Official HealthyPlan.City Release | November 28, 2023 | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (EST)

The Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE) and the HealthyDesign.City teams are excited to announce the release of the new version of the HealthyPlan.city tool on November 28, 2023.
HealthyPlan.City is a free web mapping application that helps users identify environmental inequity in over 125 Canadian cities. The tool leverages nationally standardized environmental data and demographic data from the Canadian Census to map out neighbourhoods where relatively higher proportions of vulnerable populations experience worse environmental conditions. A preliminary version of the tool focussing on heat islands and tree canopy cover was made publicly available in summer 2022. This release of the tool includes multiple improvements such as:
  • Eight additional vulnerable population indicators from the 2021 Canadian Census
  • Ten additional built environment indicators such as air pollution, proximity to parks, proximity to transit stops, and flood susceptibility
  • An improved user interface; and
  • New data visualization functionalities
In this webinar, HealthyPlan.City co-directors Jeff Brook and Dany Doiron will provide an overview of the data and functionalities included in the new version of the HealthyPlan.City tool. Dr. Sarah Viehbeck, Chief Science Officer of the Public Health Agency of Canada will give opening remarks with closing remarks from Dr. Sonia Anand, Professor of Medicine & Epidemiology at McMaster University.

Annual Air Pollution across the GTHA

The following animation outlines the change in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.


Annual NO2 concentration from 2005 to 2016.

The following article was written in honor of Clean Air Day, which falls on June 7th, 2023. It has been published on the official website of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

https://www.dlsph.utoronto.ca/2023/06/02/dlsph-researchers-map-gtha-traffic-air-pollution-and-its-changes-over-the-last-15-years/

NO2 MAPS OF THE GTHA



Environments and Health Signature Initiative Webinar: Child Health | April 3, 2023 | 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (ET)

 

Children’s health is particularly sensitive to the environment. What they are exposed to during early years can have a significant impact on their healthy development. To better understand these health pathways and how to improve children’s health outcomes, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded three research projects considering different aspects of child health: obesity, IBD and asthma & COPD. In this webinar, learn what the researchers discovered through their project and what they plan to do next.

About the Projects

The Developmental Origins of Pediatric Obesity and Obesity-Related Complications

This translational project studies clinical populations of pregnant mothers, their children and parallel rodent model systems in order to determine how early life environmental exposures (e.g.- maternal diets, high blood sugars etc.) affect the genes of the children to influence their risk for obesity. We will also determine whether altering the early life environment (e.g.- through diet etc.) modifies disease risk factors in children most susceptible for obesity. The identification of new early life biomarkers of disease could prevent the extensive health and financial burden of obesity.

 

The diet-microbiota-gut axis in pediatric IBD

This research program investigates the complex interactions among diet, the gut microbiota, and the host. It provides information that may be essential for personalized dietary and microbiota changes required to keep people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in remission. It is well accepted that the gut microbiota plays a crucial role in the digestion of food, particularly plant-derived starches, and the production metabolites essential for human health. The primary objective of the proposed research is to investigate the complex tripartite interactions between the diet, the gut microbiota, and the host. Additionally, this study aims to characterize the role of microbial food-derived metabolites in pediatric IBD. This study will generate the information necessary for developing methods to improve bacterial activities in our intestine as treatment for IBD patients. This research will have important implications for the quality of life of people with IBD everywhere.

Gene and environment effects on lung health and risk for chronic respiratory disease, asthma & COPD

This project studies a group of babies that have been followed since birth, whose families have filled out lots of questions about what they eat, breathe and how often they get sick. These kids and their families have also done breathing tests that measure how well their lungs are doing. From studying all of this information, we believe we can discover what things each person can do to improve their lungs and prevent them from getting chronic breathing problems, making Canada the healthiest place to live.

