Canadian Medical Association

Canadian Medical Association

August 12, 2008 18:52 ET

CMA's Dr. William Marsden Award in Medical Ethics to be Given to Dr. Philip Hebert

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 12, 2008) - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) announced today that Dr. Philip Hebert from Toronto, will be the recipient of its Dr. William Marsden Award in Medical Ethics. It recognizes a member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership, commitment and dedication to the cause of advancing and promoting excellence in the field of medical ethics in Canada.

"Dr. Hebert has played a pivotal leadership role in the development of an integrated and practical professional ethics education for medical trainees and physicians," said Dr. Brian Day, President of the CMA. "He has made a unique and remarkable contribution to the growing awareness of this important medical field."

Dr. Hebert earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at York University and medical degree at the University of Toronto. Since 1988 he has been a member of Sunnybrook Health Science Centre's department of family and community medicine. He has held the position of Associate Professor since 2002. He is Chair of the Research Ethics Board at that hospital and also a clinical ethicist at the Joint Centre for Bioethics, where he is a member of the advisory board.

"Many, many individuals have contributed to the advancement of medical ethics and I am just proud to have played a small part in this process," said Dr. Hebert. "Ethics is indeed a very important aspect of medicine today, not in terms of armchair philosophizing, but about what should be done in order to look after our patients compassionately and professionally.

"Medical ethics can remind us of our primary commitment to the welfare of our patients."

While he was coordinator of Toronto's undergraduate medical ethics program, the RCPSC began to require bioethics as part of medical training. In creating the program he was responsible for teacher recruitment, teaching materials, initiating lectures and seminars, and developing a resource website.

His textbook, Doing Right: A Practical Guide to Ethics for Medical Trainees and Physicians is selling briskly in Canada and internationally since it was published by Oxford University Press in 1996. The second edition, which will be published in 2009, emphasizes how medical ethics can contribute to robust professionalism for all clinicians. The principal author of two articles in CMAJ's "Bioethics for Clinicians" series and a popular media contact, Dr. Hebert also lectures nationally and internationally.

He is a founding board member of both the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the Canadian Initiative for Patient Safety. His current research is on adverse medical outcomes in ambulatory patients. Recipient of awards for his contribution to professionalism and the teaching of ethics at Toronto, in 2001 he was made a fellow of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

The award is named after the first Chair of the CMA's Committee on Ethics, Dr. William Marsden, who later served as President of the Association in 1873/74. It was under Dr. Marsden that the Committee drafted the first version of today's CMA Code of Ethics which was approved in 1868.

Dr. Hebert will receive his award on Aug. 20th during the CMA's 141st annual meeting to be held at the Sheraton Centre in Montreal, Quebec.

Contact Information

  • CMA
    Lucie Boileau
    Manager, Media Relations
    613-731-8610 or 1-800-663-7336 ext. 1266
    613-447-0866 (mobile)