K.J.R. Wightman Award for Scholarship in Ethics


Dr. Connor Brenna

Memory, Pain, and Harm: Ethical Perils in Procedural Amnesia.

Connor Brenna is a resident in the University of Toronto’s Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine and Clinician Investigator Program. He is currently pursuing a PhD in the University of Toronto’s Department of Physiology, focusing on the molecular mechanisms of anesthetics in the brain and how these might be leveraged to ask and answer questions about cognition, mood, and consciousness. Connor’s ethics work focuses on professional identity formation, clinical decision-making in triage, and informed consent. He facilitates a seminar series on ethics and professionalism in the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine, and currently serves as the resident representative for the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society’s ethics committee.


Dr. Philippe Sylvestre

Rethinking informed consent in the age of behavioral sciences and relational autonomy.

Philippe Sylvestre is a senior resident in Pediatrics at the University of Montreal, where he is also working to complete a Master’s in Clinical Ethics. Interested in decision making and the ethics of everyday clinical practice, his ongoing academic work has explored the patient-physician relationship and judgments in clinical contexts of uncertainty. Always enthused by new ideas, other interests have also led him to explore, notably, the concept of hope(s) and some challenges faced by migrant youth.


Dr. Elyse Platt

Depression and The Desire to Die – Implications for Medical Assistance in Dying

Elyse Platt is a psychiatry resident at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. She earned her medical degree at McMaster University after completing both her BAH and MA in philosophy at Queen’s. Elyse wrote her master’s thesis about happiness and the pursuit of the good life. She continues to be interested in conceptions of the good life and the ways in which normative judgments play a role in clinical decision making. Elyse pursues her own good life in Kingston, where she enjoys running and hiking with her husband, Jeremy, their dog, Lilah, and relaxing afterwards with Algernon, the cat.


Dr. Aravind Ganesh

Acute therapies for patients with pre-morbid disability or dementia: An evidence-based ethical framework with a focus on ischemic stroke

Aravind Ganesh is a neurology resident at the University of Calgary’s Department of Clinical Neurosciences, having graduated from the MD program in 2012. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 2014 to pursue a DPhil in Clinical Neurosciences under Professor Peter Rothwell at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Prevention of Stroke and Dementia. His thesis was on long-term stroke outcomes – including dementia, mortality, and healthcare costs – in the Oxford Vascular Study, and how they can be used to optimize the design/interpretation of stroke trials. With Professor Gordon Wilcock, he also co-led a collaboration with McGill University to study blood-based biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease. While at Oxford, he earned an Associate Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy via his contributions as a Clinical Teaching Associate at St John’s College, providing hospital-based teaching for medical students. Since returning to Calgary, he has continued working on clinical research projects in dementia and stroke, guided by mentors like Dr. Eric Smith, Dr. Bijoy Menon, Dr. Michael Hill, Dr. Andrew Demchuk, and Dr. Mayank Goyal. He has also served on the Neurology journal’s editorial board for the past five years and is a section editor for the “Practice Current” initiative through Neurology: Clinical Practice, to understand how neurologists navigate complex topics. Upon completing his residency, he will pursue a fellowship in cognitive and vascular neurology in Calgary, and hopes to work as a clinician-scientist to improve therapies and outcomes for patients with stroke and vascular cognitive impairment or dementia.
For his ethics paper, he was guided by Dr. Anand Viswanathan (Harvard Medical School) and inspired by his medical teacher Dr. Keith Brownell (University of Calgary).


Dr. Benjamin Chin-Yee

Between Data and Dialogue: Clinical Judgment Revisited

Benjamin Chin-Yee is an internal medicine resident at the University of Toronto, where he also completed his MD and MA in the history and philosophy of science. His research spans a range of disciplines, from bioethics to the history and philosophy of medicine. He is particularly interested in the ethics of the patient-physician relationship and how to integrate evidence-based and precision medicine to provide individualized, person-centered care. His current work explores the philosophical implications of big data and genomic medicine in clinical practice.


Dr. Malika Sharma

Knowledge as power: the aims of medical education

Dr Malika Sharma is an infectious disease and HIV physician at Maple Leaf Medical Clinic and Clinical Associate at St. Michael's Hospital. She is also an HIV consultant at Regent Park Community Health Centre, serving noninsured people living with HIV. Malika has a Masters in Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Her clinical and research interests center around the HIV care, the care of marginalized communities, and advocacy.


Dr. Ryan Snelgrove - Edmonton, Alta.

The unintended effects from prioritizing health care efficiency over equity

Ryan Snelgrove obtained his MD from Memorial University, general surgery Residency at the University of Calgary and Colorectal Surgery Fellowship at the University of Toronto. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta. Ryan was previously a fellow at the Wilson Centre for Research in Medical Education and is completing a Collaborative Masters in Science and bioethics. His research interest is in patient decision making and how patients and different medical specialties comprehend diseases and construct different understandings of best practice.


Dr. Simon Oczkowski, Hamilton, Ont.

Family Presence During Resuscitation: An Ethical Analysis

Simon Oczkowski is a critical-care resident at McMaster University, and is completing his master’s in bioethics at the University of Toronto. He plans to continue training at McMaster University’s Health Research Methodology program as a clinical scholar in the division of critical care.


Dr. Chris Hahn, Calgary, Alta.

Prescribing Drugs for Cognitive Enhancement