About the Presenters

The Developmental Origins of Pediatric Obesity and Obesity-Related Complications

Dr. Vern Dolinsky conducts research at the forefront of understanding the underlying mechanisms of gestational diabetes and its impact on the developmental origins of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders in youth. His lab employs a cutting-edge combination of experimental animal models, in vivo imaging, and cellular, molecular, biochemical, and “-omic” technologies to uncover new insights into the biological processes that lead to these conditions. These findings have the potential to revolutionize the development of therapies for the treatment of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. His work is not only advancing our understanding of these conditions, but also pushing the boundaries of what is possible in biomedical research.

The diet-microbiota-gut axis in pediatric IBD

Alain Stintzi, Ph.D. is a professor with the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, a member of the Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, and Vice-Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa. Dr. Stintzi obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Louis-Pasteur University, France (1997). He was subsequently a Postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley. In 2000, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Oklahoma State University. Dr. Stintzi has considerable experience in systems biology approaches to study the role of the gut microbiota in infectious and chronic diseases. Dr. Stintzi has published over 130 articles and book chapters and has contributed to more than 150 scientific and educational conferences.

Gene and environment effects on lung health and risk for chronic respiratory disease, asthma & COPD

Dr. Padmaja Subbarao is a Clinician-Scientist in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, specializing clinically in severe asthma. Trained in both Epidemiology and infant and preschool lung function, she holds appointments at the University of Toronto in the Departments of Paediatrics, Physiology and in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Dr. Subbarao’s research program focuses on disentangling preschool wheeze heterogeneity to precisely predict who will develop each type of asthma, monitor its progression and discover the risk factors, exposures and underlying biology associated with each asthma subtype. She is the Director of the CHILD cohort study, one of the largest, most intensively characterized asthma birth cohorts in the world. This world-leading study enabled the discovery of the importance of the gut microbiome for the protection against asthma (cited more than 500 times).

This webinar is presented in partnership with the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health.

Environments and Health Signature Initiative Webinar: Agri-Food, the Food-Water Nexus and Health | April 5, 2023 | 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (ET)

A changing climate will affect food through a range of effects on agriculture, livestock, water systems, and wildlife, which have implications for food security, foodborne disease, and malnutrition. For example, population growth, loss of environmental services and climate change are forcing communities to explore opportunities that treat municipal wastewater to allow its safe return for community uses or harvest rain/stormwater for various non-drinking water uses (all referred to here as wastewater reuse). As part of our everyday lives we are exposed to a wide variety of chemicals derived from consumer products, such as foam, electronic equipment and plastics, that enter our food and drinking water. Most of these chemicals are present at very low concentrations. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded three projects to consider the impact of the environment on agri-food, the food-water nexus and health. In this webinar, learn what the researchers discovered and what they plan to do next.

About the Projects

Developing a Framework for Wastewater Reuse in Canada: Using Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment, Risk Communication, and Community Engagement for Evaluating Water Fit-For-Purpose Reuse

Drinking water treatment and sanitary waste management are considered the most important environmental public health achievements for infectious disease prevention. This project develops a participatory water reuse framework to engender trust in government and utilities to provide safe reuse water that communities seek to have in an equitable way to address Canada’s $90 billion water service infrastructure deficit.

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Towards Responsible Replacements

This research focuses on determining the extent to which our food, drinking water and breast milk contain the chemicals that have emerged as replacements for polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants, phthalates and bisphenol A. We will then determine if these new alternatives are safer than the substances that they have replaced.

Climate Change and Indigenous Food System, Food Security, and Food Safety (Climate Change IFS3)

The Climate Change and Indigenous Food System, Food Security, & Food Safety (Climate Change IFS3) has created a multinational intersectoral team to characterize the vulnerability and resilience of Indigenous food systems to climate change to inform, enhance, and expand climate change adaptation interventions and adaptation planning.

About the Speakers

Developing a Framework for Wastewater Reuse in Canada: Using Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment, Risk Communication, and Community Engagement for Evaluating Water Fit-For-Purpose Reuse

Norman Neumann is a Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. His research program focuses on development of novel approaches and tools for detecting, tracking and assessing human health risks associated with biological hazards in the environment (viruses, bacteria, protozoans, prions).

