Biomedical Ethics, Law, Health and Social Policy at McGill University

McGill University hosts a number of research teams and organizations interested in biomedical ethics, law, health and social policy. As issues in these fields continue to emerge, the Biomedical Ethics Unit, the Centre of Genomics and Policy, the Public Population Project in Genomics and Society and the Research Group on Health and Law conduct and support world-class research through collaborative, multidisciplinary endeavors. These are coupled with training and knowledge dissemination activities.

Below is a brief description of the research teams and organizations interested in biomedical ethics, law, health and social policy at McGill University. 


Biomedical Ethics Unit

The Biomedical Ethics Unit of McGill University, Montreal, was established in 1996 with the aim of supporting scholarly research, clinical services, teaching and public outreach. Members of the unit have backgrounds in law, sociology, molecular genetics, history, medicine, and philosophy with cross-appointments in Social Studies of Medicine, Family Medicine, Experimental Medicine, Human Genetics, Sociology, and the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health.


Centre of Genomics and Policy

Located within the Genome Quebec Innovation Centre at McGill University, the Centre of Genomics and Policy (CGP) works at the crossroads of law, medicine, and public policy. Applying a multidisciplinary perspective and collaborating with national and international partners, the CGP analyzes the socio-ethical and legal norms influencing the promotion, prevention and protection of human health.

Currently, the CGP’s research covers six areas of genomics and policy: stem cell research and therapies, pediatrics, privacy, cancer, intellectual property, and biobanks (population genetics). These domains are approached using three guiding foundations: internationalization, policy development and knowledge transfer. First, CGP promotes internationalization by undertaking comparative analyses of policies and guidelines around the world. Secondly, CGP actively participates in the creation of international consortia with a view to promoting multidisciplinary policymaking. Finally, via the HumGen law and policy database, the CGP promotes knowledge transfer.


Institute of Health and Social Policy

The Institute for Health and Social Policy occupies a central role at McGill University as a multidisciplinary centre for research, training and knowledge mobilization on issues of health and social policy. The IHSP conducts and supports world-class research on how social conditions impact the health, well-being and resilience of people and communities, and leads programs designed to translate research findings into policies and programs on local, provincial, national and global scales. The Institute is committed to building collaborations with policymakers, communities and researchers to effectively move evidence to policy.


Public Population Project in Genomics and Society

The Public Population Project in Genomics and Society (P3G) is a not-for-profit consortium that provides the international research community with access to the expertise, resources and innovative tools for health and social sciences research. P3G works with researchers from around the world to:

Encourage collaboration between researchers and biobankers;
Promote harmonization of data;
Optimize the design, set-up and research activities of studies, biobanks, research databases and other similar health and social research infrastructures;
Facilitate the transfer of knowledge and provide training.

P3G brings the genomics and health research community together via conferences summer schools as well as online tools. Principles of transparency and collaboration are integral to the P3G approach.


Research Group on Health and Law

The McGill Research Group on Health and Law is a research network that seeks to foster the sharing of scholarship and ideas among professors and students, and encourages collaborative work on health-related issues.

It also seeks to build interdisciplinary bridges across the University with colleagues working on health-related topics.

Finally, it aims to provide students with a breadth of opportunities for pursuing intellectual endeavours in the field of health law through course work, independent research, graduate studies, or extra-curricular engagements.