Q&A: University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics joins the Dalla Lana School of Public Health


On July 1, 2015, the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB) will join the Dalla Lana School of Public Health as its new home faculty. The School achieved Faculty status at U of T on July 1, 2013. Students, faculty, staff and partners can refer to this Q&A to address transition questions.


If you have any outstanding inquiries, please contact: Nicole Bodnar, Director of Communications, Dalla Lana School of Public Health.


Why make the move from Medicine to Public Health?


The JCB has strong collaborative relationships with the School, including the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation (which transitioned into the School on July 1, 2014) based on a shared commitment to improving health, health systems, and health care through interdisciplinary and inter-professional research, education, and practice.


The DLSPH offers a natural academic home for the breadth of the JCB's scholarship and practice, which spans clinical ethics, organizational ethics, health system and policy ethics, research ethics, public health ethics, and global health ethics. In addition, the JCB's transition from the Faculty of Medicine into the DLSPH reflects the evolution of bioethics as a field that is expanding its scope to address both upstream health system factors — including the social determinants of health — and downstream implications on patient care and population health.


Together, DLSPH and JCB bring a wide range of health and ethics expertise to promote health at both population and individual health levels by creating a bridge across public health and healthcare. The Faculty of Medicine and its clinical departments will remain a key strategic partner and academic collaborator in advancing bioethics at the University and through U of T- affiliated health institutions.


Will there be any governing structure changes in JCB?


JCB will remain an Extra-Departmental Unit Type C (EDU-C) with its own Director reporting to the Dean of the DLSPH. The JCB will retain its current executive committee structure with membership from its academic and health sector partners. The academic programs with which the JCB is most closely associated will continue to be offered with DLSPH as the lead faculty for all academic programming. These include:

  • Master of Health Science (MHSc) in Bioethics Program
  • Collaborative Program in Bioethics (CPB)
  • Undergraduate Course Development Fund (UCDF) courses
  • JCB Fellowship in Clinical and Organizational Bioethics

What impact will the transition have on students?


The transition will be virtually seamless for students enrolled in the MHSc Program in Bioethics, the Collaborative Program, and UCDF courses. For students enrolled in the MHSc in Bioethics, their transcripts will change in that the graduate departmental affiliation noted will change from Institute of Medical Science (IMS) to Public Health Sciences. The MHSc students actively enrolled at the time the transfer occurs will have the option of specifying IMS or Public Health Sciences as their graduate home unit on their transcripts. For students in the Collaborative Doctoral Program in Bioethics or the UCDF courses, there will be no impact and nothing will change on their transcripts.


What does this transition mean for affiliated faculty?


As an EDU-C, the JCB does not hold faculty appointments. The transfer will have no impact on faculty members associated with the Collaborative Program in Bioethics or UCDF courses. The MHSc in Bioethics Program was transferred into the DLSPH effective May 1, 2015. All course (co-) directors who do not already have a DLSPH academic and graduate appointment are being engaged in a process to obtain such an appointment.


What will happen to JCB's partnerships across U of T and its affiliated health institutions?


The JCB will maintain relationships with its 10 affiliated academic units at the University of Toronto and its partnerships with affiliated healthcare institutions. The transition into the DLSPH also provides an opportunity to forge even stronger links with healthcare institutions in Toronto Academic Health Science Network and other health organizations to support real-world impact on health, health systems and healthcare locally and globally.