Helping Bio-ethicists Make a Difference
It’s a paradox that bioethicists are often viewed as either standing in the way of scientific progress or as uncritical cheerleaders for science. This situation has limited the potential contributions of bioethicists to ethical policy-making.
Dr. Françoise Baylis, Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy, is developing new strategies that would allow bioethicists to make just and lasting policy contributions. She is testing the impact of these strategies on public policy challenges such as research involving humans, women’s health, public health, pandemic planning, novel technologies and access to health care.
Baylis believes bioethicists need to take on greater advocacy roles and use their talents and expertise in pursuit of social justice. They need to exercise their moral imagination and find creative ways to make the powerful care about matters of fairness. That’s why she is developing strategies for bioethicists that are sensitive to real world policy-making and politics.
Baylis is also developing effective means to engage people whose interests and voices have traditionally been marginalized in policy discussions. She aims to help bioethicists create welcoming places for meaningful ethics discourse beyond select interest groups. Baylis is doing this by exploring the role of bioethicists in creating spaces for deliberation and discussion. In addition, she is conducting a critical review of the ethical strategies used to address past and emerging ethical issues, and is assessing the opportunities and barriers to meaningful participation by Canadians in policy-making.
Baylis’ research will help decision-makers develop and implement ethically sound policies and programs.