Member Biographies: Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness

Mona Gupta (Chair)

Mona Gupta MD CM, FRCPC, PhD is a psychiatrist at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal and Associate Clinical Professor in the Département de Psychiatrie et d’Addictologie at the Université de Montréal. She is an active researcher in ethics and philosophy of psychiatry and serves as a Senior Editor of the journal Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology. She was Chair of the MAID advisory committee for the Association des Médecins Psychiatres du Québec and co-author of its December 2020 discussion paper on assisted dying and mental disorders. She was also a member of the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on MAID: Working Group on MAID where a Mental Disorder is the sole underlying medical condition whose report was tabled in the Parliament of Canada in December 2018.

Rose M. Carter (Vice-chair)

Rose Carter is counsel at Dentons Canada LLP (Edmonton) in the Firm’s health law field, bringing more than 30 years’ experience in health law. She assists various medical practitioners, as well as scientific professionals, in navigating the regulatory requirements of private and public practice. She has provided legal advice on numerous occasions to medical practitioners on Medical Assistance in Dying since its legalization. Throughout her three decades of practice, Rose, as a litigator, has appeared before all levels of courts in Alberta, as well as before various administrative law tribunals.

To complement her law practice, Rose devotes substantial time as an active and valuable member of the legal and medical community. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta, where she lectures on medical legal issues to faculty members, practicing physicians, residents and students. She serves the medical communities across Canada as Chair of the Appeals Committee of the Medical Council of Canada and as Council member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She is a member of the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, Clinical Service, Edmonton.

Rose has been commended for her extensive knowledge and experience in a variety of respected publications and is the recipient of the Women in Law Leadership Award: Leadership in the Profession (Private Practice).

Jennifer A. Chandler

Jennifer A. Chandler is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Law, cross-appointed to the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa. She holds the Bertram Loeb Research Chair (2016 to present). Prof. Chandler is a member of the Centre for Health, Law, Policy and Ethics (interim director 2020-2021), the Centre for Law, Technology and Society, and the University of Ottawa Brain Mind Research Institute. She holds degrees in law from Queen’s University (Canada) and Harvard University. She was also a member of the government-appointed Council of Canadian Academies’ expert panel that completed its review of Canada’s medical assistance in dying legislation in 2018. She is the co-editor of the 2016 book Law and Mind: Mental Health Law and Policy in Canada (LexisNexis Canada), and has taught mental health law and neuroethics to Juris Doctor and graduate law students since 2012. Prof. Chandler provides advice on the ethical, legal and societal aspects of neuroscience and mental health research as a member of the Advisory Board to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute for Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. She also serves on international editorial boards in the field of law, ethics and neuroscience, including Neuroethics, the Springer Book Series Advances in Neuroethics, and the Palgrave-MacMillan Book Series Law, Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She runs an international discussion group called Mind-Brain-Law, which brings together students, scholars and practitioners spanning science, medicine, humanities and social sciences.

Ellen Cohen

With her own personal experience of mental illness and as a supportive family member, Ellen always knew she would be a helper. As an advocate, educator and organizer, she has enjoyed a long career in advocacy, social work and working in mental health. She holds a degree in Sociology and Social Welfare, and a diploma in Social Services and is a lifelong learner. Ellen has held positions experiencing all levels of government: as a social service worker with the city of Toronto, Ontario Probation and Parole as a probation officer and as an early childhood educator. She has worked for over 30 years in community mental health, facilitating and supporting the development of the Ontario infrastructure of consumer - survivor peer led organizations.

She has volunteered in the community on a variety of boards and committees and shares a long history with the National Network for Mental Health (NNMH). She has a keen understanding of mental health across the lifespan and the issues facing people living in Canada with mental illness and the intersection of mental illness within the disability and deaf communities. Ellen is the current co-chair of the Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) where she represents the consumer perspective as a member of the NNMH.

