Dr. Michael Burgess

Meet Dr. Michael Burgess


Keywords: Deliberative public engagement, bioethics, deliberative democracy, health policy, science and technology studies

Profile(s): Faculty of Medicine – The W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics (School of Population and Public Health)

Current Positions:

  • Associate Provost, Strategy – The University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Kelowna BC
  • Professor – Faculty of Management, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC
  • Professor – Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC
  • Professor – School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC
  • Chair in Biomedical Ethics – W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC

Seeking Academic or Industry Partnerships in the Areas of:

The design and implementation of deliberative public engagement to inform policies in health, technology and public policy.

Education and Employment Background:

  • BA (Philosophy and Religion) – Spring Arbor College (Spring Arbor, Michigan)
  • MA, PhD (Philosophy-Medical Ethics) – University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Research Themes & Interests:

  • Public Engagement and Deliberation
  • Health Policy
  • Science Policy
  • Deliberative Democracy
  • Biobanking
  • Biotechnology and Ethics
  • Electronic health record research
  • AI, machine learning and big data

Dr. Burgess combines ethical and social theory with social science methods related to policy in health care, health research and biotechnology. He is primarily interested in identifying neglected or novel perspectives to assure that the theoretical approaches and recommendations engage with poorly understood or disenfranchised perspectives. The focus of his interdisciplinary collaboration is to engage various “publics” in dialogue about the role of health- and biotechnologies in society, to inform policy and to sustain continued discussion on important ethical issues.

Current Research & Collaborations:

Most recently Burgess’ research has focused on science and technology policy and public engagement based on theories of deliberative democracy. In collaboration with Kieran O’Doherty, His research has focused on developing approaches to public deliberation, with over 25 events in Canada, Australia the US. The majority of these deliberations have been on biobanks, the use of data in health systems and research, and funding decisions in health care. Current research projects, listed below, are all collaborative, interdisciplinary projects combining empirical and theoretical components. His research has been funded by SSHRC, CIHR, Genome Canada and Genome BC, as well as NGOs and industry contracts.

  • GoodAnimal: Animal Welfare for Sustainable Futures (Norway). PI: H Bjorkhaug. Research Council of Norway.
  • Improving Methods for Conducting Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (USA). Use of Public Deliberation in Diverse Communities to Improve Consent Processes for Clinical Research. PIs: AS Knopf & MA Ott (University of Indiana). PCORI-PFA-2018-Cycle 2
  • Public deliberation on the use of genetic editing technologies to modify populations of wild organisms in the shared environment. PI: Michael Gusmano. National Science Foundation (USA).
  • Cancer Control Deliberative public engagement to inform cancer control decision-making in Canada. SJ Peacock, MM Burgess, MD Sherar. CIHR PHSI
  • Filling the void: Public engagement around a new model for access to research resources. C. $405,185. PI: K McGrail. Co-PIs: M Burgess, K O’Doherty, S. Vercauteren.
  • Distinct concepts of diversity and their ethical-epistemic implications for science. PI: Daniel Steel, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Insight Grant.
  • Strategies to relieve suffering at end-of-life: A longitudinal study of healthcare policy and nursing practice in Canada PIs Barb Pesut, S. Thorne, CIHR
  • Promoting Ethical Design and Data Integrity for Cluster Trials: Issues of Consent. PI: Anita Ho. UBC cluster project
  • Silent Genomes: Reducing health care disparities and improving diagnostic success for children with genetic diseases from Indigenous populations. PIs: L Arbour, N Caron, WW Wasserman. Genome Canada Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition: Genomics and Precision Health.

Select Publications:

  • Pesut, B., Riding an elephant: A qualitative study of nurses’ moral journeys in the context of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Journal of Clinical Nursing. Accepted July 3, 2020
  • Steel, D., N. Bolduc, K. Jenei, M.M. Burgess. Rethinking Representation and Diversity in Deliberative Mini-Publics. Journal of Public Deliberation (renamed the Journal of Deliberative Democracy). Accepted November 2019.
  • Sarah Costa, C. Bentley, D. A. Regier, H. McTaggart-Cowan, C. Mitton, M. M. Burgess, S. J. Peacock (2019). Public perspectives on disinvestments in drug funding: results from a Canadian deliberative public engagement event on cancer drugs. BMC Public Health 19: 977. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7303-2
  • Burgess, MM, O’Doherty, KC (2019). Moving from understanding of consent conditions to heuristics of trust. American Journal of Bioethics 19, 5: 24-26. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15265161.2019.1587036
  • Mitton, C., Seixas, B.V., Peacock, S. M. M. Burgess, S. Bryan. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy (2019) 17(5): 573-576. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40258-019-00488-1
  • Pesut, B, M Greig, S Thorne, J Storch, M Burgess, C Tishelman, K Chambaere, R J R Janke (2019). Nursing and Euthanasia: A Narrative Review of the Nursing Ethics Literature. Nursing Ethics. In press.
  • O’Doherty, K C, MM Burgess (2019). Developing psychologically compelling understanding of the involvement of humans in research. Human Arenas special issue, “Theorizing relational research ethics from within – and for – practice”. 2 (6) 1-18. DOI: 10.1007/s42087-019-00066-w 
  • Colene Bentley, Stuart J Peacock, Julia Abelson, Michael M. Burgess, Olivier Demers-Payette; Holly Longstaff; Laura Tripp; John N. Lavis; Michael G. Wilson (2019). Addressing the affordability of cancer drugs: using deliberative public engagement to inform health policy. Health Research Policy and Systems. In press.
  • J. Teng, C. Bentley, M.M. Burgess, K.C. O’Doherty, K.M. McGrail (2019). Sharing linked data sets for research: results from a deliberative public engagement event in British Columbia, Canada. International Journal of Population Data Science 4(1): 13-25. https://ijpds.org/article/view/1103/2025
  • Aitken, Mhairi, MP Tully, C Porteous, S Denegri, S Cunningham-Burley, N Banner, C Black, MM Burgess, et al (31 authors). (2019). Consensus Statement on Public Involvement and Engagement with Data-Intensive Health Research. International Journal of Population Data Science 4(1), 1-6. https://ijpds.org/article/view/586/1032
  • Steel, Daniel, Sina Fazelpour, Kinley Gillette, Bianca Crewe, Michael M Burgess. Multiple Diversity Concepts and their Ethical-Epistemic Implications. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (2018), 8(3), 761-780. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13194-018-0209-5
  • Bentley, C., S. Costa, M. M. Burgess, D. Regier, H. McTaggart-Cowan, S. J. Peacock. Trade-offs, fairness, and funding for cancer drugs: key findings from a public deliberation event in British Columbia, Canada. BMC Health Services Research (2018), 18(1), 339. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-018-3117-7 
  • Michael Burgess, John Mumford, James Lavery. Public engagement pathways for emerging biotechnologies. BMC Proceedings (2018), 12(Suppl 8):12: 29-36.


  • Killam Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching (2000)


Email: michael.burgess@ubc.ca
Phone: 250–807–8216
Office: ADM119D

Administrative Building
1138 Alumni Avenue, 119 ADM
Kelowna, BC  V1V 1V7