Previous Projects

Dr. Jude Kornelsen also conducts qualitative research in the areas of medical decision-making and modalities of birth.

Modalities of Birth

We are currently witnessing changes in our cultural and practical understanding of childbirth, resulting in a higher rate of interventions and lower rates of vaginal deliveries. As a response to this phenomenon there is a small movement of women who are choosing to labour unassisted, without any medical intervention, assistance, or presence.

Patient Initiated Elective Caesarean Section

Jude Kornelsen and Eileen Hutton were funded by the Canadian Insistutes of Health Research and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research to investigate patient-initiated caesarean section (PIECS). Four papers were published from the results of this study.

Unassisted Home Birth

Jude Kornelsen’s more recent study looking at modalities of birth is on the opposite end of the spectrum. She is currently undergoing an investigation into the decision-making process of women and their families who choose to give birth unassisted, without a doctor or midwife present.


Medical Decision Making

Principal Investigators Jude Kornelsen (University of British Columbia) and Chloë Atkins (University of Calgary) with co-investigators Robert Woollard (UBC) and Keith Brownell (U of C) have been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study the best ethical practices in managing uncertainty in medical diagnosis.

This qualitative exploratory investigation will consider practitioner and patient response to the phenomenon of Medically Undiagnosed Physical Symptoms (MUPS) from the perspective of a trans-disciplinary team including social scientists, a general practitioner, and a specialist clinician.

The goal of this ethics-framed research is to examine how clinicians and patients conceptualize medical uncertainty within a disease-based framework.

This study is now closed, and reporting of the findings is now underway.


Atkins CGK, Brownell K, Kornelsen J, Wollard R, Whiteley A. Silos of Silence, Stress and Suffering: Patient And Physician Experiences of MUPS and Diagnostic Uncertainty. American Journal of Bioethics: Neurosciences, AJOB Neuroscience, 2013; 4(3): 3-8.


Past Projects