Michael van Manen

Michael van Manen, MD, FRCPC, PhD is a neonatal intensivist at the University of Alberta & Stollery Children’s Hospitals, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, University of Alberta.

Research Program

Relational Ethics and Technology in Pediatrics

Scope of Work

When we speak of ethics in medicine, we tend to think of the moral correctness of certain actions and decisions. From an ethical perspective we may question whether a medical intervention is appropriate, or if to continue a particular treatment is good practice. Ethics, however, is more than a discipline dealing with what is good or bad decisions and actions. Ethics is founded in our relationships with others, originating from a questioning concern for whom or what is “other” to ourselves.

My research program attends to the relational ethics of the practice of pediatrics—which we may call “pedagogy.” Essentially, the pedagogy of pediatrics is concerned with the question, how ought we to care for this child? But this ethical-medical question is complicated by the fact that the child’s mother and/or father are also givers and receivers of the pedagogy of care.

Pediatric pedagogy and pediatric technology are intimately related as the use of technologies by and with children is wrought with ethical and often moral issues. In medical care, technologies may affect or compromise the relation between adult and child, impacting the way the adult (parent or health practitioner) experiences and responds to the child. Modern technologies also offer novel possibilities for children: facilitating and shaping their social interactions with others and creating new opportunities for action. This research program explores how the uses of medical technologies require of the pediatric practitioner to recognize and deal with pedagogical issues. Research Projects >>

Selected Publications

Van Manen, M., Hendson, L., Wiley, M., Evans, M., Taghaddos, S., & Dinu, I. (in press). Early childhood outcomes of infants born with gastroschisis. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. doi:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2013.01.021

Van Manen, M. (2012). The medium, the message, and the massage of the neonatal monitor screen. In: Van Den Eede, Y., Bauwens, J., Beyl, J., Van den Bossche, M., & Verstrynge, K. (Eds.), Proceedings of ‘McLuhan’s Philosophy of Media’ – Centennial Conference / Contact Forum, 26-28 October 2011. Brussels, BE: Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.

Van Manen, M. (2012). Technics of touch in the neonatal intensive care. Medical Humanities, 38(2), 91-96. doi:10.1136/medhum-2012-010204

Van Manen, M. (2012). Ethical responsivity and pediatric parental pedagogy. Phenomenology & Practice, 6(1), 5-17. Retrieved from http://www.phandpr.org/index.php/pandp/article/view/100

Van Manen, M., Bratu, I., Narvey, M., & Rosychuk, R.J. (2011). Use of paralysis in silo-assisted closure of gastroschisis. Journal of Pediatrics, 161(1), 125-128. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.12.043

Van Manen, M. (2012). Carrying: Parental experience of the hospital transfer of their baby. Qualitative Health Research, 22(2), 199-211. doi:10.1177/1049732311420447

Van Manen M. (2011). Looking into the neonatal isolette. Journal of Medical Ethics, Medical Humanities, 38(1), e4. doi:10.1136/medhum-2011-010061