CBS 2019 Poster, Photo: Kyle Anstey
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At first glance, the word, “disruptive” can be interpreted negatively bringing to mind things that must be prevented or corrected. Over the past few years, however, a new definition has emerged which allows for disruption to be seen as positive.

This year’s conference takes disruptive action as valuable action, and the “disrupters” as crucial voices for change. When our beliefs about health and our structures in health care are challenged, our ethical obligations come most sharply into relief. Patients whose preferences and behaviours are challenging or inconvenient are often labelled as “difficult” or “non-compliant”. Yet these individuals hold a mirror up to the system that may highlight its shortcomings and flaws. This can force positive reflection at all levels about the nature and goals of health care and what accommodations and limits are reasonable in healthcare delivery.

Disruption can be loud or silent, active or passive, acute or chronic. Whatever its character, disruption gives pause and focus to the question of whether our health systems and the providers within them are meeting their obligations to the communities and patients they serve. Our conference program will create space to consider the roles, experiences, and effects of some crucial disruptors and disruptions, including, but not limited to:

  • The perspective and experience of indigenous persons in Canadian health care; implications of Truth and Reconciliation

  • Care for patients who use substances; legalization of substances and the role of harm reduction in healthcare

  • Refugees, immigrants, and new Canadians; creating safe and welcoming spaces within context of ethno-cultural diversity

  • LGBTQ people and health; dismantling the heteronormative and gender binary default


Our plenary speakers and events will be structured to address these issues directly and all of those interested in presenting at the conference are welcome to orient their submissions to this theme.

Recognizing that the CBS Conference is an annual opportunity to share diverse work with colleagues nationally, abstracts are encouraged for concurrent sessions on topics which may not directly fit with the theme, but still contribute, rigorous, novel, or insightful thinking in bioethics. To further inspire unique and provocative submissions we’d like to invite abstracts with the following framing:

1) The toughest case/question I’ve had to address

2) What we’re not talking about (but should be)

3) What I would consider differently if I was writing my thesis/dissertation now….

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