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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis

Lisa Schwartz

Arnold L. Johnson Chair in Health Care Ethics
Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI)
Associate Member, Department of Philosophy
Member, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis

T: (905) 525-9140, ext. 22987

McMaster University
CRL Building, 2nd Floor, Rm. 224
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON
L8S 4K1

Lisa Schwartz is the Arnold L. Johnson Chair in Health Care Ethics. She is a professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI), an associate member in the Department of Philosophy and a member of (CHEPA). She received a PhD in philosophy from the University of Glasgow (1996), and both an MA (1990) and a BA (1985) in philosophy from McGill University. Until 2001, she was Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Medicine at the University of Glasgow School of Medicine in Scotland. 

Schwartz is co-lead of a program of research on Humanitarian Healthcare Ethics (HHE) and of an on-line community of practice called HumEthNet with members from 14 countries. Schwartz developed the ethics and moral reasoning stream of Professional Competencies for the undergraduate medical education program at McMaster University, has led workshops to build faculty and staff knowledge in health ethics and teaches ethics in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program. She is a standing member of the Clinical Ethics Committee for Hamilton Health Sciences, and is a member of the McMaster Research Ethics Board Appeals Committee. Her external commitments include serving as vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Ethics for CIHR, and as a member of the expert review panel on non-pharmaceutical technology at CADTH. She is a member of the the ethics committee of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a member of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR). She has several research interests in health care ethics and ethics in health care education, research ethics, privacy and access to biosamples, patient advocacy, and measurement and effectiveness of ethics education. As senior Primary Investigator for HHE her research involves work with humanitarian civilian and military actors. This includes consultation and collaboration with colleagues at McGill, Universite de Montreal, as well as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and the Red Cross in Canada and Geneva, Switzerland. She is a member of the MSF Ethics Review Board and also advises the World Health Organization as co-chair of the WHO's Ethics Working Group on Epidemics (formerly on Ebola).



  • humanitarian health care ethics
  • global health ethics
  • the teaching of ethics in health care education
  • patient advocacy
  • research ethics
  • bioethics
  • privacy and confidentiality



Assasi N, Schwartz L, Tarride JE, O'Reilly D, Goeree R. Barriers and facilitators influencing ethical evaluation in health technology assessment. International Journal of Technol Assess in Health Care. 2015. 31(3):113-23. doi: 10.1017/S026646231500032X.

Hunt M, Schwartz L, Pringle J, Boulanger R, Nouvet E, O'Mathúna D. Participants of the Humanitarian Healthcare Ethics Forum. A Research Agenda for Humanitarian Health Ethics PLOS Currents Disasters. 2014. Aug 12. Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/currents.dis.8b3c24217d80f3975618fc9d9228a144

Schwartz L. Ethics and Emergency Disaster Response. Normative Approaches and Training Needs for Humanitarian Health Care Providers. Disaster Bioethics: normative issues when nothing is normal. 2014. Dónal O'Mathúna ed. Springer Science & Business Media, Dordrecht.

Schwartz L. Ebola Pandemonium: Urging Cautious Approaches In Desperate Contexts. Impact Ethics in Law & Policy, Research Ethics. 2014. 

Fraser V, Hunt MR, Schwartz L, and de Laat S.  Humanitarian Health Ethics Analysis Tool: HHEAT Handbook. 2014. Accessed at

de Laat S, Schwartz L, Williams-Jones B, Hunt M, Rochon C and  Okhowat A. (2012). Combat Hospital’s deployment of ethics and entertainment. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 184(6): 680-681.

Schwartz, L.; Sinding, C.; Hunt, M.; Elit, L.; Redwood-Campbell, L.; Adelson, N.; Ranford, J.; De Laat, S.: Ethics in humanitarian aid work: Learning from the narratives of humanitarian health workers; American Journal of Bioethics: Primary Research; 2010; 1(3):45-54. doi: 10.1080/21507716.2010.505898

Elit, L.; Schwartz, L.; Sinding, C.; Hunt, M.; Redwood-Campbell, L.; Adelson, N.; Ranford, J.: A bit of a fine line to walk: The ethical challenges faced by medical students doing international health electives (IHE); 2010 IN PRESS

S. L. Carroll, P. H. Strachan, L. Schwartz, H. Arthur, S. deLaat Patients’ Decision-Making to Accept or Decline an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator for Primary Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death; Health Expectations HEX-2010-0666.R1 Accepted 

Sinding C, Schwartz L, Hunt M, Redwood-Campbell L, Elit L, Ranford J. Playing God because you have to?: Health professionals' narratives of rationing care in humanitarian and development work. Public Health Ethics, 2010. 3(2): 147-156.

DeJean D, Giacomini M, Schwartz L, Miller FA. Ethics in Canadian health technology assessment: A descriptive review. International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, 2009. 25(4): 463-469.

Saginur R, Dent SF, Schwartz L, Heslegrave R, Stacey S, Manzo J. Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board: Lessons learned from developing a multicenter regional institutional review board. Journal of Clinical Oncology, March 20, 2008. 26(9): 1479-82.


  • health ethics
  • bioethics
  • ethics in human research
  • health law
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