Michael van Manen


Michael van Manen, MD, PhD, FRCPC(Peds,NICU,CIP) Endowed Chair in Health Ethics is the Director of the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Michael also has a clinical practice as a physician in neonatal-perinatal medicine with the Stollery Children’s Hospital. His research is primarily concerned with relational ethics, situated within the tradition of phenomenology. Michael is considered an international expert in qualitative health research. His research projects relate to ethical decision-making, the experiential life of the fetus/newborn, the use of medical technologies in clinical encounters, and patient-family experiences of hospital care. 

Research Program

Relational Ethics and Technology in Pediatrics

Scope of Work

When we speak of ethics in medicine, we tend to think of the moral correctness of certain actions and decisions. From an ethical perspective we may question whether a medical intervention is appropriate, or if to continue a particular treatment is good practice. Ethics, however, is more than a discipline dealing with what is good or bad decisions and actions. Ethics is founded in our relationships with others, originating from a questioning concern for whom or what is "other" to ourselves.

My research program attends to the relational ethics of the practice of pediatrics-which we may call "pedagogy." Essentially, the pedagogy of pediatrics is concerned with the question, how ought we to care for this child? But this ethical-medical question is complicated by the fact that the child's mother and/or father are also givers and receivers of the pedagogy of care.

Pediatric pedagogy and pediatric technology are intimately related as the use of technologies by and with children is wrought with ethical and often moral issues. In medical care, technologies may affect or compromise the relation between adult and child, impacting the way the adult (parent or health practitioner) experiences and responds to the child. Modern technologies also offer novel possibilities for children: facilitating and shaping their social interactions with others and creating new opportunities for action. This research program explores how the uses of medical technologies require of the pediatric practitioner to recognize and deal with pedagogical issues. Research Projects >>