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Professor Caufield Wins Prestigious Trudeau Fellowship

Reprinted with permission from the Faculty of Law


Since 2003, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation has awarded fifty Trudeau Fellowships. The University of Alberta Faculty of Law is proud to announce that Professor Timothy Caulfield has been chosen as a recipient of a 2013 Trudeau Fellowship. The Trudeau Fellowship is worth $225,000 and is tenable for 3 years. Timothy Caulfield is only the second University of Alberta professor to receive the award from the Trudeau Foundation. Professor Janine Brodie, Political Science Department, was awarded a Trudeau Fellowship in 2010. Professor Caulfield received his award at a ceremony at the Université de Montréal, Quebec, on October 16, 2013.

“I was absolutely thrilled, of course! It is such a tremendous honour. The Trudeau Fellowship provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring together internationally renowned scholars and policy makers (including Fellows and Scholars) to highlight and critique pressing health and science policy issues,” said Professor Tim Caulfield. “I hope to work with our amazing team and other Trudeau Foundation colleagues to explore a range of health and science policy issues in an engaging manner, where we could use existing evidence to improve policy and public health.”

A Canadian institution with a national purpose, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation is an independent and non-partisan charity. It was established in 2001 as a living memorial to the former prime minister by his family, friends, and colleagues. In 2002, the Government of Canada endowed the Foundation with a donation of $125 million with the unanimous support of the House of Commons. In addition, the Foundation benefits from private sector donations in support of specific initiatives. Through its Scholarship, Fellowship, Mentorship and Public Interaction Programs, the Foundation supports outstanding individuals who make meaningful contributions to critical public issues.

“I am someone who hit the lottery and fell into fantastically engaging and rewarding career,” he said. “I truly feel unbelievably lucky.”

Timothy Caulfield is the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and a professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. He has been the research director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta since 1993.

A self-described a science geek, Timothy Caulfield is a lover of evidence and an interdisciplinary hyper-rationalist that enjoys integrating a wide range of perspectives in the pursuit of health and science policies that will benefit all Canadians. “I also thoroughly enjoy engaging the general public on controversial health and science issues.”

Over the past several years, Professor Timothy Caulfield has been involved in a variety of interdisciplinary research endeavours that have allowed him to publish over 250 articles and book chapters. He is a health senior scholar with the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and the principal investigator for a number of large interdisciplinary projects that explore ethical, legal, and health policy issues associated with a range of topics, including stem cell research, genetics, patient safety, the prevention of chronic disease, obesity policy, the commercialization of research, complementary and alternative medicine, and access to health care.

“I hope that my work helps to inform the development of Canadian health and science policy. We live in an era awash in evidence, but so often it is under-utilized or misapplied by both the public and policymakers.”

Much of Professor Timothy Caulfield’s work seeks to cut through the misinformation and to empirically explore the nature and extent of social concerns associated with health technologies (stem cell research, cloning, genetic tests, etc.) and health services (complementary and alternative medicines, transplantation, etc.). Another arm of his research is the exploration of legal and ethical principles in the context of research and the delivery of healthcare services. “The goal of my work in this area is to clarify the rights and interests of all relevant parties – including researchers, patients, the public and healthcare providers,” he said.

Timothy Caulfield is and has been involved with a number of national and international policy and research ethics committees, including the Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee, Genome Canada’s Science Advisory Committee, the Ethics and Public Policy Committee for International Society for Stem Cell Research, and the Federal Panel on Research Ethics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

“I have been fortunate to work with many wonderful interdisciplinary teams,” he explained. “Together we have used a wide range of methods to explore, inter alia, the impact of gene patents on health care and the research environment, how the popular press represents emerging technologies (and the impact these representations might have on policy development), the issues associated with of medical tourism, and so on.”

On his own, and also as part of interdisciplinary teams, Timothy Caulfield has done much to respond to the ethical controversies associated with emerging technologies, including helping to craft guidelines (national and international) associated with stem cell research, cloning, and genome research. All of this work has been referenced by courts, in policy documents, ethics guidelines, and so forth.

“I am also proud of the work I have done with my brother, U of A Professor Sean Caulfield, to bring together the science and art community in an effort to tackle provocative science issues in a unique and engagement manner.”

Professor Timothy Caulfield writes frequently for the popular press on a range of health and science policy issues and is the author of The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Penguin 2012).

He has won numerous awards for his academic work. In 2007, for example, Professor Caulfield became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is also a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and has won the University of Alberta’s Martha Cook Piper Prize for research excellence and the Alumni Horizon Award. In 2004, he was awarded the university’s media relations award in recognition of his work with popular press.

Philip Bryden, Dean of the U of A Faculty of Law, spoke of his delight at the news of Timothy Caulfield’s Trudeau Fellowship. “The Faculty of Law is delighted to see that the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation has seen fit to recognize Professor Caulfield’s tremendous achievements as a scholar by awarding him a Trudeau Fellowship.  Professor Caulfield is not only an exceptional researcher in his own right, but he has been instrumental in inspiring students and other scholars to collaborate with him to do exceptional work in the fields of health law, ethics and science policy.  He has played a pivotal role in cementing the Faculty’s international reputation for outstanding research in this vital area of law, building on the pioneering efforts of outstanding scholars such as Ellen Picard and Gerald Robertson.  Being awarded a Trudeau Fellowship adds further luster to what is already a remarkable record of accomplishment.”