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CAUT Bulletin Archives

September 2002

CAUT Clinical Task Force Starts WorkCAUT Clinical Task Force Starts Work

CAUT's new task force on academic freedom for faculty at university-affiliated health care institutions held its inaugural meeting in Ottawa at the end of August. Task force chair, Dr. Philip Welch, characterized the task force's goal as trying to assure that faculty at affiliated institutions have the same protections for academic freedom as traditional university academic staff.

"Academic freedom for clinical researchers is essential for the protection and safeguarding of the public interest," Welch said. "As we saw in the Olivieri case, there was an attempt to suppress her freedom to share her findings with patients and the scientific community. This is unacceptable."

The immediate work of the task force will be to examine the state of protections for academic freedom and tenure at universities and affiliated health care institutions across Canada.

The task force anticipates publishing the findings of this survey, as well as preparing a report with recommendations on how to strengthen academic freedom protections in hospitals, research centres and other health care institutions affiliated to universities.

Joining Welch on the task force are Alan Jackson, professor of medicine at Queen's; Gordon Guyatt, professor of medicine at McMaster; Carol Cass, chair of oncology at Alberta and associate director of research at the Cross Cancer Institute; and Derryck Smith, psychiatrist-in-chief, the Children's and Women's Health Centre of British Columbia, and president of the UBC Clinical Faculty Association.