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Towards Responsible Replacements

Barbara Hales is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University. Her research is focused on understanding how chemical exposures adversely affect reproduction and development. Projects in her lab, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, include the effects of house dust mixtures of flame retardants on reproduction and development, the impact of exposure to phthalates and « green » plasticizers on progeny outcome, and approaches towards the responsible replacement of endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Climate Change and Indigenous Food System, Food Security, and Food Safety (Climate Change IFS3)

Sherilee Harper is a Canada Research Chair in Climate Change and Health and an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. Her research investigates associations between weather, environment, and public health in the context of climate change, and she collaborates with partners across sectors to prioritise climate-related health actions, planning, interventions, and research.

Environments and Health Signature Initiative Webinar: Microbiome | March 29, 2023 | 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (ET)

The microbiome is the collection of all microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes, that naturally live on our bodies and inside us. Although microbes are so small that they require a microscope to see them, they contribute in big ways to human health and wellness. A person’s core microbiome is formed in the first years of life but can change over time in response to different factors including diet, medications, and environmental exposures. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded three projects to consider the interaction between the environment and the microbiome and its impact on human health. In this webinar, learn what this research has discovered and where the investigators plan to go next.

About the Projects

Elucidating the Gene-Environment Interactions that drive Autoimmune Disease among South Asian Canadians – The GEMINI Program

The GEMINI project (Generational differences in Environmental exposures caused by Migration: Impact on Incidence of inflammatory disease) studies a growing concern in South Asian Canadian communities – these communities are experiencing an increase in incidences of chronic inflammatory disease upon exposure to the North American environment.

Programmatic research to understand how modifiable environmental factors interact with the genome in the development of asthma

It isn’t clear why some people get asthma and others don’t, but it’s probably due to a combination of environmental and genetic (inherited) factors. The goal of this research program is to understand these environmental and genetic factors that cause asthma. This new understanding is expected to give us better tools to predict who will get asthma and to develop ways to prevent asthma developing in the first place.

The impact of the gut microbiome and environment on the development of colorectal cancer

This team of international recognized researchers investigates the role of bacteria that reside in the gut in the development of colorectal cancer. The previous and proposed research from this team show that gut bacteria is at the root of colorectal cancer; its manipulation of dietary nutrients such as complex carbohydrates and the subsequent impact on metabolic processes within the gut promotes the development of colorectal cancer in mice and humans that are genetically-predisposed to develop this disease. The research has the capacity to develop diagnostics if a specific bacterial species is identified as the causative agent in colorectal cancer. In addition, the research will lead to the development of preventative protocols for colorectal cancer using alterations in diet or specific antibiotics that displace or out-compete « pathogenic » strains.

About the Speakers

Elucidating the Gene-Environment Interactions that drive Autoimmune Disease among South Asian Canadians – The GEMINI Program

Jen Gommerman, PhD, is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Tissue-specific Immunity Department of Immunology, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Jen received her Ph.D. (Immunology) at the University of Toronto in 1998. She went on to do a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School studying the complement pathway and then joined Biogen Inc. as a Staff Scientist in 2000. During her tenure at Biogen, she became interested in B cells, Multiple Sclerosis and the TNF superfamily of molecules. After 3 years in Industry, she returned to Academia as an Assistant Professor (Immunology) at the University of Toronto in 2003, in 2015 was promoted to full Professor, and in 2020 was awarded a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Tissue Specific Immunity. Jen’s basic research continues to focus on how members of the TNF superfamily of molecules regulate immunity and autoimmunity, particularly in the mucosae. Her team has uncovered a novel gut-brain axis that regulates neuroinflammation. With respect to translational work, Dr. Gommerman has been examining the role of B lymphocytes in Multiple Sclerosis patients and in animal models of MS and how environmental factors shape the microbiome.

