Tim Caulfield

Timothy Caulfield

Professor of Health Law and Science Policy | Bestselling Author

Professor Timothy Caulfield is an unrivalled communicator who debunks myths and assumptions about innovation in the health sector — from research on stem cells to diets and alternative medicine — for the benefit of the public and decision-makers. He is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and the Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.

Over the past several years, Caulfield has been involved in a variety of interdisciplinary research endeavours that have led him to publish more than 350 academic articles. His research focuses on topics like stem cells, genetics, research ethics, and the public representations of science and health policy issues. Caulfield has won numerous academic, science communication, and writing awards, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Caulfield also writes frequently for the popular press and is the author of several bestselling books, including The Cure for Everything; Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash; and, most recently, Relax, Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety.

In addition, Caulfield is the co-founder of the science engagement initiative, #ScienceUpFirst. He is also the host and co-producer of the award-winning documentary TV show, A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, which aired in over 60 countries and is currently streaming on Netflix in North America.


The Science of Celebrity… Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?

Celebrities are everywhere! And this matters. Seriously. Research shows that popular culture has a profound influence on people’s health and that our ideals of beauty and success are framed by a celebrity-dominated worldview.

In this fun and provocative presentation, Timothy Caulfield will examine what science tells us about the influence of popular culture. He will also debunk common health myths and provide practical, evidence-based, recommendations relevant to both healthcare professionals and to individuals seeking to live a healthy lifestyle.

Spinning Science: Getting to the Truth about Our Health

What is the truth about how to live a healthy lifestyle? Whether the issue is diet, exercise, sleep, gut health, genetics, or emerging technologies, it has become increasingly difficult to separate the real science from the nonsense.

In this era of “fake news”, “alternative facts”, and conspiracy theories, critical thinking skills are essential. Indeed, the spread of misinformation has become a defining issue of our time. In this fun and provocative talk, Timothy Caulfield will examine the social forces that are twisting science and how we can all cut through the noise to get to the truth about our health.

Relax: A Guide to Everyday Health Decisions with More Facts and Less Worry

In this presentation, Timothy Caulfield will explore all the things we stress about in a typical day, from when we get out of bed to how much coffee to drink to how our kids get to school to how we handle our email to how we can be more productive to whether we should sit on that dirty toilet seat. We make, and worry about, a thousand big and little decisions during our waking hours. Too often these decisions are dictated by concerns or beliefs about our world that simply aren’t true. These misperceptions impact our day-to-day decisions and, I will argue, unnecessarily stress us out and cause us to waste time and money.

Science-ploitation and the Rise of Science-y Unproven Therapies

These are exciting times in biomedicine. Research areas like stem cells, personalized medicine, and the microbiome are leading to promising new developments.  But too often the language of real science is used to market unproven therapies and health concepts.

In this presentation, Timothy Caulfield will argue that “science-ploitation” has emerged as a significant health policy issue, one that is have an adverse impact on both individuals and healthcare systems throughout the world.

Infodemic! Is Misinformation Killing Us?

The spread of misinformation seems to intensify with each passing week. Indeed, it is a defining characteristic of our time! And research tells us that misinformation is doing tangible harm — to public health, mental health, public discourse, personal relationships, and public trust. How did we get here, why do people believe, and what can we do about it?

In this presentation Professor Timothy Caulfield explores what the most recent evidence tells us about the nature and source of the current infodemic. He will also provide science-informed recommendations about how best to engage individuals and communities.

Additional Topics

  • Vaccination policy and the spread of vaccination myths
  • Evidence-based approaches to a healthy lifestyle
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • The limits of personalized medicine
  • The role of social media in the spread of misinformation
  • The marketing of unproven stem cell therapies
  • The control of human tissue and genetic information
  • Organ donation policy
  • Obesity policy
  • Cannabis