Margaret Battin (USA)

0000BattinPHOTO credit Dese'Rae Stage IMG_3193ed2Margaret Pabst Battin, M.F.A., PhD., Distinguished Professor of philosophy and medical ethics at the University of Utah, has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited some twenty books, including Drugs and Justice and The Patient as Victim and Vector: Ethics and Infectious Disease; two collections on end-of-life issues, The Least Worst Death and Ending Life; and a comprehensive sourcebook, The Ethics of Suicide: Historical Sources. She is currently completing Sex & Consequences: A Thought Experiment for Saving the Planet, about the large-scale reproductive problems of the globe.  She has been named one of the “Mothers of Bioethics.”

Kenneth Chambaere (BE)

ChambaereKProf. Kenneth Chambaere is Assistant Professor at the End-of-Life Care Research Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Ghent University in Belgium. He obtained an MSc in Sociology in 2004 and a Postgraduate in Logic, History and Philosophy of Science in 2005, before obtaining a PhD in Medical-Social Sciences in 2010 studying the incidence and characteristics of various end-of-life practices including euthanasia and palliative sedation. From 2010 to 2016 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) devoting his time to empirically studying “slippery slope” phenomena in Belgium and other countries with assisted dying laws. Prof. Chambaere is involved in various research concerning palliative and end-of-life care. He has published over 50 international peer-reviewed papers to date.

Joachim Cohen (BE)

CohenJProfessor Joachim Cohen is a medical sociologist and professor of the End-of-Life Care Research Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Ghent University. His program of research focuses on end-of-life care and related issues or trends. He graduated in 2001 as a Master in Sociology and in 2007 as a PhD in Social Health Sciences. His research has been awarded with the Kubler Ross Award for Young Researchers and the Young Investigator Award from the European Association of Palliative Care 2010. Both prizes were awarded to him, mainly because of his large-scale cross-national research on end-of-life care. Prof. dr. Cohen has published over 135 articles in international peer reviewed journals and co-edited the Oxford University Press book: “A public health perspective on end of life care”.

Jean-Jacques De Gucht (BE)

JJDGfotobioJean-Jacques De Gucht is a Flemish politician and member of the Flemish Liberal party (Open Vld). He is known for his legislative proposals on ethical issues, with which he consistently shows himself to be a defender of an individual’s right to self-determination. At De Gucht’s initiative, the Euthanasia Act was extended to minors in 2014.

Luc Deliens (BE)


Luc Deliens, PhD, is Professor of Palliative Care Research, Founding Director of the End-of-Life Care Research Group of the VUB University & Ghent University in Belgium, leading research programs on both palliative care and end-of-life decision making. His team is with about 60 staff people, the country’s largest research group on end-of-life care. Back in the nineties, he was the first to conduct a nationwide empirical study on euthanasia in Belgian, published in 2000 in Lancet. Internationally, he chairs the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Reference Group on Public Health and Palliative Care and co-chairs the EAPC Research Network and is involved in different on-going EU funded research projects. He successfully supervised over 40 PhDs and is actually supervising about 25 PhD students. He published over 500 papers or book chapters and received several scientific awards for his scientific work. He is also member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium.

James Downar (CAN)

James DownarJames Downar is a Critical Care and Palliative Care physician in Ottawa. He graduated from McGill Medical School and completed residency training in Internal Medicine, Critical Care and Palliative Care at the University of Toronto. He has a Master’s degree in Bioethics from the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto. He is currently the Head of the Division of Palliative Care at the University of Ottawa, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. He is the co-chair of the Pan-Canadian Palliative Care Research Collaborative, the chair of the Ethical Affairs committee of the Canadian Critical Care Society, and the co-chair of the Ontario Palliative Care Network’s Provincial Education Steering Committee.  He has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, has been principal investigator on a dozen peer-reviewed grants, and is a former Associated Medical Services Phoenix Fellow. His research interests include communication and decision-making for seriously ill patients and their families; Palliative Care for the Critically Ill; and Palliative Care for Noncancer Illnesses.

Jocelyn Downie (CAN)

JD Photo high resolution copyJocelyn Downie is the James S. Palmer Chair in Public Policy and Law and a Faculty Associate of the Health Law Institute at Dalhousie University.  She is also an Adjunct Professor at the QUT Australian Centre for Health Law Research. Her work on end-of-life law and policy includes: Special Advisor to the Canadian Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide; author of Dying Justice: A Case for the Decriminalizing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada; and member of the Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on End-of-Life Decision-Making, the plaintiffs’ legal team in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying, and the Canadian Council of Academies Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying.

Daphne Gilbert (CAN)

DaphneDaphne Gilbert is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and a member of its Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics.  She sits on the Legal Advisory Committee for Dying with Dignity, an organization committed to improving quality of dying and protecting end-of-life rights.  A graduate of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law and Yale Law School, Daphne clerked for Chief Justice Antonio Lamer at the Supreme Court of Canada before her appointment at the University of Ottawa.  She teaches in the Public Law area and researches and writes on the constitutional challenges and opportunities in reproductive justice and medical aid in dying.

