Keynote Speaker

What revolution? Public health and the push to personalize

Timothy Caulfield, LLM, FRSC, FCAHS

Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy
Professor, Faculty of Law and School of Public Health, University of Alberta
Research Director, Health Law Institute, University of Alberta

The idea that we are in the midst of a genetic revolution has been with us for decades. The latest iteration of this promise of paradigm-shifting transformation comes in the guise of "personalized medicine" - which, we are consistently told, will revolutionize our healthcare system and reduce the burden of chronic disease.It has also been suggested it will result in less iatrogenic injuries and a reduction of healthcare costs.

But can personalized medicine live up to the hype? Will it result in healthier Canadians?

In this presentation Caulfield critiqued the promises associated with this biomedical "revolution" and the broader social trend to personalize everything from our diets to our exercise to the wine we drink.

Timothy Caulfield's interdisciplinary research on topics such as stem cells, genetics, research ethics, the public representations of science and health policy issues has allowed him to publish more than 350 academic articles. Caulfield has won numerous academic and writing awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

He contributes frequently to the popular press and is the author of two national bestsellers: The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash. His most recent book is The Vaccination Picture.

Caulfield is also the host and co-producer of the award winning documentary TV show, A User's Guide to Cheating Death, which is currently streaming on Netflix.