Programmatic research to understand how modifiable environmental factors interact with the genome in the development of asthma

Stuart Turvey, MBBS, DPhil, FRCPC is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia where he holds both the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Precision Health and the Aubrey J. Tingle Professorship in Pediatric Immunology. He is a Pediatric Immunologist and clinician-scientist based at BC Children’s Hospita. Prior to coming to Vancouver, Dr Turvey completed both his Pediatric Residency and Allergy/Immunology Fellowship at Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. He holds a medical degree (MB BS) from the University of Sydney, Australia and a doctorate (DPhil) in Immunology from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Dr Turvey is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics.

The impact of the gut microbiome and environment on the development of colorectal cancer

Dr. Alberto Martin is Professor of Immunology at the University of Toronto. His research interests are in adaptive immunity, cancer immunology and B cells. His lab conducts research in three main areas, each of which is supported by external research funding: AID in antibody diversification, The molecular basis for germinal center selection & The molecular mechanisms of cancer development (i.e. specifically colon cancer and lymphoma).

Environments and Health Signature Initiative Webinar: Obesity and Environment | March 27, 2023 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (ET)

 

Obesity has been recognized as a significant public health concern, especially as 20th century urban development encouraged more sedentary lifestyles and car-dependent transportation. A result of the interaction of genes, lifestyle, and the environment, obesity is an important issue for public health researchers and practitioners to understand. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded two projects to study the gene-environment causes of obesity, and an environments and health research consortium to support environments and health research more broadly. At this webinar, learn what the researchers have discovered and where they plan to take their research. 

About the Projects 

Gene Environment Team on brown/beige adipose tissue

More than 5 million Canadians have the chronic interrelated diseases of obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) and their incidence in the population are rapidly increasing. Obesity is an important risk factor for developing NAFLD and T2D which contribute to the development of liver cancer and heart disease. Therefore, designing new ways to treat or prevent T2D and NAFLD are important. In this proposal we will conduct studies in cells, mice and humans to examine how agricultural and food processing practices may regulate BAT metabolic activity directly or indirectly by altering the billions of bacteria that reside within our gastrointestinal tract. These studies will help us develop new strategies to enhance BAT activity that may be effective for treating and preventing obesity, NAFLD and T2D.

Determining the genetic and environmental factors associated with metabolic phenotypes across Canada

The program capitalizes on existing data and resources to address highly relevant questions for public health authorities, researchers, and health practitioners. The focus is on metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of medical conditions that are common in aging adults, including: obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance.The activities of this program are: (1) To quantify the effect of air pollution and built environment on MetS; (2) to study the effect of air pollution on molecular changes in DNA that regulate gene activity, and to determine if these changes are associated with MetS; (3) to map differences in the DNA code that regulate the expression of genes, and see if their effect are modified by environmental factors. 

The Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium

The consortium will play a pivotal role in supporting the research needed to address these issues. We will accomplish this by linking standardized environmental exposure data about air quality, green spaces, walkability, noise and other aspects of the urban/suburban environment to existing human health data platforms. This will enable studies looking at how these factors affect health, from birth to old age. We will also be able to map, over time, where and how conditions are changing, and how that increases or decreases the risk of health impacts. 

About the Presenters

Gene Environment Team on brown/beige adipose tissue

Dr. Gregory Steinberg is a professor of medicine at McMaster University where he holds a Canada Research Chair and a J. Bruce Duncan Endowed Chair in Metabolic Diseases and is Co-Director of the Centre for Metabolism, Obesity and Diabetes Research. His research studies cellular energy sensing mechanisms and how endocrine factors, lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity are linked and contribute to the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. He has published over 180 papers many in leading scientific journals. His scientific contributions have been recognized by the Endocrine Society, the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research who have each presented him with early career outstanding scientific achievement awards.

