I first met Kathy in August 2001 when, newly arrived in Montreal with a totally useless PhD in molecular genetics, I approached her, hat in hand, looking for a postdoctoral position in Biomedical Ethics. Actually, my hat wasn’t in hand- it was on my head- I had a week earlier accidentally carved a canyon in my scalp when I left the spacer off my electric razor. Apparently, Kathy wasn’t put off by my impertinent attire, and she hired me. That was the beginning of a beautiful mentorship and, years later, as the director of the Biomedical Ethics Unit, Kathy hired me as an Assistant Prof.
More than any one person I can think of, I owe Kathy my career. Kathy was a great teacher. She kindled in me- and others around her- a passion for research ethics, and a recognition of the way that science, method, law, and ethics constitute not separately contended arenas, but an integrated whole. After the life of her mentor- Benjy Freedman- was tragically cut short, Kathy picked up Benjy’s torch and led the Clinical Trial Research Group here at McGill. Together with her CTRG colleagues, Kathy published a series of landmark papers on such issues as the use of placebo comparators, risk and pediatric research, the (mis)conduct of duplicative trials, the testing of gene therapies- papers that belong in any respectable research ethics syllabus. I use them myself. Kathy led the CTRG- and for that matter, the BMEU- with fierce conviction and an unshakable fidelity to the weakest and most debilitated.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.