Mission Statement:

The John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre endeavours to promote ethical engagement, mutual respect and critical reflection on matters of moral concern in health care. We aim for excellence in four interdependent domains of activity: interdisciplinary scholarship, clinical ethics, health policy consultation, and professional and public bioethics education. Compassion and social justice are cross-cutting themes in all that we do.


What We Do:

The John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre serves the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and the health related faculties at the University of Alberta in the area of health ethics. We reach out to scholars, students, health care practitioners, clinical ethics committee members, health care administrators, patients and their families, media and the general public. The Dossetor Centre annually hosts a health ethics seminar series, issues in health ethics series, symposium, and grand rounds, as well as publishes the newsletter, Health Ethics Today. Faculty members of the Dossetor Centre offer graduate courses in healthcare ethics to students in health science faculties. In addition, the Centre's faculty investigate health ethics research areas in clinical practice, compassion, disability ethics, human rights, mental health, moral distress, relational ethics, and neonatology-perinatology. The Centre also supports the Clinical Ethicist and Clinical Ethics Committee for the University of Alberta and Stollery Children's Hospital and the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute.


Early Days:

The Early Days of the Bioethics Project at the U. of Alberta, 1985
A letter from John B. Dossetor, OC, BM, BCh, PhD, FRCPC
As a medical student, in the U.K. in the 1940s-50s, (at Oxford University and St Bartholomew's Hosp. Med. Sch., and later at the Hammersmith Royal Post-Grad. Med. Sch.), medical ethics was not taught or discussed. The tacit understanding was that "the Chief knew best". (!)

My awareness of ethical decisions making probably was provoked by the decisions which had to be made during the early days of hemodialysis and, later, transplantation of kidneys (after becoming one of the early Canadian 'nephrologists' at McGill in the 1960s. This awareness developed further at the U. of Alberta, in the 30 year period that I was at that great institution, initially as director of Nephrology and Immunology and co-director of the MRC Group in Transplantation Research, in the F of M-D …. But I look upon the following instance as one of the more important factors in making me want to devote the last part of my career to medical ethics - or, rather, -- Multi-Disciplinary Heath Care Ethics involving all The Health Care Professions, including Law. Read More ▶


Recent History:

In 1998 the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre came under the aegis of the Health Sciences Council with the Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry serving as the Centre's Lead Dean. In 2010 the Centre was incorporated into the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta.



Annual Reports: