JCB Visiting Scholar Profile: Solomon Benatar

Solly Benatar

Name: Solomon (Solly) Benatar
Visiting From: Cape Town, South Africa
Period at JCB: April-July 2016


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work history:


Having started my medical career as a GP, I then trained in Anaesthetics and in Internal Medicine with a special interest in lung diseases. After many decades of clinical medical practice, including 19 years as Professor and Head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, my interests expanded to include Bioethics, Health Systems, Human Rights and Population Health. During my 20 years as Founding Director of the UCT Bioethics Centre I was the Director of a Fogarty International Center funded programme on International Research Ethics in Southern Africa (IRENSA), served a term as President of the International Association of Bioethics and was the International member of the CIHR Standing Committee on Ethics for 7 years. I have been an invited teacher (MHSc in Bioethics), researcher and mentor at the University of Toronto every year since 2000, and have worked with Canadian colleagues on many projects of mutual interest. My publications cover a wide range of academic topics with an increasing focus on global health over the past 20 years. "Global Health and Global Health Ethics" co-edited with Gillian Brock, a New Zealand philosopher, was published by CUP in 2011.


What will you be doing or working on during your visit to the JCB?


I shall continue working (as the JCB/DLSPH designated leader) on developing a new concentration course on Public Health Ethics and Global Health Ethics for a revised MHSc in Bioethics. With colleagues at the IHPME in the DLSPH, I shall be working on a comparison of health care in South Africa and Canada with a view to seeking methods of improving equity and sustainability in these very different countries. I shall be speaking at the Farwell Tribute to Professor Denis Daneman at the Hospital for Sick Children and participating with him in his teaching swansong, giving several invited lectures in Canada and continuing with my research and writing on global health issues. Other activities will include continuing with my work on the Bioethics sub-committee of the US White House ASCP project on early cancer diagnosis and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa and on a collaborative South African MRC/Swedish FORTE project on sustainability of equitable health care systems in a globalizing world. I anticipate taking on some additional work by request, as often happens during my visits.


What made you want to come to the JCB to do the work?


I have had a satisfying and academically productive association with the University of Toronto for almost two decades and I enjoy working with JCB and DLSPH colleagues. I am grateful for the privilege of this long-standing academic relationship – and in particular for my new leadership role in Public Health and Global Health Ethics his year. The JCB has a fine record of achievement over the past 20 years and I am delighted to continue participating in its growth and development.


Is there anything that you're looking forward to doing in Toronto (for example any places you want to visit, or food you want to try)?


Living in Toronto for several months each year for so many years has made this a second home for my wife Evelyn and I. In addition to my academic activities, we enjoy seeing many long-standing friends, making new friends, and participating in the rich cultural activities of this cosmopolitan city.


Thanks, Solly! We're very pleased to have you back visiting the JCB.


If you would like to get in touch with Solly, please email him at