HEC Forum

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 211-227

First online:

Beyond Trail Blazing: A Roadmap for New Healthcare Ethics Leaders (and the People Who Hire Them)

  • Cheryl ClineAffiliated withOffice of Bioethics, Queen’s UniversityKingston General Hospital Email author 
  • , Andrea FrolicAffiliated withHamilton Health SciencesDepartment of Family Medicine, McMaster University
  • , Robert SibbaldAffiliated withLondon Health Sciences Centre

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This article is intended to serve as a roadmap to help new healthcare ethics leaders establish or renew an ethics program in a healthcare organization. The authors share a systemic step-by-step process for navigating this early career passage. In this paper, we describe five critical success strategies and provide explanations and concrete tools to help get you on the road to success as quickly and painlessly as possible. We will discuss how to define your role; diagnose your organization’s needs; build important relationships; and develop a strategic plan for starting or revitalizing an ethics program. We also review some of the more personal challenges that may be encountered along the way, and identify social supports and self-care strategies. The advice we provide grows out of reflections on our collective experience as new ethics leaders in three Ontario healthcare organizations.


Ethics leadership Healthcare ethics roles Healthcare ethics program Ethics planning