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Episode #2: Changing the Narrative

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Rachel Cooper

Rachel Cooper, B.A., joins us to discuss her path to academia, the importance of diverse voices in bioethics, her decision to speak publicly about her mother's medically assisted death, the ups and downs of virtual learning at the graduate level, and so much more!


Rachel is a Master of Bioethics candidate at Harvard Medical School, and a Fulbright Canada Student award recipient. She received her Honours BA in social development studies from the University of Waterloo. Rachel’s academic interests include psychiatric ethics, medical education, patient engagement and qualitative research. She has been involved in many mental health initiatives across Ontario as an educator, researcher, advocate and leader. Rachel is energized by the pursuit of information and knowledge in all forms, but she particularly enjoys podcasts and documentary films. Beyond her work, Rachel spends most of her free time with her toddler nephew, who is teaching her new ways to be curious about the world. 



  • Rachel’s path to graduate studies

  • How clinical concepts can be at odds with personal experiences of the individual

  • The role that “starts and stops” had in finding her way in academia and her future career

  • Rachel’s work in patient engagement research and shifting from telling her story to creating space for others to tell theirs

  • #BlackBioethics on Twitter

  • Institutional humility: Race and systemic factors that impact health

  • The scope and practice of bioethics (a.k.a., what is bioethics)

  • Rachel’s article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) about her mother’s medically assisted death: how and why she wrote it

  • Virtual learning in graduate school

  • Finding community when starting a graduate program online

  • Creating balance when working/studying at home

  • Rachel’s advice on pursuing graduate school




Get the transcript of this episode HERE