CMA Recognizes Dr. Eric Wasylenko for Excellence in the Field of Medical Ethics

Categories: Leadership.

This award recognizes CMA members who have demonstrated exemplary leadership, commitment and dedication to the cause of advancing and promoting excellence in the field of medical ethics in Canada.

“Dr. Wasylenko’s commitment to furthering the cause of medical ethics in Canada makes him highly deserving of the award,” said Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, CMA President. “He has made a remarkable contribution to the growing awareness of end-of-life care issues.”

“I feel honoured to have been nominated and to receive the CMA’s Dr. William Marsden Award in Medical Ethics,” Dr. Wasylenko said.

“Every day I witness the amazing efforts of my clinical and administrative colleagues working with patients and their families to provide the best care possible.  Increasingly, clinical and organizational decision-making incorporates challenging ethical issues, without obvious ways forward.  I am appreciative of the opportunities to do my small part in helping people to successfully navigate these often murky waters.

“Both end-of-life care and medical ethics foster deep exploration of personhood.  I feel privileged to be allowed into the depth of a person’s hopes, fears, relationships, uncertainty, joys, conflicts, sense of mortality – in short, their humanity.  Practising in the areas of medical ethics and end-of-life care challenges me to tap into the lessons that patients and colleagues teach me about the art of medicine.”

Dr. Wasylenko is a pioneering palliative care physician in residential hospice and home-based palliative care.  He led the creation of one of Canada’s first rural, community-owned, free-standing, residential hospice homes.

He is a volunteer advisor to other groups who are hoping to establish community and hospice services.

Dr. Wasylenko is a practising clinical ethicist with specific interest in applied ethics of end-of-life care and decision-making, disaster management, public health, and resource allocation/priority setting. He is currently spearheading the development of a national interest group to address ethics issues in health care for incarcerated populations.  He has played an important role in pandemic crisis planning efforts and currently chairs the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Public Health Ethics Consultative Group.

Dr. Wasylenko has previously led the Clinical Ethics department for the Calgary Health Region and Alberta Health Services, developing applied ethics consultative resources and awareness. He has an extensive resume of invited and peer-reviewed presentations for provincial, national and international audiences.

He is a clinical lecturer in the Division of Palliative Medicine at the University of Calgary; an associate of the University of Alberta’s John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre; an ethics and end-of-life consultant to the Health Quality Council of Alberta; and is a member of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. 

Dr. Wasylenko co-developed a novel designation mechanism for care decision-making and communication that has been implemented for patient and clinician use in all health settings inAlberta, and is medical advisor to Alberta Health Services on advance care planning and goals of care designations initiatives.

He also serves as an advisor to government and health systems on various challenging health-related ethics policy issues, such as crisis allocation strategy, assisted reproduction, review of deaths of children in care, organ and tissue donation, and immunization programs.

The Dr. William Marsden Award in Medical Ethics is named after the first chair of the CMA’s Committee on Ethics, who later served as president of the association in 1873-1874. It was under Dr. Marsden that the committee drafted the first version of today’s CMA Code of Ethics, which was approved in 1868.

The awards will be presented Aug. 20 at a ceremony held at the Westin Ottawa, during the CMA’s 147th annual meeting.

For more information about the Canadian Medical Association, please visit their website.

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