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April 7, 2021

Professor, students work to build a fairer, healthier world

Professor and student group focus on health law and policy
Professor Lorian Hardcastle

Professor Lorian Hardcastle

April 7 is World Health Day, a global day created by the World Health Organization to address health issues experienced around the world.

Dr. Lorian Hardcastle's research focuses on health law and policy, with a particular emphasis on the regulation of the health care delivery system, accountability and governance in the health sector, public health law, and the regulation of health professionals. On the theme for this year's World Health Day, "Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone", Lorian has been involved in several COVID-19 related projects that consider global health equity issues. For example, she has written on the concerns with vaccine nationalism and the just distribution of the benefits of biotechnology. Lorian is also involved in a province-wide project on antimicrobial resistance, which is one of the most pressing public health issues facing the world today.  

In addition to her work on global health equity issues, Lorian’s research also considers fairness within the Canadian health care system. For example, she has written on the equity issues raised by COVID-19, such as the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on migrant workers and those living in long-term care. Lorian is a frequent commentator on Alberta’s health system reforms, including the implications of those reforms on equitable access to health care services. For example, she has commented extensively on private health care and fairness, along with equitable access to services such as virtual care and dental care.    

University of Calgary Health Law Association

The Health Law Association (HLA) is a student run club at the University of Calgary, founded in 2018. The purpose of the HLA is to generate, foster and develop student interest in the field of health law. With the goal or creating a platform for the exchange of knowledge and ideas to discuss current issues regarding health policy, bioethics, medical malpractice, and mental health. 

An important topic that the HLA has strived to cover is that of the social determinants of health, which has become especially important in the context of COVID-19. In February 2021, the HLA joined Queen’s University Faculty of Law in their Human Rights Conference, where two members of the UCalgary faculty, Lorian Hardcastle and Jennifer Koshan, discussed how COVID-19 disproportionately impacts certain groups due to the Social Determinants of Health. With events such as these, the HLA hopes to shed light on how addressing societal disparities can lead to a more equitable health care system in Canada.

In addition, the HLA explores health law related careers through a variety of educational and social events aimed at expanding student’s awareness of health law opportunities. The HLA also aims to serve as an academic and professional resource for Association members and for the greater community.