November 2020 What I’m Thinking About

bill mckellin

Patient Engagement and Patient Centred-Communication: Providing Information or Facilitating Learning?

William McKellin

Dept. of Anthropology and Associate Chair,
Behavioural Research Ethics Board, UBC

Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Zoom ID: For connection details, please email


Increasingly patients and parents of patients are included in medical decision-making and medical research. This is apparent the popular press, in funding agency guidelines such as the recent CIHR SPOR initiatives, and in collaborative doctor-patient treatment strategies. Patients are even receiving courses and certification in “patient engagement”. The need to inform patients and research participants is fundamental in clinical care and research. A fundamental question at the root of these endeavors is, how is information exchanged by medical professionals and patients? This presentation examines basic communication models encountered in clinician-patient interaction.


Prof. Bill McKellin, PhD is a medical, social, and linguistic anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, who has conducted research in Papua New Guinea, South Africa, and Canada. In addition to his teaching in the Anthropology Department, he was a curriculum consultant and an Associate Directory of the Doctor, Patient, and Society Courses in the UBC Faculty of Medicine MD program. His research in Papua New Guinea has focussed on families and language pragmatics in small group communications. In Canada, his research has examined the impact of genetic testing and chronic conditions on families.  This has included studies on the impact of genetic testing on families with Huntington Disease. He also examined the development of hereditary cancer programs and was a member of the Steering Committee of the Hereditary Cancer Program at the British Columbia Cancer Agency. More recent research has focussed on communication in pediatric intensive care, continuity of care for children with chronic conditions, and the impact of rare diseases and developmental disabilities on children and their families. He was a co-founder of the Rare Disease Foundation. In addition to his research he is also the Associate Chair of the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board.

Accredited by UBC CPD




The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 15 Mainpro+ Group Learning credits (1.5 per session). Each physician should claim only those credits accrued through participation in the activity. CFPC Session ID#: 192711-001

RCPSC Accreditation

The CHES Cutting Edge Speaker Series is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.