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In February 2017 the membership of the NI Ethics Forum voted to adopt a new constitution and elected 8 individuals to the council. The newly formed council will meet shortly whereupon three members of the council will be nominated as President, Treasurer and Secretary.


Executive Council Members:

President of the Forum: Breedagh Hughes – I am the President of the Royal College of Midwives in Northern Ireland and have been a longstanding member of the Forum’s council. I am currently the President of the Interim Council.

Treasurer: Nathan Emmerich – I have been a council member of the Forum for some time and have organised many of its recent events. I am a Research Fellow at Dublin City University (on a project about Medical Decision Making at the End of Life) and a Visiting Research Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast. I have a background in Philosophy and Bioethics, and my PhD was supervised by a medical sociology and it focused on medical ethics education and social reproduction. I have published on substantive topics in medical ethics as well as on more theoretical concerns regarding ethics education and expertise. @bioethicsuk

Secretary: TBC

Ordinary Council Members: 

Charlotte Blease – I have a PhD from Queen’s University Belfast. I am a philosopher of medicine, and Research Fellow at Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and the School of Philosophy, University College Dublin. I also have the status of Research Affiliate at the Program in Placebo Studies, Harvard Medical School. I have published in a wide range of journals including BMJ, Journal of Medical Ethics, Bioethics, Review of General Psychology. In 2012 I was one of BBC Radio 4’s Next Generation Thinkers. @crblease

Rachel Campbell – I am a doctor working as an ST3 trainee in Palliative Medicine and have a strong interest in medical ethics. Ethics forms a significant component of my day-to-day work and is one aspect of palliative medicine that drew me to the speciality. I am starting out in my career and I am therefore keen to get involved in exploring the field of ethics in further detail. I feel I would have a lot to bring to the council with my foundation in clinical medicine, particularly considering ethical issues around end of life care, and I also feel I would learn a lot from others from a diverse range of backgrounds and fields.

Joanne Donnelly – I am a solicitor by training and I currently work for the General Medical Council (GMC) as their Northern Ireland Employer Liaison Adviser – responsibilities include advising medical directors on thresholds for referral of doctors to the GMC and involvement in policy development. I consider the work of the forum to be extremely valuable and I am really keen to help ensure the continued success of the forum.

Edwina Hegarty – I am an SHO in General medicine and I have been interested in ethics since I was a medical student when I completed modules such as “ethics in paediatrics” and “reproductive technology”. Since starting work, I have come to realise just how much ethics influences our clinical decisions and day-to-day patient care, particularly in the cases of DNACPR decisions. Similarly ensuring patient autonomy and decisions making capacity while ensuring good patient centred care and managing expectations is a central to ethical medical practice. I believe learning how to apply ethical principles is essential for good medical practice and it only by becoming comfortable discussing these issues that we can become more proficient and better clinicians.

George Kernohan – I am a Professor of Health Research in the School of Nursing at Ulster University. I have a long-standing interest in ethics. In particular, I have 10 years experience with the local office for Research Ethics Committees in Northern Ireland, chair the Institute of Nursing and Health Research “filter” committee and co-chair the Northern Ireland Hospice Joint Research Committee. I am interested to develop ideas and policy on disclosure vs confidentiality in health research. @ProfessorPlay

Una St Ledger – I am the Nursing Development Lead for Adult Critical Care in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and have recently completed my PhD at the Centre for Experimental Research at Queens University Belfast. Funded by an R&D Fellowship Award from the Public Health Agency my study concerned the concept of moral distress in the context of end-of-life care and decision-making in the ICU. @UnaLedger