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Faculty of Theology

Faculty Profile

Dennis O'Hara March 04.jpg

Dennis Patrick OHara, DC, ND, BA, MDiv, PhD (St Michael's)

Associate Professor

dennis.ohara@utoronto.ca

Biographical Summary

Dr. Dennis Patrick O’Hara began his career as a chiropractor (1979) and naturopathic doctor (1986), both as a practitioner in private practice as well as an educator at the colleges of each of those professions.  He has been a consultant and facilitator for the Natural Health Products Directorate of Health Canada where he facilitated six international consultations.  He was a co-investigator in a 5 year research project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to establish the Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research.  He has drafted a description of the naturopathic profession for the World Health Organization and wrote the summative report for the 2006 World Health Organization International Consultation on Phytotherapy held in Milan, Italy. 

In 1989, he began his theological studies, eventually completing master and doctoral degrees as well as a specialization in theology and ecology at the Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael’s College, a member school of the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto.  Since 2002, he has been a faculty member of the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, and the Director of the Elliott Allen Institute for Theology and Ecology (http://stmikes.utoronto.ca/theology/eaite/default.asp), directing many theses on various aspects of eco-theology and ethics.  He is also an associate member of the graduate faculty at the School for the Environment at the University of Toronto where he has co-taught courses on the environment and health.  Since 2004, he has been a core faculty member of the certificate programme in Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of St. Michael’s College. Dr. O’Hara has delivered popular and academic lectures in Canada, the USA, Europe and Korea on healthcare, ethics, ecological spirituality, and ecological theology.

Research Interests

Eco-theology, eco-spirituality, eco-ethics, eco-theological anthropology, eco-feminism; medical ethics; environment and health; corporate social responsibility

Teaching Areas

Ecotheology including eco-spirituality, eco-ethics and eco-feminism
Ethics including Christian ethics, biomedical ethics, ecological ethics, business/corporate ethics and ethical leadership

Professional Activities

Since beginning his employment at the Faculty of Theology, Dr. O’Hara has delivered more than 90 talks at universities and to professional gatherings on such topics as eco-theology, eco-spirituality and ethics. He has been actively engaged in preparing policy documents for both Health Canada and the World Health Organization, and more recently, has begun working with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Awakening to a Spirituality that responds to the Ecological Crisis.” Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 262 (2013): 119 – 126.
Hrynkow, Christopher and Dennis O’Hara, “Earth Matters: Thomas Berry, the Pacificism of Religious Cosmology and the Need for Ecojustice.” Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 22, no. 2 (Fall 2012): 3-28.
Hrynkow, Christopher and Dennis O’Hara. “The Vatican and Ecospirituality: Tensions, Promises and Possibilities for Fostering and Emerging Green Catholic Spirituality.” Ecozon@ 2, no. 2 (2011): 177 – 197.
O’Hara, Dennis Patrick and Allen Abelsohn. “Ethical Response to Climate Change.”  Ethics and the Environment  16, no. 1 (June 2011): 25 – 50.
Boon, Heather; Verhoef, Marja; O’Hara, Dennis; Findlay, Barbara. “Integrative Health Care: Arriving at a Working Definition.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 10, no. 5 (Sep/Oct 2004): 48-56.
Boon, Heather; Verhoef, Marja; O’Hara, Dennis; Findlay, Barbara. “From Parallel Practice to Integrative Health Care:  A Conceptual Framework.” BMC Health Services Research 4 (2004).
O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Is There a Role for Prayer and Spirituality in Health Care?” The Medical Clinics of North America (Spring, 2002): 56-76.
O’Hara, Dennis. “Thomas Merton and Thomas Berry: Reflections from a Parallel Universe.” The Merton Annual 13 (2000): 222-234.
O’Hara, Dennis. “Merton, Berry, and Eco-Theology.” Teilhard Studies  37 (1999): 1-20.
O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “‘The whole world…has appeared as a transparent manifestation of the love of God’: Portents of Thomas Merton as an Eco-Theologian.” The Merton Annual  9 (1996): 90-117

Chapters

O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Thomas Berry’s Understanding of the Psychic-spiritual Dimension of Creation: Some Sources.” Chapter in To Live in a Cosmos: The Intellectual Roots of Thomas Berry, edited by Heather Eaton. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. (peer-reviewed; forthcoming)

O’Hara, D. “Thomas Merton and Thomas Berry: Reflections from a Parallel Universe.” Chapter in Human Actions at the Intersection of Science and Religion, ed. Sara Fletcher Harding and Nancy Morvillo, volume IV. Religion and Science: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies. 362 – 372. London: Routledge, 2010.

