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At the forefront of medical crowdfunding research




Most of us see them in our social media feed or linked to news stories on a daily basis: requests from someone we likely do not know asking us to make a donation to a worthwhile cause on a crowdfunding site.  Use of crowdfunding has grown significantly in popularity in recent years, and this includes campaigns asking us to donate funds for someone else’s medical care. These requests range from assisting someone in paying their regular bills at home while taking medical leave to raising funds to access experimental surgeries abroad.
What privacy threats exist? Who benefits the most from these campaigns? How do campaigners appeal to potential donors to support their cause? What are some of the long-term risks associated with sharing intimate health information in a public forum?  These are some of the questions we examine in our interdisciplinary, multi-method MedCRT research program.  Our program has been funded by grants awarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Greenwall Foundation.
Our medical crowdfunding research team (MedCRT) specializes in examining the practical and ethical issues associated with medical crowdfunding.


The core MedCRT research team is based at Simon Fraser University, which is located just outside of Vancouver in Canada. We work with a number of collaborators who are based at other universities. We use an interdisciplinary approach to examining the equity and ethical issues associated with medical crowdfunding, and have engaged with both big data and qualitative frameworks.

Dr. Jeremy Snyder

Jeremy is a bioethicist and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences. He has a long-standing interest in shedding light on the ways in which contemporary practices of health care delivery and receipt can generate or exacerbate inequities, and brings this lens to the study of medical crowdfunding.

Dr. Valorie Crooks

Valorie is a health geographer and Professor in the Department of Geography. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Health Service Geographies and a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. She views medical crowdfunding as a mechanism through which people can and do use funds to engage in various health care mobilities.

Dr. Peter Chow-White

Peter is a communications expert and is Associate Professor and Director in the School of Communication. One of his main interests is to understand how we can gather and use crowdfunding platforms to address our research objectives, paying particular attention to the importance of language.

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“We Don't Want Him Worrying about How He Will Pay to Save His Life": Using Medical Crowdfunding to Explore Lived Experiences with Addiction Services in Canada. 2019. International Journal of Drug Policy. 

Crowdfunding for Stem Cell Based Interventions to Treat Neurological Diseases and Injuries. 2019. Neurology. 

Spatially Exploring the Intersection of Socio-Economic Status and Canadian Cancer-Related Medical Crowdfunding Campaigns. 2019. BMJ Open. 

Fraud in Medical Crowdfunding: A Typology of Publicized Cases and Policy Recommendations. 2019. Policy & Internet. 


Selling Stem Cell “Treatments” as Research: Prospective Customer Perspectives from Crowdfunding Campaigns. 2018. Regenerative Medicine.

Crowdfunding for Unproven Stem Cell Procedures Wastes Money and Spreads
Misinformation. 2018. STAT.


Crowdfunding for Unproven Stem Cell-Based Interventions. 2018. Journal of the American Medical Association.

Appealing to the crowd: ethical justifications in Canadian medical crowdfunding campaigns. 2017. Journal of Medical Ethics.


As patients turn to medical crowdfunding, concerns emerge about privacy. 2017. The Conversation.


Widening the gap: additional concerns with crowdfunding in health care. 2017. The Lancet Oncology.


Fund my treatment! A call for ethics-focused social science research into the use of crowdfunding for medical care. 2016. Social Science & Medicine.


Crowdfunding for medical care: Ethical issues in an emerging health care funding practice. 2016. The Hastings Center Report.



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Our core MedCRT research team is based out of Simon Fraser University:

8888 University Dr

Burnaby, BC   V5A 1S6


Dr. Jeremy Snyder

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