Faculty of Law congratulates HLI Research Associate Maeghan Toews on being awarded CBS James Kreppner Fellowship in Blood System Studies

Katherine Thompson - 09 July 2014

The University of Alberta's Faculty of Law and Health Law Institute (HLI) would like to offer their warmest congratulations to HLI Research Associate Maeghan Toews, on recently being awarded a prestigious Canadian Blood Services James Kreppner Fellowship in Blood System Studies, for her project Legal and Policy Strategies to Optimize Organ Donation in Alberta.

HLI Executive Director Robyn Hyde-Lay offered congratulations from all at HLI to their colleague Research Associate Maeghan Toews, stating that, "this prestigious award for $150K will allow Maeghan to work closely with a number of provincial and national policymakers, a number of whom supported her application, over the next two years."

The need to increase organ donation in Canada has been recognized by Canadian Blood Services in its organ donation and transplantation system priorities. Canada's deceased organ donor rate is very low compared to the best performing countries, and this is particularly true in Alberta where organ and tissue donation has decreased by almost 40% over the last ten years.

The overall goal of the proposed research is therefore to critically examine Alberta's existing legal and policy frameworks and identify directions for reform to optimize organ donation. Specifically, legal and policy tools will be developed to:

  1. increase the number of registered donors in Alberta through the use of incentive policies,

  2. ensure individuals' consent to donate is given effect and is not overridden by the wishes of family members, and

  3. broaden the number of potential organs for donation through increased use of donation after cardio-circulatory death.

"I am very excited to receive the James Kreppner Fellowship, which will allow me to pursue research developing legal and policy strategies to increase organ donation in Alberta and the rest of Canada," proclaimed Maeghan Toews when asked for her reaction to being awarded the prestigious CBS fellowship. "This is an important issue as there is currently a disparity between the number of people on organ transplantation wait lists and the number of organs available for transplantation. I very much look forward to working closely with Canadian Blood Services, the Canadian National Transplant Research Program team and others in the field to contribute to the valuable work being done to address this issue and to optimize organ donation in Canada."

This research will provide a great opportunity to build on the work being done on organ donation and transplantation issues by Canadian Blood Services and the Health Law Institute whose Research Director, and health law and policy expert at the Faculty of Law, Timothy Caulfield, serves as a Principal Investigator of the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP).

As newly appointed Dean of the Faculty of Law, Paul Paton, notes:

"We're so proud of Maeghan for securing this award, which will provide critical support for her research. The Faculty's mission includes educating those seeking a deeper understanding of the law and its impact, and providing service to the province and to Canadian society. Maeghan's project is yet another terrific illustration of the important research being undertaken at the Faculty and in the Health Law Institute at the intersection of law and policy that accomplishes both goals and that will contribute directly to the life of the province and to Canada. What wonderful energy is here - congratulations!"