Associate Researcher, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
Chair and Ethics Consultant, Research Ethics Committee, Jewish General Hospital
Dr. Carolyn Ells is an Associate Researcher at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Chair and Ethics Consultant of the Research Ethics Committee at the Jewish General Hospital, and Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Member of the Division of Experimental Medicine at McGill University.
The overarching objective of her research is to contribute to those efforts that shape and support ethical processes and policies in hospitals and other healthcare delivery organizations. This work assists boards, executives, managers, healthcare professionals, and others to develop and sustain a climate in which the values that should guide their conduct actually do so. Sub-themes include autonomy and chronic impairment, the therapeutic relationship, the process of research ethics review, and feminist ethical theory.
Her publications and policy analyses in the area of research ethics review have been used by policy makers in recommending revisions to normative texts, including the Declaration of Helsinki by the World Medical Association; the Tri-Council Policy Statement for Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans by the Social Sciences and Humanities Working Committee of the Panel on Research Ethics; and the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Consent Task Force.
Dr. Ells is currently serving a two-year term as Co-Coordinator for the International Network of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics. She is on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, and reviews manuscripts for several journals.
Major Research Activities
Dr. Ells’ research addresses topics in organizational ethics, clinical ethics, autonomy and chronic impairment, culture and therapeutic relationships, research ethics review processes, and feminist ethical theory. She has published work on these topics in BMJ, Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, CMAJ, Disability and Rehabilitation, Healthcare Management FORUM, Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, HEC Forum, Healthcare Management Forum, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, Journal of Clinical Ethics, Journal of Medical Ethics, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Palliative and Supportive Care, Social Theory and Practice, and elsewhere. Dr. Ells regularly presents her work at national and international meetings, including the Canadian Bioethics Society, the International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, and the World Bioethics Congress.
Dr. Ells is currently Co-Investigator on two Canadian Institutes of Health Research grants: “Social Context and Psychological Distress in Couples Seeking ART Services” (PI Zelkowitz) and “The Ethics of End-of-Life Care” (PIs Fishman and MacDonald). She has previously received research funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the American Medical Association.
Her personal research focuses on the role and activities of clinical ethicists (hospital ethics consultants). She is critically analyzing models of clinical ethics consultation and exploring the potential to adapt structured reflective practice techniques for clinical ethicists as steps toward the broader aim to identify and develop means for quality assurance measures in clinical ethics work.
Ells C. Communicating Qualitative Research Study Designs to Research Ethics Review Boards, The Qualitative Report. 16: 3 (2011), 881-891.
Hunt M, Ells C. Partners Towards Autonomy: Risky Choices and Relational Autonomy in Rehabilitation Care, Disability and Rehabilitation. (2010), Early Online, 1-7.
Lotan G, Ells C. Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Participation in Decision Making: Ethical Considerations for Professional–Client Practice, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 48:2 (2010), 112-145.