Upcoming Events

The Pragmatic Health Ethics Research Unit hosts and delivers a variety of events including, but not limited to, seminars, workshops, conferences, and guest lectures. Please explore our upcoming events below.


Shared Decision Making in Political and Social Context

July 11th, 2019 – 12 PM @ the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal (110 avenue des Pins Ouest), André-Barbeau Room

by Dr. Zack Berger, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Shared decision making (SDM) has been characterized as an ethical desideratum in the redesign of health care systems, further establishing respect for the patient as an individual as fundamental to patient-clinician interactions.  Yet SDM makes implicit political claims, which require evaluation in the local contexts where SDM is applied.  For instance, in one common formulation, SDM involves a) a scientifically expert clinician and patient deliberating together regarding b) a decision with equally valid options according to objective criteria (equipoise) so that c) the option chosen conforms with the patient’s clarified values and preferences. In this formulation, patient and clinician meet for an interchange of information, beliefs, and emotions as atomized individuals operating in an unstructured, apolitical encounter. Excluded from this model, however, are considerations of power (how clinicians in dialogue with biomedicine, state, and society decide what counts as “equipoise,” and how their options as independent actors are constrained by a political-social milieu) and independent agency (what it means when patients, at various degrees of disadvantage, are assigned the burden, or opportunity, of “choice”).