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Research Ethics Considerations for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in Health Research

April 6, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm



This event is co-hosted by the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards (CAREB-ACCER) and the Vector Institute.


Questions are emerging around the ethics associated with the use of big data, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) in health research. While efforts on the technical side of AI move forward, and institutional appetite for AI deployment within care settings increases, work remains around the frameworks, policy, and legislation in place for the ethical review and oversight of research involving AI and ML.

In the absence of established legal frameworks, policy, or practice standards that specifically guide research ethics review and oversight of AI and ML-enabled studies, it is imperative to build research ethics board (REB) capacity to anticipate and address issues uniquely associated with rapid advances in technological capabilities and novel applications. It is equally important for researchers and technologists applying AI within the health space to understand REB review requirements and considerations.

This discussion invites an interdisciplinary look at how algorithmic tools are designed and used in health research. The conversation will broach many of the crucial ethical issues surrounding AI applications such as privacy, bias, accountability, and autonomy in an accessible way so as to inform ongoing discussions related to the development of standards, cases, precedence, and resources to be used in REB decision-making processes.



  • Delilah Ofosu-Barko, Director, Research Operations, Trillium Health Partners; President, Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards (2020 – 2022)
  • Dr. Anna Goldenberg, CIFAR AI Chair; Associate Research Director – Health, Vector Institute; Senior Scientist in Genetics and Genome Biology, SickKids Research Institute; Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto; Varma Family Chair in Biomedical Informatics and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Dr. Jay Shaw, Research Director, Artificial Intelligence, Ethics & Health, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics; Scientist, Women’s College Hospital; Member, Ethics Review Board, Public Health Ontario.
  • Dr. Melissa McCradden, Bioethicist, Department of Bioethics, SickKids; Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health; Project Investigator – Genetics & Genome Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children


Facilitated by:

Dr. Rachel Zand, Director, Human Research Ethics, University of Toronto.



headshot of Delilah Ofosu-BarkoDelilah Ofosu-Barko is passionate about the education, engagement and promotion of health research. She is recognized as a national and international solution-focused leader in Research Administration with over 13 years of experience enabling supports and services for health research and health improvement, including the tools, processes and approaches to effectively manage research and improvement activities at the corporate, provincial and national level. Leading Research Operations at Trillium Health Partners, Delilah is enhancing the enabling services available to researchers. She is the current President and an active member of the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards. Delilah lends her expertise to the Peel Institute on Violence Prevention as a Senior Research Advisor and Scientific Committee Member. Previously, she served as a Research Methods Tutor and Guest Lecturer for the Mississauga Academy of Medicine.




Headshot of Dr. Anna GoldenbergDr. Anna Goldenberg is a Senior Scientist in Genetics and Genome Biology program at SickKids Research Institute, in 2018 she was appointed the first Varma Family Chair in Biomedical Informatics and Artificial Intelligence. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, faculty member and an Associate Research Director, Health at Vector Institute and Canadian AI Chair at CIFAR, as well as a member of CIFAR’s Child and Brain Development group. Dr Goldenberg trained in machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University, with a post-doctoral focus in computational biology and medicine. The current focus of her lab is on developing machine learning methods that capture heterogeneity in complex human diseases as well as developing risk prediction and early warning clinical systems. Dr Goldenberg is strongly committed to creating responsible AI to benefit patients across a variety of conditions.



Headshot of Melissas McCraddenDr. Melissa McCradden is a Bioethicist at The Hospital for Sick Children and a Project Investigator with the Genetics & Genome Biology at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Learning & Excellence. She co-teaches Empirical Bioethics as an Assistant Professor at Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She holds a PhD in Neuroscience (McMaster University) and a Master’s in Bioethics from the University of Toronto. She was the inaugural postdoctoral fellow in the Ethics of AI in Healthcare with SickKids and Vector Institute. She has published on algorithmic bias, responsible clinical evaluation of healthcare machine learning, and clinical integration of AI. She participates in the CONSORT and SPIRIT AI Working Group which created the reporting guidelines for AI clinical trials, and is involved with a number of other reporting guideline initiatives for health AI. Her research focuses on paediatric bioethics and the ethics of healthcare machine learning and precision medicine. 


headshot of Jay ShawDr. Jay Shaw is a Scientist at the Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care, and Research Director of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Ethics & Health at the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. Jay has a Status Appointment as Assistant Professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at University of Toronto. Jay sits on the Ethics Review Board at Public Health Ontario, and has an active program of research in the ethics of artificial intelligence for health care.




headshot of Rachel ZandDr. Rachel Zand has over 17 years of experience as Director, Human Research Ethics at the University of Toronto, managing its human participant protections program, and has held membership on several institutional committees and boards including the University’s Research Ethics Boards (REBs), Institutional Biosafety Committee and Governing Council’s Academic Board. She chaired the Research in Research Ethics Working Group (RE2) and the TAHSN REB Administrators’ Working Group, harmonizing processes between the University and Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network hospitals.

Rachel has provided service to the research ethics community, serving on the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards (CAREB) Board of Directors from 2007-2017. In 2017, she received the CAREB President’s Award to acknowledge her deep involvement in the organization. She was also a member of the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) Education Committee. Rachel currently co-chairs the Sensitive Data Experts Group of Portage, developing guidance for researchers and REBs on collection, retention, access and use of sensitive data.    


Rachel graduated in 2001 from the University of Toronto with a PhD in Nutritional Sciences. In her free time she is an avid runner and bootcamper. 



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