Shifting their focus to the disability community, NNMH now plays a pivotal role in bridging the mental health community to the larger disability movement, and bringing awareness of the intersections of disability into the mental health sector. This shift into the disability community has enabled the NNMH to become actively involved in human rights and social justice work alongside our partners from the disability community working on issues relevant to the good health and well being of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Justine Dembo

Dr. Justine Dembo, MD, FRCPC is an Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry and a staff psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, where she specializes in obsessive-compulsive disorder at the Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre. She completed her medical education and residency in psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She has been a MAID assessor since the Carter v. Canada decision in 2015, and she is a Mentor with the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers for other clinicians dealing with complex assessments. She has been researching, teaching, and publishing on the intersection of MAID and mental illness since 2009, and she has been an invited speaker at numerous conferences and educational events. She was an Expert Witness in the Truchon v. Canada and Lamb v. Canada cases, and she submitted a Brief and testified at the Senate hearings regarding Bill C-7 in February 2021.

She is also a member of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) Working Group on MAID and mental illness, and co-author of a Discussion Paper currently being produced by the CPA. She has been a member of the Joint Centre for Bioethics MAID Working Group and Community of Practice since 2015. She co-facilitates MAID seminars for University of Toronto residents in psychiatry on their Consultation-Liaison rotations. She is also currently the Principal Investigator on a qualitative study examining MAID for sole mental illness, and a co-investigator on another qualitative study examining MAID in complex chronic medical conditions.

Sara Goulet

Dr. Sara Goulet is a Métis family doctor who grew up in the Red River Valley. Like her father, a bush pilot, she travels all over northern Manitoba and the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. She has been providing health care services to First Nations and Inuit communities since 2007. Dr. Goulet provides leadership and support to the fly in doctors at Ongomiizwin Health Services. To better service these communities, she also works to maintain her knowledge, skills and relationships by providing hospitalist services at the Health Sciences Centre in the Clinical Assessment Unit and the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. 

Dr. Goulet is currently the Associate Dean of Admissions for the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. In this role, she hopes to continue to foster diversity in the College and to explore ways to support projects that increase the number of First Nations, Inuit and Métis students who can access medical school.

In addition to these roles, Dr. Goulet joined the MAID team in Manitoba with the purpose of examining how to integrate Indigenous Ways of Knowing into the process of assessing, treating and supporting Indigenous patients in this time of transition. This work directly aligns with the vision Dr. Goulet has for a health care system where Indigenous patients are respected, honored and recognized for the knowledge they bring to health and wellness that enhances the Western Biomedical perspective. She believes in the integration of Western and Indigenous knowledge systems is the key to healing, hope and reconciliation.

Karen Hetherington

Karen Hetherington, BA, MS is President of the Canadian Mental Health Association, National and the Québec Division. Her career focus is on community mental health prevention and promotion and mental health policy. She has a rich background in the clinical and administrative aspects of the mental health eco-system in both the public and the non-profit sector.

A recently retired faculty lecturer from the McGill University School of Social Work, she continues to teach in the Mental Health certificate program in the Faculty of Continuing Education of the University of Montreal. She has bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in psycho-education from the University of Montreal.

Founding president of many community organizations in Québec, she is the director of OPTION MILIEU, which specializes in service planning and training in mental health. She was a founding member of the Association québécoise pour la réadaptation psychosociale (AQRP) and is on the Board of Directors of the Regroupement québécois des organismes communautaires en psychotherapie. For more than 15 years, she was a Senior Consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) in mental health policy development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Jeffrey Kirby

Dr. Jeffrey Kirby is a (retired) Professor in the Department of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University. He has an educational background and professional experience in medicine, philosophy and health care ethics. His academic activities and research interests include the ethics analyses of complex health care practices, ethics elements/dimensions of medical assistance in dying (MAID), mental health care ethics, critical care ethics, organ donation and transplantation ethics, organizational ethics, and socially-just, health policy development through the use of innovative, deliberative engagement methodologies.

Dr. Kirby has published a set of academic papers in high-impact, international, bioethics journals on a variety of MAID-related topics including: assisted dying for suffering arising from mental health conditions, morally-relevant distinctions between paradigm and non-paradigm MAID circumstances, meso- and macro-level (MAID-related) health policy development, organ donation after MAID and institutional conscientious objection to MAID. He made several, virtual and written, Bill C-7 related submissions to the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs regarding matters/issues of relevance to the potential consideration of mental health disorders as sole-qualifying conditions for MAID in Canada.

