James Orbinski, OC,MSc,BSc,MD,MA,MCFP

James OrbinskiDirector, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (DIGHR) | @jamesorbinski
As a medical doctor, a humanitarian practitioner and advocate, a best-selling author, and a leading scholar in global health, Dr. Orbinski believes in actively engaging and shaping our world so that it is more just, fair and humane. He has worked providing humanitarian relief in situations of war, famine, epidemic disease and genocide with Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF). He 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 also co-founded Dignitas International, which researches health systems and now supports more than 270,000 people with full treatment for HIV and AIDS in Malawi, and works with First Nations communities in Northern Ontario on community based interventions for diabetes. His current research interests focus on the health impacts of climate change, humanitarianism, intervention strategies around emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, and global health governance.


Aria Ilyad Ahmad, MSc, PhD Candidate

Policy Advisor
Aria Ilyad Ahmad is a policy advisor at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research. Since 2014, he has also served as a consultant to the World Health Organization's Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products. Aria is a past Duke University Global Health Fellow and past faculty member of the Global Health Education Initiative at the University of Toronto. He has testified before the Canadian Senate on Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime, served on the board of directors of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, and was the inaugural Médecins Sans Frontières Access to Medicines Fellow in India. Aria received his HBSc and MSc in international pharmaceutical policy from the University of Toronto, and is completing his PhD in global health governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada.

Theresa Dinh, MSc

Administrative Officer
Theresa Dinh has a wealth of academic and administrative experience at York, and has a strong interest in developing her career in academic administration. Theresa holds a recently completed (2015) Master of Science in Geography from the University of Guelph. Her thesis focused on the Influence of Humans and Climatic Variability on Historic Wildfire Dynamics. She has certification in Research and Project Management, and in Geographic Information Systems, and is highly skilled in data base management, and standard research software.

Research Fellows

Syed Imran Ali, PhD

Research Fellow, Global Health and Humanitarianism
Dr. Imran Ali is an aid worker and academic focused on humanitarian challenges at the intersection of environment and public health. He has worked in emergency responses and led operational research with Médecins Sans Frontières and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in South Sudan, Pakistan, Jordan, Rwanda, and Uganda. Dr. Ali has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Development Impact Lab and the Blum Center for Developing Economies. Dr. Ali received his doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Guelph and his bachelors in engineering from Queen’s University.

James Chirombo, PhD candidate

Research Fellow
James Chirombo is a Malawian statistician currently in the final stages of his PhD in spatial statistics and epidemiology with Lancaster University in the Centre for Health Informatics, Computing and Statistics (CHICAS) funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). His research interest is in the statistical modelling of spatial processes of infectious disease transmission. He has a strong interest in modelling climatic impacts on climate-sensitive vector-borne diseases such as malaria. The climate change and health fellowship is a natural step in his career. When he was working for the Malawi Ministry of Health, he was a focal person in the ministry for a project aimed at quantifying climatic and weather impacts on health in developing countries. This was his first exposure to climate-related health studies and his interest has grown since then. This climate change and health fellowship is an excellent opportunity to learn new things and use some of his prior experience in climate and health modelling studies to influence policy development that will affect the lives of many people in Malawi.

Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook, PhD

Research Fellow
Dr. Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook is a Toronto-based research, education and mental wellness specialist, working as a research lead, university lecturer, psychotherapist intern, and community educator. Her work focuses on: climate change, Indigenous environmental and health perspectives, health equity, social-ecological resilience, biodiversity conservation, natural resource management, community development, environmental and trauma perspectives in mental health, and youth development. Tanya completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Canada-Caribbean community climate change adaptation, and holds a PhD in Environmental Studies and an MA in International Development Studies. She has many years of experience leading and advising scholarship, education and community development projects with collaborators from diverse Indigenous, academic, nonprofit, United Nations and government institutions in Canada, Latin America/Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Netherlands. Tanya has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses and guest lecturing throughout Canada and internationally. Reports on climate change (including health) have been commissioned for the: World Health Organization (WHO)/World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Government of Jamaica/UNFCCC, Health Canada, and UNEP.

Byomkesh Talukder, PhD

Research Fellow
Dr. Byomkesh Talukder has carried out leading-edge research in sustainability assessment of food and agricultural systems using Multiple Objective Decision Making techniques from a systems thinking perspective with application to coastal agricultural systems in Bangladesh for which he personally collected extensive data sets. Dr. Talukder’s research is based on ground-level data related to a community’s sustainability needs in Bangladesh. His research and writing mainly explore food and agriculture systems through an interdisciplinary lens. His work has gained international attention as he has been invited to share his research findings at key international conferences on sustainable development, climate change, food and agriculture. His work is consistent with the indicator-based assessment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Over a 10-year span field work experiences, Dr. Talukder was engaged in interdisciplinary training of civil servants in Bangladesh who are now leaders in sustainable development programs and policy design in Bangladesh. Under Dr. Talukder’s close supervision, more than 2000 thousand civil servants received training on various sustainability issues in Bangladesh such as climate change agreements, climate change impacts, environmental management, disaster management, biodiversity and sustainable development.

PhD Students

Tino Kreutzer, PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate | @tinokreutzer | website
Tino Kreutzer is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of humanitarian response and information management. He has more than 10 years’ experience working in the response to humanitarian crises, natural disasters, and the international Ebola epidemic for the United Nations and other organizations. Tino currently serves as the Crisis Informatics Coordinator at NetHope and is a Senior Advisor at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, where he has been instrumental to the creation of KoBoToolbox, the primary data collection tool in humanitarian emergencies. His PhD research focuses on pioneering a novel system for understanding population needs in emergencies through the innovative use of new technology.

Find out more about DIGHR's Executive Committee and other members.