IN MEMORIAM | FRANCES SILVERMAN

FRANCES SOMMERFREUND SILVERMAN

1942–2018

A memorial service will be held at the Congregation of Or Shalom, 534 Huron Street, London, Ontario. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Professor Silverman to the Occupational and Environmental Health Trust Fund of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (https://donate.utoronto.ca/give/show/207).

 


Frances Sommerfreund Silverman was born in Shanghai, China after her physician parents fled Vienna in 1942, narrowly escaping Hilter’s tyranny. Frances lived in Wuhu, China to the age of 6 before emigrating to Canada where her family settled in Montreal.

Frances enrolled in a doctoral program in respiratory physiology at McGill University in 1968 under the late Professor David Bates, widely recognized one of the founding figures in the field of air pollution and health. After several years of study, Frances moved to Toronto to direct the Pulmonary Function Laboratory at the Gage Research Institute which was at the time, a joint Centre of the University of Toronto (Department of Medicine) and Toronto Western Hospital.

After completing her doctoral work at McGill in 1978, Frances was immediately appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Both then and throughout the rest of her career, Frances was proud to be one of a very small group of non-clinical appointees in an otherwise clinical Department.

Frances remained at the Gage Research Institute as an early faculty member in the fledgling discipline of Environmental Health where her research continued to focus on air contaminants, staying true to her first publication in the CMAJ in 1970 – “Problems in studies of human exposure to air pollutants”.

Over the years, her research activities expanded to include many health-relevant air contaminants that remain important today, including ozone, cigarette smoke, allergens and particulate matter arising from industry and motor vehicle emissions. Frances’s earliest work on the health consequences of ozone exposure in the 1970s was formative and continues to be cited regularly. From that and her other insights, she is widely regarded as one of the founding researchers in this area.

The health outcomes she considered also expanded beyond airways measurements to increasingly more sophisticated measures such as genetic and epigenetic markers, inflammatory mediators, and vascular measures. Elegant and highly cited work in the early 2000s by Frances and her colleagues first established a mechanistic link between air pollution exposure and acute cardiovascular events.

Frances held appointments in the Department of Medicine (Division of Respirology), the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (Division of Occupational and Environmental Health), The School of the Environment, the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and the University Health Network. She was always most proud of her affiliation with the Gage Research Institute (later the Gage Occupational and Environmental Health Unit), where she served as Acting Director and a member of the Board of Directors.

Despite starting her career as a basic scientist, Frances rapidly understood that truly transformative and impactful research can only be achieved through collaboration. She focused her efforts at the poorly explored nexus that exists between the basic sciences, health sciences and engineering. There, she built a network of collaborators and developed a world-class research program to study air health effects in healthy human subjects as well as those with mild asthma, children and adolescents, and those with chronic obstructive lung disease and obesity using controlled exposure challenges. Using this approach, Frances and her group bridged a critical gap between basic laboratory science and population health, providing much essential evidence needed for policy setting in Canada and abroad in relation to a range of contaminants from environmental tobacco smoke to vehicle emissions. Her work on air contaminants continued well past her retirement in 2012, and she remained actively engaged in research and mentorship until her death. Her curiosity and enthusiasm were infectious, and her level of energy unmatched. “Not bad for an old lady,” she would often observe.

Frances was a networker before networking was a thing, she prioritized the mentorship of young scientists long before it became a trend, and had a preternatural ability to see connections and seed innovative thinking. In her final year, Frances became an advocate for the rights of the elderly to health care access, arising from her own experiences in later life as a caregiver, her deep knowledge of the health care system, her drive to help others, and her talent for building relationships. Despite retirement, she actively mentored students and kept up the schedule of an active faculty member until her last day where her final effort was to advocate tenaciously at a faculty retreat on the importance of the environment as a determinant of health.

Frances was a person of great goodness and integrity – a true Mensch in the Yiddish sense. She continually challenged all who knew her to be better and do better by example. Her spirit, her wisdom, and her generosity will be greatly missed.

 

STUDENT TRAVEL AWARD RECIPIENTS

Congratulations to our latest travel award recipients:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Awards Available

Post-doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students who are developing data for CANUE, or who have used our data to produce new research are eligible to apply for a student travel award.