Celia Kitzinger (UK)

Celia KitzingerCelia Kitzinger is Honorary Professor in the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University where she co-directs the Coma and Disorders of Consciousness Research Centre (cdoc.org.uk).  Over the past decade she has worked intensively with families who have a relative in a prolonged disorder of consciousness, including supporting them through court cases.  She has co-created, with other members of the research centre, an award winning online resource for these families and is widely involved in training and the creation of e-learning resources. She was a member of the core group that wrote the new professional Guidance on Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration.

Constance MacIntosh (CAN)

informedopinions_62Constance MacIntosh is the Viscount Bennett Professor of Law at the Schulich School of Law, Canada, and is a long-time member of Dalhousie’s Health Law Institute. Her work engages with the intersection of law, policy and governance practices with the well-being of vulnerable populations.

Freddy Mortier (BE)

h1600q85_z2017_222_037Freddy Mortier is professor of ethics at Ghent University (Belgium). He was vice rector from 2013 to 2017. He teaches general philosophy and bioethics at the faculties of Psychology and Educational Studies, of Medicine and Health Sciences, and at his own faculty. He is a member of the (Belgian) National Advisory Committee for Bioethics and was chairman and/or secretary of several ad hoc working parties in that committee. He is also a member of the Ethics Committee of the Ghent University Hospital and a member of the directing board of viWTA, the Flemish Parliamentary Institute for Technology Assessment. His interests in bioethics are mainly directed at end-of-life research, including the ethics of euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions. Other fields of special interest are the rights of minors in health care and the relation between religion and health care.

Bregje Onwuteaka-Philipsen (NL)

Bregje Philipsen TFBregje Onwuteaka-Philipsen is professor of end-of-life research at Amsterdam UMC, location VU University medical center. She leads the research group ‘public health at the end-of-life’ of the department of public and occupational health and is chair of the Expertise Center for Palliative Care of the VU University medical center. Her research covers the topics of advance care planning palliative care, and end-of-life decision making. She has ample experience in leading large research project such as the studies in which the Dutch Euthanasia Law is evaluated and incidences and circumstances of end-of-life decision-making are studied every 5 years.

Thaddeus Pope (USA)

Pope_Thaddeus HI RESThaddeus Mason Pope is Director of the Health Law Institute and Professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota (USA). Professor Pope has nearly 200 publications in: leading medical journals, law reviews, bar journals, nursing journals, bioethics journals, and book chapters. He coauthors the definitive treatise The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking. And he runs the Medical Futility Blog (with nearly four million page-views). In both his academic scholarship and his policy work, Professor Pope works to calibrate the balance between individual liberty and public health in the end-of-life medical treatment context.

Sylvie Tack (BE)

SylvieTackSylvie Tack studied law (2004) and medical-social sciences (2006) at Ghent University. After that she conducted scientific research within the interuniversity project ‘Monitoring quality of end-of-life care’. In 2012 she obtained her phd in law with the thesis “Ethical policies on end-of-life decisions in healthcare institutions”. Sylvie is currently a practice assistant at Ghent University and guest professor at Antwerp University. In addition to her academic career, Sylvie has been active as a health law lawyer for many years. She followed her training at Prof. Balthazar (Ghent) and was later attached to the Dewallens & Partners (Leuven) law office. In 2010, Sylvie started her own law practice in Knokke (Sanalex advocaten).

Agnes van der Heide (NL)

AgnesVanderHeideProfessor Agnes van der Heide is working at the department of Public health at Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands, since 1994. She is a professor in end- of-life care and decision making. Her studies are focused on epidemiology, health services and legal-ethical aspects in the field of end-of-life care, end-of-life communication and end-of- life decision making. She is and has been principal investigator of many collaborative research projects at the local, national and international level. Currently she supervises about 15 PhD students.

Thierry Vansweevelt (BE)

ThierryVansweeveltThierry Vansweevelt studied law at the UAntwerpen (University of Antwerp). He gained his doctorate in Law with a thesis on “The liability of the doctor and the hospital”. As a full professor of the UAntwerpen Thierry lectures on liability law and health law. Between 2003 and 2006 he was dean of the Law Faculty. Thierry Vansweevelt is a member of the Bar of Antwerp as well as the Bar of Brussels. He specialized in medical liability law in which he defends both hospitals, doctors and patients. Insurance law is also close to his heart. He is also devoted to medical law concerning for example the duty of professional confidentiality and euthanasia.

Ben White (AUS)

Rhodes Scholar Professor Ben WhiteBen White is a Professor in the Australian Centre for Health Law Research in the Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Ben graduated with first class Honours and a University Medal in Law from QUT and then completed a DPhil at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He is undertaking a program of funded research examining law, policy and practice at the end of life through a series of Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council grants. He co-leads a project providing training to doctors about end of life law, and another training program for doctors involved in voluntary assisted dying in Victoria.

Lindy Willmott (AUS)

phototonyphillips.comLindy Willmott is a Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology and a member of the Australian Centre for Health Law Research. Lindy researches and publishes in health law, particularly at the end of life. She has co-authored more than 10 texts and the website ‘End of Life Law in Australia’. Lindy is currently undertaking empirical research projects funded by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council. She co-leads projects to provide legal training to medical specialists about the law at the end of law, and an accredited training program for doctors involved in assisted dying in Victoria. Lindy is a Board Member of Palliative Care Australia and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Law and Medicine.