The Dahdaleh Institute is home to the highest caliber of global health research with real-world impact. By engaging health policy, practice and science on the world stage, the Dahdaleh Institute works to strengthen the global commons and enhance global health equity.

We are committed to growing global health at York University, building partnerships at and beyond the university, and fostering a new generation of global health scholars and practitioners.

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 shape a socially just global health.


Research takes place under three research themes:

Banner image for the Humanitarianism page of lit matches aligned in a row

Global Health & Humanitarianism

We work to improve clinical public health effectiveness of humanitarian response through scientific research, technological innovation, and critical perspectives which speak to the realities of contemporary humanitarian policy and practice.

banner image

Planetary Health

Planetary Health research calls urgent attention to the symbiotic relationship between human and biospheric wellbeing and catalyses action to address the health impacts of breaking ecological limits.

Banner image of scattered yellow-golden light installations

Global Health Foresighting

Global Health Foresighting proactively imagines the global health we want and works intentionally towards it.


The Dahdaleh Institute 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.