World Medical Association Appoints New Head Of Medical Ethics

Professor John Williams, Director of Ethics at the Canadian Medical Association for the past 12 years, is to take up a new post at the World Medical Association.

He is to head up a new medical ethics unit launched by the WMA. The unit will operate from the WMA's headquarters in Ferney-Voltaire, France and will work closely with the WMA's national medical association members.

Dr Delon Human, secretary general of the WMA, said the association had a long and rich history of developing medical ethics for physicians around the world, at the heart of which was the Declaration of Helsinki on medical research. Its new ethics unit would be an extension of that work.

In addition to his position at the Canadian Medical Association, Professor Williams has been Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, since 1993. From 1986 to 1991 he was Principal Research Associate at the Center for Bioethics, Clinical Research Institute of Montreal, and Research Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal.

He has taught in the Department of Religious Studies and the Faculty of Medicine of Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Faculties of Religious Studies and Medicine of McGill University and the Department of Religion of Concordia University, Montreal. From January to June 1999 he was Visiting Foreign Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Professor Williams has an M.A. (Philosophy) from the University of Toronto, a Ph.D. (Theology) from the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto, and a Doctorat ès Sciences Religieuses from the University of Strasbourg, France.

He is the author, co-author or editor of seven books, over 150 articles and reviews, and continuing professional development courses on ethics for South African physicians and dentists offered by the South African Medical Association's Foundation for Professional Development.

Professor Williams' current research interests in bioethics include medical professionalism, regulation of assisted reproduction, health care priority setting and allocation of resources, relationships of physicians and the pharmaceutical industry, theories of bioethics, and the international dimensions of bioethics.