Interprofessional Health Law Conference at UofT

The medical and law students at UofT collaborated recently to hold the First Annual Interprofessional Health Law Conference.

The health sector is already a significant portion of the governmental budget, comprises a major element of today’s economy, and is relatively recession proof. Legal issues in this growing area will inevitably be part of the portfolio for the lawyer of tomorrow.

The keynote speakers for the event were Dr. Sarita Verma, Deputy Dean of Graduate Postgraduate education at UofT Medicine, and Elyse Sunshine of the Health Law group at Gardiner Roberts.

Dr. Verta explained the role that various stakeholders play in the development of health policy, while Elyse Sunshine spoke on how various legislation affected health care professionals.

The conference also featured three panels that focused on specific topics.

The Euthanasia and Policy Theme included Bob Parke, Trudo Lemmens, Hugh Sher, and Dianne Williams. Each explained how different values and beliefs informed the dialogue on euthanasia.

The second panel on Harm Reduction featured Carolyn Bennett, Shaun Hopkins, Richard Elliot and Eugene Oscapella. There was unanimous and non-partisan condemnation by the panel of the Federal government’s position on injection sites, including the Insite program in Vancouver. These programs have been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the government’s criticism of them have put them at odds with both the international community and the health care professoinals who endorse it based on the evidence.

The final panel discussed Reproductive Rights with Bernard Dickens, Sherry Dale, Kimberly Liu and Shawn Winsor. The science and the law behind techniques like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) was reviewed.

The conference was a great success, and the students will likely repeat the event in the following year. Legal practitioners, however, were conspicuously absent from the crowd, and hopefully that will be different the next time around.

More detail notes on the speakers can be found on my posts at Law is Cool.

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