Dr. Katherine Morrison is Co-Director of the Centre for Metabolism, Obesity and Diabetes Research (MODR) and a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. The newly developed Centre focuses on translational aspects of research at the interface of preclinical and clinical research. She is a clinician researcher, active clinically in the Pediatric Weight Management and Pediatric Lipid Clinics at McMaster Children’s Hospital where she is the medical director. Her research is focused on the etiology, consequences and treatment of obesity and lipid disorders in children. She leads a CIHR funded, Canadian multi-site study examining the influence of pediatric weight management programs on health outcomes in children with obesity and is co-PI on a CIHR-funded team grant seeking new pathways important to the development of obesity and its comorbidities. She led the pediatric aspects of the Canadian Clinical Practice Guideline for the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity and is on the steering committee for the current work to update those guidelines. She is on the Advisory Board for the Ontario Pediatric Bariatric Network and co-leads the Working Group on Outcome Measurement. Dr. Morrison is dedicated to improving the health of Canadian children through research, improved clinical care and education.

Determining the genetic and environmental factors associated with metabolic phenotypes across Canada

Dr. Philip Awadalla, PhD, is National Scientific Director of CanPath (Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health), Director of Computational Biology and the Executive Scientific Director of Ontario Health Study at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, as well as a Professor of Population and Medical Genomics at the University of Toronto. He is Director of the Genome Canada, Canadian Data Integration Centre and a member of the International Hundred Thousand Consortium Steering Committee. He obtained his doctorate in population and statistical genetics from the University of Edinburgh and awarded NSERC, Killam, and Wellcome Trust Fellowships to pursue his postdoctoral work before taking faculty positions at North Carolina and the University of Montreal. He was previously the Scientific Director of CARTaGENE, and part of the analysis groups of the 1000 Genomes Program and Pan-cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes. Major current projects include genomics and computational approaches of aging, hematological diseases and cancers, as well as early-disease biomarker and drug development; other research focuses on approaches to identify genetic and environmental control points for infectious disease surveillance and resistance.

The Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium

Jeff Brook is an Associate Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto. Jeff was a tireless advocate for the creation of an environmental exposure data platform for many years, leading to the development of a funding call at the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the ultimate establishment of CANUE in June of 2016 in collaboration with many of Canada’s leading environmental health researchers. As CANUE’s Scientific Director, Jeff acts as the key liaison between environmental health research groups, in government and in academia, in Canada and internationally, toward keeping CANUE at the leading edge of environmental health research and policy. He brings 25 years of experience as an Environment Canada scientist working at the science-policy interface, 15 years of experience as an Adjunct at the University of Toronto, 12 years of leadership of the Environmental Working Group of the Canadian Health Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study, Canada’s largest birth cohort, and 5 years of service on the Research Committee of the Health Effects Institute (HEI) (Boston). Jeff has led scientific assessments to inform policy nationally and internationally, and advised multi-stakeholder groups shaping policy, and is one of Canada’s leading experts in air quality, recognized at all levels of government and academically, including for his substantial contributions in air pollution health research.

Environments and Health Signature Initiative Webinar: Resource Development | March 9, 2023 | 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. (ET)

VIDEO AVAILABLE

 

 

Health is influenced by resource development through interrelated socioeconomic, ecological, cultural, and political pathways, which demand upstream, intersectoral responses. For example, both oil and gas production and the process of consumption (as it relates to climate change) have large impacts, both positive and negative, on social, economic and environmental systems that affect people’s mental health and overall wellbeing. These relationships are especially important in Canada, where the economy remains tightly coupled with the development of natural resources and where the rate and scale of social and environmental change occurring in resource-rich regions is fueling debate regarding health impacts, especially for rural, remote and Indigenous communities. To better understand these connections, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded three projects to look at how to understand and respond to the health impacts of climate change, and the relationship between a healthy natural world and healthy people. In this webinar, learn what researchers have discovered and where they plan to go next.

