Introductory Text

Who We Are

NSHEN is Nova Scotia's Health Ethics Network.  It provides comprehensive ethics support to the province's district health authorities and the Department of Health and Wellness.  NSHEN operates as an innovative, dynamic collaboration of Nova Scotia's ten district health authorities, government (Department of Health and Wellness) and academia (Dalhousie University).

To learn more about the collaborating partners of the Network, the Network operations team, the Advisory Council members, how the Network came to be, and answers to other questions you may have about the Network, click on the left hand menu.

Identity Statement

Building Capacity for Ethical Practice

Building awareness, sensitivity, knowledge, and confidence for integrating ethics into what we do every day.

– Through –


Creating opportunities to talk, share, consult, and for diverse voices to be included and heard.


Committing, and being open to exploring new ways, to work together.

Critical Reflection

Challenging values, assumptions, norms, interests, choices, and processes from a diversity of perspectives.


Fostering innovative approaches to ethical process and practice.


A number of converging factors influenced and directed the development of the Nova Scotia Health Ethics Network (NSHEN). Increasing attention to ethics in accreditation, for example, was putting pressure on District Health Authorities and the IWK Health Centre to find appropriate ways to meet these standards. At the same time, the Department of Health (now the Department of Health and Wellness) expressed interest in developing ethics-informed decision-making frameworks for key projects. And, correspondingly, the Dalhousie University Department of Bioethics was receiving an increasing number of requests for ethics support which were beginning to exceed its capacity to respond.

In 2005, these converging factors lead to the establishment of a provincial working group with representatives from the District Health Authorities, IWK Health Centre and the Department of Health and Wellness. Dr. Christy Simpson and Dr. Jeff Kirby with the Department of Bioethics were invited by the working group to develop a model for provincial ethics support. It was clearly acknowledged by all that a workable model would establish common and consistent approaches to ethics, where appropriate, and be able to reflect the common and unique contexts within the province.

In June 2007, the Council of CEOs, the Deputy Minister for the Department of Health (now the Department of Health and Wellness), and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine for the Department of Bioethics signed a Memorandum of Understanding which created the Nova Scotia Health Ethics Network. As such, the network represents a unique collaboration in the province between academia, the health regions, and the Department of Health.

In November 2007, the NSHEN Advisory Council was formally established, with Lewis Bedford as the Chair. This signified the effective transition of NSHEN from concept, through implementation, and ultimately, to operations, effective January 3, 2008.

In 2012, NSHEN's first 5 year MOU expired. After discussions with all health districts, IWK Health Centre, DoHW and Dalhousie University, NSHEN's MOU was renewed for another 5 years.

Operations Team

Working together as the Operations Team at NSHEN, we collaborate closely to manage all Network requests, projects, and events.

Meet our Operations Team


The FAQ page attempts to capture and respond to some of the most frequently asked questions about NSHEN as a further introduction to the Network and its activities.

Get your questions answered


Our mailing address

Dept of Bioethics, Dalhousie University
5849 University Ave
Rm C313, CRC Bldg, Po Box 15000
Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2

Phone:  902-494-4038

Fax:  902-494-7388

Do you have an ethics-related request or question for NSHEN?

If so, please contact the NSHEN Advisory Council representative for your 'area' (your District Health Authority, the IWK Hospital, the provincial Department of Health and Wellness).

Please note: all requests are kept confidential.

For general NSHEN information contact the NSHEN Administrator directly:

Krista Mleczko-Skerry

(902) 494-4038