We will provide up to $2,500 toward the costs of presenting at a conference (travel, hotel, and registration fees) or visiting a research team at another institution for training. Applications will be reviewed by a Committee of CANUE members within 30 days of the submission deadline.

 

TWO AWARDS AVAILABLE – APPLICATION DEADLINE OCTOBER 31ST | 2018

APPLY NOW


 

Assessing Interest | Special Issue HPCDP on Climate Change and Health | LOI June 29 2018

[Announcement sent on behalf of Margaret de Groh, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, HPCDP Journal]

Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada, Research Policy and Practice

Assessing Interest in a Special Issue on Climate Change and Health

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Journal Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada is exploring the possibility of publishing a special issue on climate change and health next April, 2019, to coincide with Earth Day.  In order to determine if this is a viable topic for the journal, we are conducting a targeted call out for “letters of intent” to specific groups within and outside the federal government.  We see this as an important opportunity to profile the work of scientists in other government departments and demonstrate the important interconnections and impacts of other sectors on health.  We also welcome submissions from scientists external to government (please feel free to share this call out with colleagues).

The timelines for this initiative would be tight and, therefore, would likely involve work already in progress or completed.  We publish both peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed manuscripts.  Since we see this as an opportunity to showcase  interdisciplinary research not generally seen in our Journal, we would entertain short non-peer reviewed pieces (called “at-a-glance” analyses) summarizing work that may otherwise be published in academic journals outside of health.

Deadlines:

Receipt of Letters of Intent (title and brief description of potential submission):  by June 29, 2018

Decision on special issue will be made by July 6, 2018 (all authors will be contacted on our decision)

Submission of Articles (if there is a special issue):  October 1, 2018

For more information on Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada, please visit our website:

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/reports-publications/health-promotion-chronic-disease-prevention-canada-research-policy-practice/information-authors.html

Final consideration:  when we publish special issues, we try to engage a guest editor – someone who knows the area and can help to identify appropriate reviewers.  This is an important role and guest editors are invited to write a commentary (not essential).  If you would be interested in this type of contribution, please contact me, Margaret de Groh, Acting/Editor-in-Chief of the HPCDP Journal.

Thank you!

Margaret

Margaret de Groh, Ph.D.

Editor-in-Chief, HPCDP Journal

Centre for Surveillance and Applied Research

Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Prevention Branch

Public Health Agency of Canada | Government of Canada

margaret.degroh@canada.ca Tel: 613-960-0076 | Cell: 613-614-2045 | Fax: 613-960-0921

Rédactrice en chef, la revue PSPMC

Centre de surveillance et de recherche appliquée

Direction générale de la promotion de la santé et de la prévention des maladies chroniques

Agence de la santé publique du Canada | Gouvernement du Canada

From the Directors…

Welcome to CANUE!

We are very excited to be launching CANUE and our website. It has been a productive few months since our funding support from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) started in June. We have an ambitious agenda for the rest of 2016 culminating in our first workshop in December when members and leadership will come together to exchange ideas and refine CANUE’s strategic plan.

Leading up to this point we have experienced a tremendous amount of excitement and willingness to work together throughout Canada, to join a team to break new ground in research and to have real and lasting impact. We are committed to building from this good will to realize as many of our collective ambitions for CANUE as possible while growing in membership and impact within Canada and internationally. We hope you’re on board for this ride and will spread the word to make sure CANUE is recognized and is responsive to the needs of as many stakeholders as possible.

CANUE truly represents an amazing opportunity to build a dynamic community in Canada that brings the best in urban environmental research and applications to the health research community, ultimately to support decision-making with public health in mind. We are hopeful that CANUE will enable and conduct highly relevant research on environmental factors, exposures or metrics and their links to health. Our goal is to empower our members, to foster collaboration, exchange and knowledge translation so that members and non-members alike clearly see our value-added and hence paddle hard to take CANUE to much success and well past our starting five-year time horizon.

Jeff Brook, PhD
Nominated PI and Scientific Director

Eleanor Setton, PhD
Managing Director

CANUE to host inaugural workshop

CANUE will bring together a diverse group of experts and knowledge users at an inaugural workshop in 2017. This workshop will focus on developing a clear set of values and a Strategic Plan, which will be implemented and refined through ongoing member engagement.