Maxwell J. Smith, PhD

Assistant Professor

Room 331, HSB
519 661-2111 x88589
Google Scholar
ORCID: 0000-0001-5230-0548


  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (McGill University)
  • PhD (University of Toronto)
  • MSc (Union Graduate College & the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai)
  • BA (Hons.) (University of Toronto)
  • Certificate in Health Law (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University)

Graduate Program Supervision

  • Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, MSc | PhD
  • Health Information Sciences, MSc
  • Philosophy, MA | PhD

Research In Profile

Professor Smith’s programme of research is in the area of public health ethics—a sub-field of bioethics—which seeks to examine the ethical dimensions of public health policy and practice. His research in this domain involves the critical investigation of how ethical considerations, ethical issues, and ethical reasoning are, and ought to be, approached and addressed in public health policy, practice, and research. Within this programme, professor Smith’s research falls into the following areas:

  1. Infectious disease ethics, namely, how to think about and integrate ethics into public health emergency preparedness and response
  2. Health equity and social justice, namely, investigating the ethical dimensions of these ‘core values’ and how they ought to be operationalized in public health, health care, and health policy

In addition to these two areas that capture the principal foci of professor Smith’s programme of research, his research regularly investigates a number of other emerging issues in public health ethics and bioethics, including in the areas of organ donation, termination of pregnancy, health care decision-making, and artificial intelligence..

Featured Publications and Projects

Visit Google Scholar for a comprehensive list of publications.

Current Grants and Research Projects

  • Smith MJ, Upshur R, Ahmad A, Bah Sow O, da Costa Thomé B, Dawson A, Iliyasu Z, Lei R, Silva D, Voo TC. “Ethical Pathways for Therapeutics and Vaccine R&D in the Context of Public Health Emergencies of International Concern: An Analysis of the 2013-16 Ebola Outbreak to Rapidly Inform COVID-19 R&D”. Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

  • Smith MJ, Smith B, King N, Harper S, Rosella L, Siddiqi A, Viens AM, Quiñonez CR, Ndumbe-Eyoh S. “Establishing a Relationship Between Philosophy and Epidemiological Research and Practice: Modelling Ethical Standards of Health Equity (MESHE)”. Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

  • Gold IJ, Goldenberg MJ, Perez-Gay Juarez F, Smith MJ, Vang Z, Weinstock DM. “Reducing COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Canadian Immigrants”. Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Graduate Student Opportunities

I am accepting master’s and doctoral students with an interest and background in bioethics. Of particular interest are students seeking to pursue research in public health ethics, infectious disease ethics, and the ethical dimensions of pursuing health equity and social justice in public health and health care.


Additional Information

Academic Appointments and Research Affiliations

  • Cross Appointment - Department of Philosophy, Western University
  • Cross Appointment – Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Western University
  • Cross Appointment – Schulich Interfaculty Program in Public Health, Western University
  • Assistant Professor (status) - Division of Clinical Public Health & Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto
  • Associate Director, Rotman Institute of Philosophy
  • Associate Director, Health Ethics, Law, & Policy (HELP) Lab
  • Faculty, Institute for Earth and Space Exploration
  • Member, Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (CRHESI)
  • Faculty, Global Health Equity Hub
  • Faculty, Complex Adaptive Systems Lab

Media Highlights


  • Canadian Association of University Teachers and Harry Crowe Foundation Olivieri Lectureship on Medical Ethics (2021)

Professional Activities

  • Member and Rapporteur, World Health Organization COVID-19 Ethics and Governance Working Group
  • Member, Public Health Agency of Canada Public Health Ethics Consultative Group
  • Member, Advisory Committee for the Annual Report of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Consulting Ethicist, Health Ethics Alliance, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Member, Canadian Institutes of Health Research College of Reviewers