Maxwell J. Smith

Assistant Professor
Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Maxwell J. Smith, PhD, is a Bioethicist and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Western University. Professor Smith is the Co-Director of Western’s Health Ethics, Law, and Policy (HELP) Lab and has appointments in the Department of Philosophy, Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion, and Institute for Earth and Space Exploration. Professor Smith is a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, Ontario’s COVID-19 Bioethics Table (which he previously co-chaired), Public Health Agency of Canada’s Public Health Ethics Consultative Group, World Health Organization’s (WHO) Ethics and COVID-19 Working Group, and WHO’s ACT Accelerator Ethics and Governance Working Group. He has also served as a consulting ethicist to organizations including the WHO, Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Professor Smith has published widely in the area of public health ethics, with a specific focus on the requirements of health equity and social justice when responding to infectious disease threats. His research has appeared in journals like the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Nature Medicine, BMJ Global Health, Vaccine, Social Science and Medicine, and Health and Human Rights, as well in guidance documents published by the World Health Organization.

Professor Smith completed a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University, a PhD in public health sciences, public health policy, and bioethics at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Joint Centre for Bioethics, an Master of Science in Bioethics at Union Graduate College and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, an Honours Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at the University of Toronto, and a Certificate in Health Law from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. 

Pandemic Related Publications

Emanuel EJ, Persad G, Upshur R, Thomé B, Parker M, Glickman A, Zhang C, Boyle C, Smith MJ, Phillips JP. (2020). Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19New England Journal of Medicine, 382(21): 2049-2055. 

World Health Organization Working Group on Ethics and COVID-19. (2020). Ethics & COVID-19: Resource Allocation and Priority Setting. Geneva: World Health Organization. WHO/RFH/20.2. 

Smith MJ, Upshur REG. (2019). Pandemic Disease, Public Health, and Ethics. In Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics, ed. Mastroianni AC, Kahn JP, Kass NE. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Silva DS, Smith MJ. (2020). Social Distancing, Social Justice, and Risk During the COVID-19 PandemicCanadian Journal of Public Health, 111: 459–461.

Google Scholar link to all publications:

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