planning) and internationally (participating in the World Health Organization response).  JCB members have also made significant contributions in ethics related to end of life care, priority setting, new technologies and increasingly in the area of primary and community care ethics.

“Health systems face complex challenges locally and globally. These challenges demand new ways of thinking and new approaches to tackling them. We have a moral imperative to work through these challenges together towards the greater goal of improving health,” said Jennifer Gibson, JCB Director and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Bioethics at U of T.

“At the JCB, we are not afraid of the ethical complexity of these challenges, and we will leverage the School’s combined strengths to tackle big challenges in health, like health system integration, big data, chronic disease, epidemics, and the globalization of health,” continued Gibson, who is also an Associate Professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, which joined the Dalla Lana School of Public Health in July 2014.

Gibson and Hu agree that by joining forces, the JCB and the DLSPH have the right mix of scholars and practitioners wearing ethics, clinical and population health hats.

“The School is really starting to coalesce around these strengths. Now is the time to have a lasting, positive impact on health,” said Professor Gibson.

Click here to read a Q&A about JCB’s Transition and how it will impact faculty and students.