About the Projects

The ECHO (Environment, Community, Health Observatory) Network: Strengthening intersectoral capacity to understand and respond to health impacts of resource development

 

The ECHO Network is focused on working together across sectors to take notice of – and respond to – the influence of resource extraction on health and well-being, with specific emphasis on rural, remote and Indigenous communities and environments. ECHO brings together researchers and knowledge-holders across health, environment and community sectors who have identified the need to better understand and address the cumulative health, equity and ecological challenges of resource extraction and climate change. The ECHO Network is anchored in knowledge exchange partnerships in New Brunswick, Alberta, and British Columbia, with connections across Canada and Oceania. ECHO has developed a platform of integrative tools and processes to strengthen intersectoral capacity, and to connect people to information, practices and shared perspectives across generations and contexts. By focusing on integrative and collaborative responses to cumulative impacts of resource extraction and climate change, the ECHO Network has also identified new pathways of connection and co-benefits for health, including collective efforts that prioritise Indigenous leadership, champion equity and eco-social approaches to public health.

A SHARED Future: Achieving Strength, Health, and Autonomy through Renewable Energy Development for the Future

This research program, the only EHSI program that leads with Indigenous Ways of Knowing, focuses on bringing forward stories of reconciliation and healing in the context of intersectoral partnerships in renewable energy projects. The program’s research goal is to bring to light new and restored understandings of energy and integrative health. We examine how these partnerships may offer opportunities for a new era of nation-to-nation collaborations between Indigenous Peoples, organizations, and governments, with proponents, consultants, utilities, and state governments. Our program examines how Indigenous knowledge systems have the potential to lead us towards reconciling, healing, and decolonizing our relations with each other as well as the land, air, and water around us.

Patterns of Resilience Among Youth in Contexts of Petrochemical Production and Consumption in the Global North and Global South

This project assesses how young people adapt across the carbon cycle and use what we learn about their patterns of resilience to improve the lives of all youth. Both oil and gas production and the process of consumption (as it relates to climate change) have large impacts, both positive and negative, on social, economic and environmental systems that affect young people’s mental health and overall wellbeing. To better understand these complex relationships at both ends of the carbon cycle, a multidisciplinary and multisectoral team of researchers and community and industry partners in two communities in Canada (Drayton Valley in Alberta, Cambridge Bay in Nunavut) and two communities in South Africa (Dunoon in the Western Cape, Secunda in Mpumalanga) studied the resilience of young people and the systems with which they interact.

About the Speakers

The ECHO Network (Environment, Community, Health Observatory): Strengthening intersectoral capacity to understand and respond to health impacts of resource development

Margot Parkes is professor in the UNBC School of Health Sciences and co-lead of the UNBC Health Research Institute. She also co-leads the Environment, Community, Health Observatory (ECHO) Network, focused on the cumulative health, equity and ecological challenges of resource extraction and climate change. Drawing on her background in clinical medicine, public health, human ecology, ecohealth, Margot’s research focuses on integrative, partnered and Indigenous-informed approaches that connect social and ecological influences on health. Margot prioritises working and learning with others – across regions, cultural contexts, disciplines and sectors – to foster better understanding of land, water and living systems (ecosystems) as foundational for health, equity and well-being; to strengthen collaborations that reflect these connections, and that amplify co-benefits for people, place and planet.

Dr. Sandra Allison is Medical Health Officer at Vancouver Island Health Authority, Past President of the Public Health Physicians of Canada and Clinical Assistant Professor at the UBC School of Population and Public Health. She previously was Chief Medical Health Officer at Northern Health, and served as a regional medical health officer in Manitoba. She has extensive experience working with Indigenous people and rural and remote settings. In addition, she continues to work in primary care as a family physician. Dr. Allison was the Principal Knowledge User Applicant for the ECHO Network, founding co-chair of the ECHO Network Steering Committee between 2017-2019, and has remained an active knowledge exchange partner with the network since then.