Monographs

O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “The Implications of Thomas Berry’s Ecological Thought for Our Understanding of Human and Ecological Health” and “Ecology, Theology, Spirituality: On the Basis of Thomas Berry’s Thought.” Trans. Kwang-Sun Choi. In Healthy City Conference: The Ecological Life and Culture. Suncheon-si, South Korea: Gospel Expo Network, 2013.
O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Educating Children in the Context of the Universe Story and the Ecological Crisis.” Trans. Jung-Kyu Lee. Daegu, South Korea: Korean Forest Kindergarten Association, 2013.
O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Thomas Berry’s Ecological Thought.” Trans. Kwang-Sun Choi. In Thomas Berry’s Ecological Thought and the Role of Asian Theology. Seoul, South Korea: Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Graduate School for Life in the Catholic University of Korea, 2013.

O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Natural Health Products Directorate Focussed Consultation with Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practitioners on the Natural Health Products Regulations.” Ottawa: NHPD, Health Canada. 2005. (Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/activit/consult/archive/consultation_2005-eng.php)  Also published in French as: “Direction des produits de santé naturels Consultation ciblée avec Les praticiens de soins de santé complémentaires et parallèles Sur le Règlement sur les produits de santé naturels.”

O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Focused Consultation with the Research Community: Proposed Standards of Evidence for Natural Health Products.” Ottawa: NHPD, Health Canada. 2002. Also published in French as: “Consultations Dirigées Avec La Collectivité Des Chercheurs Normes De Preuve Pour Les Produits De Santé Naturels.”
O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Priority Setting Conference for Natural Health Product Research in Children and Youth.” Ottawa: NHPD, Health Canada. 2002. (Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/pubs/complement/resear-recher_child-enfan_03-02/index-eng.php.  See also: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/pubs/complement/hp-ps_population-eng.php.)  Also published in French as: “Conférence Sur L’établissement Des Priorités Pour La Recherche Sur Les Produits De Santé Naturels Sur Les Enfants Et Les Jeunes.”

O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Quality Controls and Product Standards Research Priority Setting Conference.”  Ottawa: NHPD, Health Canada. 2002. (Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/pubs/complement/qcps-cqnp_03-02/index-eng.php.  See also: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/pubs/complement/hp-ps_qualit-eng.php.)

O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Invitational Roundtable on Research – Reviewing and Assessing the Role of the  Natural Health Products Directorate in Research.” Ottawa: NHPD, Health Canada. 2001. (Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/pubs/complement/resear-recher_role/index-eng.php.  See also: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/pubs/complement/hp-ps_research-recherche-eng.php.)   Also published in French as: “Table ronde sur invitation portant sur la recherché – Révision et oleation du ole de la Direction des produits de santé naturels dans le domaine de la recherché.”

Published Abstracts

Boon, Heather; Verhoef, Marja; Dodin, Sylvie; Leis, Anne; O’Hara, Dennis; Vohra, Sunita; Dryden, Trish; Mior, Sil. “CAM in Canadian University Graduate Programs: Preliminary Results from a Program Scan.” Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 2, no. 1 (2005): 3.
O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Quality Controls and Product Standards Research Priority Setting Conference.” Perspectives on Natural Health Products: a Collection of Executive Summaries from stakeholder consultation reports 2001-2002. Natural Health Products Directorate, Health Canada (2002): 7-9.

O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Invitational Roundtable on Research – Reviewing and Assessing the Role of the Natural Health Products Directorate in Research.” Perspectives on Natural Health Products: a Collection of Executive Summaries from stakeholder consultation reports 2001-2002. Natural Health Products Directorate, Health Canada (2002): 12-14.

O’Hara, Dennis Patrick. “Priority Setting Conference for Natural Health Product Research in Children and Youth.” Perspectives on Natural Health Products: a Collection of Executive Summaries from stakeholder consultation reports 2001-2002. Natural Health Products Directorate, Health Canada (2002): 28-30.

Personal Notes

On the first Sunday of every month, Dr. O’Hara prepares and facilitates an eco-theological reflection on that Sundays lectionary readings. This Eco-Sabbath Gathering occurs at St. Gabriel's Parish the first church in North America to be awarded a LEED gold standard  (http://stgabrielsparish.ca/who-weare/green-church/). His passion for theology and ecology extends to his support of Toronto’s sports teams, particularly the Toronto Maple Leafs an example of hope in the presence of prolonged suffering.