Health Policy Series: Understanding Legitimacy in Public and Patient Engagement, with Katherine Boothe

What makes an engagement process legitimate?  How do technical experts feel about engagement, and how have their ideas of legitimacy changed over time?  These are just some of the questions we explore with our guest, Katherine (Katie) Boothe, Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at McMaster University.

A recent paper of Katie’s,  “Redefining Legitimacy in Canadian Drug Assessment Policy? Comparing Ideas Over Time” seeks to understand how and when people’s ideas of legitimacy change when lay members are added to otherwise ‘expert only’ committees. In this case, the context is Canadian drug assessment advisory committees, where a group of technical experts and lay members help to determine what pharmaceutical drugs should be covered by public drug insurance policies. 

Join us for this fascinating conversation exploring how public and patient engagement challenges pre-existing standards of what constitutes “good” scientific evidence, and how (unarticulated) differing rationales and goals for engagement can lead to frustration and disappointment. 


This series is supported by the Public Engagement in Health Policy project, which promotes research, critical reflection and dialogue about engagement issues that have a health and health policy focus. Learn more about this Future of Canada project at

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