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Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in Bioethics, CRPS / RSD, Patient privacy | 0 comments

NHEW ideas (21.02.2018)

NHEW ideas (21.02.2018)

Have you heard of NHEW? The week of April 2-8 will be the fourth edition of Canada’s National Health Ethics Week (NHEW). The aim of NHEW is to raise awareness of bioethics in Canada, to explain what it is and how it impacts every Canadian in some way or another.

Most people seem to think of bioethics in terms only of patients & caregivers, but many facets touch all of us; from medical assistance in dying (MAiD), to public health campaigns (e.g. anti-smoking), to healthy individuals who’re unable to secure a family physician.

Bioethics affects each of us, even if only as taxpayers (assuming that we all do, have done, or will pay taxes). Why as taxpayers? Because in Canada our healthcare systems are largely funded by our federal, provincial, and territorial governments – with our tax dollars.

If you’re interested in NHEW, see the links at the bottom of this post for more information. If you’re considering coordinating an activity or event for NHEW, it can be difficult to find ideas. So it’s good to remember that a NHEW activity can be as simple as putting up a few posters or planning a lunch-time conversation about bioethics.

Some are complex public events, with guest speakers, advance ticket sales, live-streaming, and all of that. Your NHEW activity can be as large or small as you’d, depending – of course – on the resources available to you. And on what’s permitted within your community or organization.

Paper airplanes with message on wings for National Health Ethics Week

    Image: Sandra Woods


To help you with planning a NHEW activity, I’ve put together a list of some ideas; several are from past years of NHEW, and some are my own ideas (including the very bright paper airplanes in the photo!).

Feel free to use these ideas, and to adapt them for your own NHEW activity or event. Or find your own original way to bring NHEW to your group.

The goal is to raise awareness of bioethics, so do whatever you think will have the most impact within your healthcare organization or community. Whatever you do, ensure that you have your organization’s approval first!

  • A book club or journal club type of event, in which each participant reads the same article on a bioethics topic – in advance – and then all participants discuss it amongst themselves; these often work best with a moderator and some set questions in case the discusson stalls or goes off topic
  •  If the members of your community or organization are artistic/creative, have a contest for best art/poster, dance, poem, rap, song, etc. with a bioethics theme – the “prize could be as simple as a cup of coffee or tea
  • Brown bag lunch conversation, on a selected bioethics topic; also with a moderator and some questions to start off the conversation
  • Create some eye-catching and original NHEW materials, just for your organization; I created the neon paper airplanes in the photo above, to raise awareness within the different healthcare organizations with which I deal
  • Download the posters and other materials from the NHEW website* and post them wherever you can; these are very helpfully provided in both English and French versions
  • Prior to NHEW, have a group poster-making party; help your colleagues or other community members express themselves and what bioethics means to them – then be sure to put the posters up for NHEW! (You might be able to do this after-hours in a cafeteria; that’s what was done for an event I attended 2 years ago)
  • If you have access to a meeting room with a large screen, schedule a viewing party for one of the on-line seminars – webinars* – that are usually set up as live-casts during NHEW
  • Use social media to share your activities & message, using #NHEW2018
  • Have fun! The Canadian Bioethics Society is a volunteer-based non-profit organization, so appreciates any effort to raise awareness of health ethics in Canada ,-)


*NHEW Links:

National Health Ethics Week website; to either register a NHEW event or check for events in your area – across Canada. Check back often, as some organizations may wait until the start of the week to post their events.

Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB), at the University of Toronto; the JCB offers weekly seminars on a wide variety of bioethics topics, which are often provided as webcasts; they usually have at least one special event during NHEW.

And my previous post on NHEW 2018:

Coming soon: NHEW (10-02-2018)

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