The Ethics of Meconium Testing as Part of a Screening Toolkit for FASD

Last modified by Doug Maynard on 2012/10/19 17:03


The following information was part of session held in conjunction with the 12th Annual Fetal Alcohol Canadian Expertise (FACE) Research Roundtable on September 12th, at the Stanhope Beach Resort & Conference Centre, in Prince Edward Island.

Sponsored by:  The Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres FASD Steering Committee and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Symposium Co-Chairs:  
Dr. Stuart MacLeod, Professor, Paediatrics, Child and Family Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Dr. Gideon Koren, Professor of Paediatrics, Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Toronto, National Lead – The Motherisk Program at The Hospital for Sick Children and Fetal Alcohol Canadian Expertise – FACE

Meconium Testing is one of the screening methods identified as part of the newly developed National Screening Tool Kit for Children and Youth.  Meconium Testing has the capacity to identify fetal alcohol exposure through meconium sampling and testing post-natally.  This symposium will explore various aspects and implications of meconium testing.  Experts in related fields will present research as well as different perspectives on testing.  Participants will have an opportunity to actively engage in discussion on the epidemiology of FASD, the What and Why of testing, results from recent Canadian studies and the ethical legal considerations related to meconium testing.



Following the presentations, the audience continued to discuss recommendations and guiding principles for moving the issue of meconium testing forward.  At the 12th Annual FACE Research Roundtable the following day,  our moderator, Dr. Stuart MacLeod, presented a summary of the group's discussions.  

Click here to see the powerpoint of Dr. MacLeod's presentation.

Watch the Webinar:


Bernard M. Dickens LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D. (Law-Criminology), LL.D. (Medical Jurisprudence) (London), LL.D. 

Dr. Dickens is Professor Emeritus of Health Law and Policy in the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Medicine, and the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto.  He is Departmental Editor for Ethics of the American Journal of Public Health, legal articles co-editor of the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, co-editor of ethical and legal issues of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and a member of editorial boards of several journals including the American Journal of Law & Medicine, and Medicine and Law. He has been a member of the Board of Governors of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics, and is a former Society President.  He also chairs the Ethics Advisory Committee of the Public Health Agency of Canada.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Officer of the Order of Canada.  

Suzanne Tough MSc, PhD  Professor, Faculty of  Medicine, University of Calgary Scientific Director, Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research 

Dr. Tough is a Professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, and holds adjunct appointments at the University of Alberta and the University of Manitoba. She is also the Scientific Director of the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research. Dr. Tough’s research program seeks to improve the health and well-being of women during pregnancy. She has research interests in the application of research to policy, prenatal care, maternal mental health, fetal alcohol syndrome, vulnerable populations, delayed childbearing and reproductive technology and the influence of maternal well being on child outcomes. She is the principal investigator of the All Our Babies cohort. She is a co-leader of an interdisciplinary research team (Preterm Birth and Healthy Outcomes) funded by Alberta Innovated Health Solutions.

Anna Zadunayski is a Calgary-based ethicist, lawyer, and writer who has been a member of the Law Society of Alberta since 2003. 

Ms Zadunayski is the Clinical Ethicist at the Alberta Children's Hospital and Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, with a particular interest in perinatal and maternal-child ethics. Formerly the Editor of the Alberta Medico-Legal Reporter, she is presently completing her MSc (Health Research & Bioethics) in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine, with a focus on new modalities of newborn drug-metabolite screening, from a maternal health perspective. Her research interests include informed consent in medical decision-making and maternal and child health. Ms Zadunayski’s research is funded by the Alberta Law Foundation, and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute/AHFMR Provincial Program on Perinatal Determinants of Brain and Mental Health.

Joey Gareri, M.Sc., Manager, Motherisk Laboratory, Hospital for Sick Children

Mr. Garieri manages the Motherisk Laboratory in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology at the Hospital for Sick Children.  In addition to overseeing the laboratory’s clinical work, he is involved in conducting and directing research involving biomarker development of in utero substance exposure.  Mr. Garieri has a special interest in biomarkers of prenatal alcohol exposure, with the ultimate goal of early detection and intervention of individuals at risk for FASD.  He has presented his research involving toxicological analysis of newborns, children, and adults through numerous peer-reviewed publications and scientific meetings world-wide and is in the process of obtaining his PhD through the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto.

Moumita Sarkar, PhD University of Toronto with a collaborative degree in Addiction Medicine, and MSc from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto

Dr. Sarkar has over 10 years of professional experience in diverse areas such as health, education and prevention strategies.  This encompasses research, coordination, presentations and publications. Since 2000, she has held the position of Co-ordinator for the Alcohol and Substance Use Helpline with The Motherisk Program, Hospital for Sick Children.  Her doctoral thesis focused on use of evidence-based screening strategies to identify women exposed to alcohol and other recreational drugs. This led to the development of the maternal history guide that will be incorporated into a Canadian screening tool kit for FASD.

Kathryn Bigsby MD, FRCPC

Dr. Bigsby is consulting pediatrician at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, PEI since 1995.
She graduated from the University of Saskatchewan and practiced as a family doctor in Saskatchewan prior to pediatric training and joined the Dept of Pediatrics at the University of Saskatchewan.  Dr. Bigsby became interested in FASD in Saskatchewan, where the pattern of presentation is quite different from what she has observed in PEI. She has done pharmaceutical-sponsored research in the past; the Meconium Screening Project currently underway in PEI is the first project she has undertaken as part of the PEI perinatal research group.

Created by Doug Maynard on 2011/09/19 15:23