Dr. Raina Fumerton is a public health physician and the Northwest Medical Health Officer at Northern Health. In addition to her generalist MHO responsibilities, Dr. Fumerton is the physician lead for the health protection portfolio and has a keen interest in environmental health, climate change, as well as the ecological and health/mental health/social/economic/cultural impacts of industrial development on the health of northern rural and remote communities. Since 2019, Dr. Fumerton contributed as the co-chair of the ECHO Network Steering Committee, as co-lead for the Northern BC regional case, and is actively involved as a knowledge exchange partner in the transition from the EHSI-funded ECHO Network to an ongoing pan-Canadian ECHO collective.

 

A SHARED Future: Achieving Strength, Health, and Autonomy through Renewable Energy Developments for the Future

Dr Heather Castleden (she/her) is a Professor and the President’s Impact Chair in Transformative Governance for Planetary Health at the University of Victoria. She is a white settler scholar, trained as a geographer, and she has been doing community-based participatory research in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples for over two decades. She is a former Canada Research Chair, Fulbright Scholar, and is now an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists. Dr Castleden is the Co-Director of the ‘A SHARED Future’ research program and is the Scientific Director of the HEC Lab.

Dr Diana Lewis (she/her) is a member of the Sipekne’katik Mi’kmaq First Nation in Nova Scotia. She is an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Health Goverance at the University of Guelph. Dr Lewis is a Co-Director of A SHARED Future. Her research interests are to foster a wider understanding of Indigenous worldviews and how Indigenous worldviews must inform environmental decisions, specifically as Indigenous peoples are impacted by resource or industrial development. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous data sovereignty and Indigenous-led decision making, and she is currently working with Indigenous communities across Canada to develop an Indigenous-led environmental health risk assessment approach.

Patterns of Resilience Among Youth in Contexts of Petrochemical Production and Consumption in the Global North and Global South

Michael Ungar, Ph.D., is the founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience. In 2022, Dr. Ungar was ranked the number one Social Work scholar in the world in recognition of his ground-breaking work as a family therapist and resilience researcher. That work has influenced the way human adaptation in stressful environments and organizational processes are understood and studied globally, with much of Dr. Ungar’s clinical work and scholarship focused on the resilience of marginalized children and families, and adult populations experiencing mental health challenges at home and in the workplace.

Environments and Health Signature Initiative Webinar: Urban Form and Health | February 27 | 3:00 – 4:30 pm (ET)

 

The way cities are built have a significant impact on our health. From land-use mix to transportation infrastructure and housing, the physical features of communities influence the health-seeking behaviours of their residents, and contribute to opportunities to incorporate physical activity in their day-to-day lives. To better understand these connections, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded three projects to look at a variety of aspects of the urban form and urban development and how they impact public health. In this webinar, learn what researchers have discovered and where they plan to go next.

About the Projects

The Built Environment and Active Transportation Safety in Children and Youth

This research program studies how features of the built environment affect whether kids walk or bike to school and whether or not certain built environment features increase or decrease their likelihood of getting hurt. The program partners with injury prevention professionals, provincial governments, environmental organizations and traffic safety professionals who are in a position to help us better understand what features of traffic environments are dangerous or safe.

Multisectoral Urban Systems for Health and Equity in Canadian Cities

At the beginning of the 21st century, to counter threats to population health, Public Health Departments have forged new alliances with major Canadian cities. This research program studies partnerships aimed at transforming built environments to increase the availability of fruit and vegetables, promote public transport and physical activity, and improve availability of affordable housing.

Environments and Health INTERACT: INTErventions, Research, and Action in Cities Team

This research project measures how designing healthy cities can influence physical activity and how much people participate in social activities. It evaluates four infrastructure designs in four different Canadian cities (Vancouver, Victoria, Saskatoon and Montreal). It also develops and refines smartphone apps to measure how people move through cities. These tools include apps to measure physical activity and apps for interactive mapping of where people move in a city.