Dr. Fern Brunger
BA (Hons), MA, PhD
Professor of Health Care Ethics
Division of Community Health and Humanities
Fern Brunger is Professor of Health Ethics in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University. She is a medical anthropologist and ethicist with an active research agenda at the interface of bioethics and anthropology. She examines science, medicine, and bioethics as cultural systems, considering culture in its relation to power.
Dr. Brunger is a member of Memorial University’s Centre for Bioethics, teaching ethics in undergraduate and postgraduate medicine and in the Master of Health Ethics (MHE) programme. She provides graduate supervision and education to PhD, MSc, and MHE students in the Division of Community Health and Humanities.
Along with the other faculty ethicists, Dr. Brunger serves as a clinical ethics consultant to the province’s regional health authorities, through the Provincial Health Ethics Network of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dr. Brunger has had a long-standing interest in and commitment to advancing research ethics in the province and nationally. She has contributed to various national and provincial working groups and policy statements on research ethics, including CIHR’s Privacy Best Practices and CIHR’s Guidelines for Health Research Involving Aboriginal Peoples. She has served as a member of CIHR’s Standing Committee on Ethics and was a member of the board of the National Council for the Ethics of Health Research (NCEHR). Provincially, she was a member of the Health Research Ethics Authority Transition Team that established the innovative centralized provincial Health Research Ethics Board and was Senior chair of the board for the early years of its operation. For that work, she was recognized with Memorial University’s Marilyn Harvey Award for Research Ethics in 2015. She is currently chair of the Genetics/Genomics REB, co-Chair of the NonClinical Trials HREB, and represents the REBs chairs as ex-officio member of the Health Research Ethics Authority Board of Directors.
Research interests include: critical social studies of science, medicine, and bioethics; governance of research that poses collective risks; nationalism and identity politics.