Early Career Investigator Award

Nominations are CLOSED

2020 Early Career Investigator Award Recipient:

Dr. Jennifer Bell

Dr. Jennifer A.H. Bell is a bioethicist and psychosocial oncology researcher at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada. She is an Assistant Professor (status only) in the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and Member of the Joint Centre for Bioethics. Jennifer received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy specializing in bioethics from the University of Toronto, a master’s degree in philosophy and biomedical ethics from McGill University, and a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies (bioethics and psychosocial oncology) from the University of British Columbia. She is an alumni of the CIHR Psychosocial Oncology Research Training (PORT), and Ethics of Health Research and Policy Training Programs.

Jennifer’s program of research addresses urgent ethical issues at the frontier of psychosocial oncology and cancer care through the use of empirical and normative bioethics, critical and feminist methodologies, and qualitative and mixed-methods. Innovative discovery, precision medicine, and breakthrough therapies are fast emerging as sources of hope for people with cancer. These revolutionary advances in cancer care also pose significant ethical issues for professionals and patients, such as equitable access, safeguarding the vulnerable from known and potential harms, especially those facing limited treatment options, as well as the emergence of new ethical dilemmas that often accompany complex medical innovation. Jennifer’s current research addresses ethical issues at the forefront of complex decisions in cancer care, with specific research aims under the themes of novel therapeutics, clinical trials, and medical assistance in dying. Jennifer’s research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Colorectal Cancer Canada, University of Toronto, and the Global Institute of Psychosocial, Palliative and End-of-Life Care.

This award, supported by CIHR – Institute of Cancer Research, honours a new investigator for outstanding contributions to research in the field of psychosocial oncology. Candidates must be within seven years of completing their postgraduate, fellowship or equivalent specialist training (defined as a PhD or MD or equivalent). Please note times of prolonged leave (e.g. medical leave, maternity leave, compassionate leave) should not be counted towards the seven years.

Recipients are distinguished by the level and quality of research output at this early career stage.


  • The nominee must be within seven years of completing his or her highest level of training (e.g., graduate training, medical or postdoctoral fellowship, or equivalent specialist training).
  • Eligibility is limited to members in good standing of CAPO (for at least one year prior to the nomination).
  • Award recipients must register and attend the annual CAPO conference (in person or virtually) in order to be eligible.

Application Criteria

  • Nominator must be a CAPO Member (Regular, Affiliate, Retired) in good standing.
  • Application for the award will consist of:
    • A confidential letter of nomination from the nominator.
    • One letter of support from other individuals to whom the nominee is known, also specifying why the nominee meets the award description above (supporters need not be CAPO members).
    • Complete curriculum vitae, with details of specific termination dates of degrees and post-graduate training.
    • Statement from the nominee, not to exceed 500 words, highlighting significant research accomplishments in the area of psychosocial oncology.

Application Process

  • Complete nomination packages must be submitted electronically to the Chair(s) of the Awards Committee (c/o the CAPO office) by no later than May 15, 2020. Submissions should be in PDF format – in one file.
    Please submit to:
  • Nominations and supporting documentation can be submitted in either French or English.
  • The Awards Committee will invite members of the CAPO Board (barring those with real or perceived conflicts of interest) to review the nominations and vote for a recipient of the award. In the event of a tie vote, the last three CAPO past presidents, excluding the immediate past president (who are clear of any conflict of interest) will review the tied nominations and vote amongst themselves to select a winner.
  • If no suitable recipients are nominated, no award will be given.
  • There is no monetary value to this award.

Past Winners

  • 2019 – Dr. Sheila Garland (NL)
  • 2018 – Dr. Sylvie Lambert (QC)
  • 2017 – Dr. Shane Sinclair (AB)
  • 2016 – Dr. Jennifer Brunet (ON)
  • 2015 – Dr. Sophie Lebel (ON)

The Canadian Association of
Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO)

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