Jennifer A.H. Bell, MA, PhD

Assistant Professor

Position: Senior Bioethicist and Director of Bioethics Research, Department of Clinical and Organizational Ethics, University Health Network

Research Scientist, Department of Supportive Care, Research Division, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network,

Director, Just Can Ethics Lab

SGS Status: Associate Member
Primary Graduate Appointment: Consultation-Liaison Division, Department of Psychiatry
Graduate Appointment(s): Clinical Public Health Division, Dalla Lana School of Population Health
Program: Master of Health Science in Bioethics / CSB
Primary Teaching Responsibilities: PHL2146Y – Topics in Bioethics

If CSB Faculty Associate - Available to Supervise CSB Students (Y/N): Y

Research Interests
  1. Ethics and supportive decision making in health care
  2. Ethics of novel therapeutics and technology
  3. Justice and equity in health care
  4. Ethical priority-setting and deliberative democratic engagement
  5. Normative and empirical bioethics research, including mixed methods, qualitative methodologies, and feminist bioethics
  6. Practicing health care ethicist consultation and professionalization

Jennifer’s program of research addresses emergent ethical issues at the frontier of cancer care. Innovative discovery, precision medicine, and breakthrough therapies are fast emerging as sources of hope for people with cancer. The use of artificial intelligence to support highly personalized therapies further promises to revolutionize cancer care. These groundbreaking advances raise significant ethical issues that health systems, professionals, patients, and caregivers must navigate, such as ensuring equitable access, safeguarding patients from known and potential harms, and avoiding bias and discrimination. Her work bridges normative bioethical theory and clinical practice, research, education, and policy at the national and international level. Her research partnerships include collaboration with the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance, 3CTN, and BioCanRx. Jennifer was the first bioethicist to serve as a voting member on the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review Expert Review Committee, where she brought attention to ethical issues associated with very expensive and highly targeted cancer therapies. Recently she published a perspective in the journal Blood, detailing an ethical approach for equitable allocation of limited cell therapy cancer treatment. She is currently leading a 4-year national study jointly funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Genome Canada exploring public perspectives on the ethics and social accountability of next generation cell and gene cancer therapies in Canada.

Education & Training History


  • PhD, Interdisciplinary Studies (Bioethics), University of British Columbia
  • MA, Philosophy (specialization in Bioethics), McGill University
  • BA (First Class Honours), Philosophy (specialization in Bioethics), University of Toronto


  • Strategic Training Fellow, Psychosocial Oncology Research Training Program (PORT): Canadian Institutes of Health Research and National Cancer Institute of Canada
  • Doctoral Fellow, Ethics of Health Research and Policy Training Program: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Ethics Fellow, Providence Health Care/University of British Columbia
  • Fellow in Clinical and Organizational Ethics, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics
Honours & Awards
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Cancer Research – New Investigator Award in Psychosocial Oncology, presented by the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology
Other Affiliations:
  • Education Investigator 2, The Institute for Education Research (TIER), University Health Network
  • Research Adjunct Professor, Michener Institute for Education, University Health Network