Dr. Kirby has past practice experience in the direct delivery of mental health care services as a university-based physician-psychotherapist. In furtherance of the social-justice advocacy of (the late) Marion Ernst Kirby, he is actively engaged in volunteer commitments pertaining to the pragmatic provision of health- and social-support services to members of historically-marginalized and otherwise disadvantaged social groups, including persons with severe and persistent mental illness and inadequately housed persons.

Trevor Morey

Trevor Morey (preferred pronouns are he/him) is a family medicine and community based palliative care physician based in Toronto, Ontario. He works as a physician with the PEACH (Palliative Education and Care for the Homeless) team based out of the Inner City Health Associates, the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care and Casey House Hospital. He is a lecturer at the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. 

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Inner City Family Health Team and the communications lead for Health Providers Against Poverty, a community based advocacy organization. He is currently a member of a working group within the Correctional Service of Canada to improve access to palliative care services for people within the correctional system. Trevor is the research lead for the PEACH team and is passionate about providing equitable access to palliative care.

Trevor received his medical degree from Queen's University and completed his residency training in family medicine with enhanced skills in palliative care at the University of Toronto and is a member of the Canadian College of Family Physicians.

Leora Simon

Leora Simon has participated in patient/community engagement initiatives in healthcare and research for over 10 years as both a person with lived experience and research coordinator/assistant. Leora currently serves as chair of the National Council of Persons with Lived Experience (NCPLE), an advisory committee to the National Office of the Canadian Mental Health Association and National Board of Directors. As part of her role, she also represents the voice of people with lived experience of mental illness on the National Board. Leora is also a member of the Clinical, Qualitative and Quantitative Research (CQQR) Technical Committee, a group working to develop national standards for the conduct of human research. 

Leora completed her MSc in Experimental Medicine (basic biomedical research) at McGill University. She currently works as a Research Administrator/Coordinator in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Occupational Health at McGill University. Leora endeavors to combine her scientific knowledge, research training and lived experience to improve quality, effectiveness and access to person centred health and community services for people in situations of vulnerability. 

Donna Stewart

Dr. Donna Stewart CM, MD, FRCPC is a University Professor at the University of Toronto, with a primary appointment to Psychiatry and cross appointments to Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and Family and Community Medicine. She is a Senior Scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. Her clinical work at the University Health Network is in mental disorders in the medically ill and women’s health. She has also done over 200 MAID assessments and conducted research and published in medical journals on this topic. She is a member of the Canadian Psychiatric Association Working Group on MAID, the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers, Dying with Dignity and the University of Toronto Centre for Bioethics.

Dr. Stewart graduated as the Gold Medalist in Medicine at Queen’s University and practiced as a family doctor in Canada’s north before qualifying as a psychiatrist nearly 50 years ago. She held the world’s first Chair in Women’s Health from 1995-2015. She is a successful medical educator, researcher and clinician and has published over 400 peer-reviewed academic papers and 4 books on medical topics. She is recipient of many awards and in 2014 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. She wrote a Brief and testified at the Senate hearings on MAID for Mental Illness in February 2021. 

Cornelia (Nel) Wieman

Dr. Nel Wieman is the Acting Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in British Columbia. She is Anishinaabe (Little Grand Rapids First Nation, Manitoba) and lives, works and plays on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples – səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Dr. Wieman has served as the President of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada (IPAC) since 2016.

Dr. Wieman completed her medical degree and psychiatry specialty training at McMaster University. As Canada's first female Indigenous psychiatrist, Dr. Wieman has more than 20 years' clinical experience, working with Indigenous people in both rural/reserve and urban settings. Her previous activities include co-directing an Indigenous health research program in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and the National Network for Indigenous Mental Health Research, being Deputy Chair of Health Canada's Research Ethics Board, and serving on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Governing Council. She has also worked and taught in many academic settings, has chaired national advisory groups within Indigenous Services Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, and has served as a Director on many boards, including the Indspire Foundation and Pacific Blue Cross. She sits on the Executive Committee of the National Consortium on Indigenous Medical Education. She has recently been appointed to the BC Provincial Task Team charged with ensuring implementation of the recommendations arising from the “In Plain Sight” report.

Dr. Wieman holds faculty appointments at Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and McMaster University.

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