This 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.

1. How do we contact NSHEN?

Please contact the NSHEN Advisory Council representative for your ‘area’ (your District Health Authority, the IWK Hospital, the provincial Department of Health and Wellness) – Click below for relevant phone numbers and e-mail addresses for representatives:


2. Is NSHEN unique in Canada?

Yes, NSHEN is unique. It was the second health ethics network established in Canada and is the first to be based on a collaboration governance structure. The Nova Scotia District Health Authorities, Nova Scotia’s Department of Health and Wellness, and Dalhousie University all provide funding or personnel for the network as well as direction for its activities. This structure ensures that NSHEN is responsive to capacity-building needs across the province and helps to facilitate networking and cooperation between various collaborating partners.

3. Does NSHEN’s mandate include research ethics support?

In short, the answer is no. This decision was made on the basis of: a) the identified ‘priority’ ethics needs at the district and provincial levels; b) appreciation of the breadth and scope of providing research ethics review; and c) the possibilities for a workable and achievable approach for ethics support.

4. The ethics committee in our district receives requests from long term care facilities for ethics consultations and education. Should such requests now be directed to nshen for response?

The Network was established as a collaboration among the DHAs and IWK Health Centre; the Department of Health and Wellness; and the Dalhousie Department of Bioethics, with a primary focus on providing ethics support to those organizations. It was decided by the Council of CEOs that the provision of ethics support to the LTC sector would be provided through the districts, who would decide how best to include and respond to sector and/or individual LTC facility needs. You are encouraged to discuss this with your own ethics committee and senior leadership.

5. We need an ethical framework to help us decide how to allocate program funding. What can the network do to help us?

There are a variety of ways in which NSHEN can be of assistance. One (or more) of the ethicists can work with you to develop an ethics-informed framework for resource allocation. Relevant education and training related to the use of the framework and/or ethics issues that arise in resource allocation can also be provided, as well as facilitation of the use of the framework. And, as a resource for the province, NSHEN will be able to collect and distribute relevant ethics work (with permission) that is already done or being done to help minimize duplication of effort. A framework for resource allocation, for example, has already been developed as part of the Ethics Collaboration with Capital Health which could be used or modified as needed.

6. What are some ways that you will deliver education sessions to our organizations?

There are a variety of ways in which NSHEN can deliver education sessions. As mentioned above, there are telehealth ethics sessions and other video presentations that have been recorded and are available to view online (see our Video Library under Ethics Resources). NSHEN can also design and deliver ethics talks specifically for your organization. These could be for particular groups, e.g., ethics committee members, health care professionals, managers, leadership, etc. or could be for a general or mixed audience. The talks could be offered as a “special ethics event” or as part of an Ethics Day in your district or department.