The Dahdaleh Institute is home to the highest caliber of global health research with real-world application.

By engaging health policy, practice and science on the world stage, the Dahdaleh Institute works to strengthen the global common good and enhance global health equity. Our work is collaborative and transdisciplinary – the challenges of global health aren’t limited by academic categories, so neither are we. This is how we build the global health we want.

Skip to: Themes | Featured Projects | History | Leadership | Latest News | Featured People

Research takes place under three research themes:

Planetary Health

Planetary Health research calls urgent attention to the human health cost of breaking ecological limits and invites deeper reflection on the relationship between human and environmental wellbeing.

Global Health & Humanitarianism

Humanitarianism is not charity. It is fuelled by the understanding that we are all implicated in the political, economic and environmental decisions that put vulnerable people into crisis.

Global Health Foresighting

The Dahdaleh Institute gives license to imaginative and intentional approaches to designing global health futures.



The Dahdaleh Institute (pronounced DA-da-ly) was founded in 2015 at York University, Toronto, Canada, through an endowment from Victor Phillip Dahdaleh. Dahdaleh’s donation is the largest by an alumnus in the university’s history.

Six York University Faculties - Education,  Environmental Studies, HealthLassonde School of Engineering, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and Osgoode Hall Law School - collaborated over the following years to make the Dahdaleh Institute a reality. With the appointment of Dr. James Orbinksi as inaugural Director in 2017, the Dahdaleh Institute’s academic priorities and operations took shape.


The Dahdaleh Institute is led by Dr. James Orbinski. Prior to joining as the inaugural Director, he provided medical humanitarian relief in situations of war, famine, epidemic disease, and genocide with Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

Dr. Orbinksi was elected International President of MSF from 1998-2001, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to MSF in 1999, and co-chaired the founding of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative in 2004. He co-founded Dignitas International, is a Board Member of Grand Challenges Canada, and has been a member of several bodies committed to improving health equity both in Canada and around the world.

For this and other work, Dr. Orbinksi was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada and awarded the Meritorious Service Cross.

An avid canoeist (and inevitable commuter), James lives in Guelph, Ontario, with his wife and their three children.