Casual Conversation with Ray Saginur

After last month’s successful (37 participants at the height) Casual Conversation with Paul Tuhus sharing tips and answering questions about travel, we take a trip across the border into Canada for classmate and Ottawa resident Ray Saginur, M.D., to lead a discussion on Ethics and Covid-19.  Ray, as his description of the upcoming session and his bio attest, is trained in both infectious disease and ethics.  While a pandemic is the worst of times for the world, it is fortunate that we have someone whose expertise is uniquely suited to the occasion.  

Please join us on Sunday, April 25, at 3 pm Eastern (US).  RSVP by close of business on Friday, April 23 to , and you will be added to a Zoom invite to be issued shortly thereafter.


"I am now a retired infectious diseases physician (by training) and research ethicist (by happenstance). I  chair the Ottawa Health Sciences Research Ethics Board (Canadian for ‘IRB’), and serve as a director of the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, a London-based organization. I have been a director and have led a number of voluntary organizations related to infectious diseases and clinical research.

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised a number of ethical and public policy issues. An ethical lens helps to inform the discussion and allows the informed citizen an opportunity to better approach personal decisions and understand the big picture. I thought I would go over briefly selected aspects of the COVID outbreak from an ethical lens. Then we could talk about politics and pandemics.

One last comment. I was recently involved in an international webinar, where a Nigerian presenter stated that masks were readily adopted by that population because of a sense of social solidarity."

Bio for Raphael Saginur, MD, FRCPC, FIDSA, FISAC

Dr. Saginur is a retired Infectious Disease physician at the Ottawa Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He serves as chair of the Ottawa Health Science Network Research Ethics Board.

He graduated from Dartmouth College (A.B., 1969) and the Faculty of Medicine, McGill University (M.D.C.M., 1973) and  trained in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases, and Medical Microbiology at McGill and Tufts Universities, the latter under Drs. John Bartlett and Sherwood Gorbach. He began his independent career at the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University in Montreal, moving to the Ottawa Civic Hospital (now The Ottawa Hospital) and the University of Ottawa in 1983.

In the area of Infectious Diseases, he was involved in clinical trials and laboratory studies mostly related to bacterial infections. He provided infectious disease consultation in Ottawa and  to remote First Nations communities in northwestern Ontario.  He served as President of the Canadian Foundation for Infectious Diseases and was President of the 26th International Congress of Chemotherapy in Toronto in 2009. He is Treasurer of the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and a Director of the Society. He has been actively involved in the public health-infectious diseases interface in areas such as emergency preparedness, travel medicine and antibiotic resistance and stewardship. He was the first Chair of the Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Dr. Saginur was the founding President of the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards and led the initial development of the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board, of which he chaired the Governance Committee. He served as a director of Clinical Trials Ontario. He sat on the Standing Committee on Ethics of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is actively involved in studies of research ethics, particularly around areas of consent and impact of innovative clinical trials designs.

He has been honoured with Meritorious Membership of the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and the President’s Award of the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards.