Events are invaluable to moving global health forward. They are opportunities to exchange insight, test out new ideas, and make connections.

All Dahdaleh Institute events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.


Touki Bouki | Film Viewing
Feb 14 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Touki Bouki | Film Viewing @ Boardroom, DIGHR Offices

85min | Dir. Djibril Diop Mambéty | 1973

Spend Valentine’s Day watching one of the strangest films you’re ever likely to see, following young Senegalese couple Mory and Anta as they try to make enough money to get to Paris.

"Touki Bouki explodes, one image at a time." -Martin Scorsese

The DIGHR is getting an education on the art of moving images. Join us as we watch documentaries, thrillers and experimental films on global health themes. Feel free to bring your lunch and your inner film critic.

Beyond Borders | Film Viewing
Mar 15 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Beyond Borders | Film Viewing @ Boardroom, DIGHR Offices

127min | Dir. Martin Campbell | 2003

Watch Angelina Jolie save the children, save her man and harness her Girl Power™ in a film that might have asked interesting ethical questions but does a whole lot of other things instead.

This event is part of Projections: the good, the bad and the weird of global health films. To receive a reminder of this event, click here.

Watch the trailer

Information Design for the Common Good | Lunch & Learn
Aug 8 @ 12:15 pm – 1:45 pm
Information Design for the Common Good | Lunch & Learn @ Boardroom, Dahdaleh Institute Offices

Designers are increasingly involved in the world of social good. Traditionally installed in commercial sectors, they are now collaborating with scientists, researchers and others non-designers with their own knowledge-base and processes. These interdisciplinary encounters are often new, exciting and challenging.

Drawing on her experiences of this phenomenon, and on the research behind her upcoming book Information Design for the Common Good, Courtney Marchese will lead a Lunch & Learn on interdisciplinary design collaboration in global health.

Courtney Marchese is a professional designer with over a decade of experience specializing in data visualizations, information graphics, UX design, and usability studies. She is also an Associate Professor of Graphic + Interactive Design, teaching a wide range of design theory, research, and technical skills at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Indigenous Lecture Series: Dr. Lynn Lavallée | External
Oct 10 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Indigenous Lecture Series: Dr. Lynn Lavallée | External @ Second Student Centre

This event is part of the 2019-2020 Indigenous Lecture Series on Indigenous Health and Decolonisation, presented by the School of Health Policy & Management and the Faculty of Health, York University

Dr. Lynn Lavallée is Interim Director and Professor, School of Social Work and FCS Strategic Lead, Indigenous Resurgence, Ryerson University.

As an Anishinaabek Qwe registered with the Métis Nation of Ontario, Lynn Lavallée’s ancestral roots stem from the Anishinaabe and Métis (Algonquin, Ojibwe and French) from Sudbury, Temiscaming, Timmins, Maniwaki and Swan Lake regions. The family names from her mother’s ancestry include Labelle, Lafond, Godon, and McIvor and on her father’s side includes Gauthier, Pepin, Taylor, Richard, Caya/Cada and Lavallee/Lavalley dit Paquette.

Lavallée has extensive university administrative experience, which she feels has been necessary in advancing Indigenous knowledge in the academy and supporting Indigenous students, staff and faculty. Lavallée began her academic career in 2005 at Ryerson University in the School of Social Work and is currently the FCS, strategic lead, Indigenous resurgence after recently returning from the University of Manitoba where she held the position of vice provost, Indigenous engagement. Her areas of expertise include: Indigenous resurgence; Research ethics, including Indigenous ethics; Indigenous health and well-being; and Indigenous research methodologies

For more information, visit: 

Mark Terry Delivers Keynote at Literary and Cultural Discourses on Mobility
Oct 16 – Oct 18 all-day
Mark Terry Delivers Keynote at Literary and Cultural Discourses on Mobility @ University of Göttingen, Germany

The workshop "Literary and Cultural Discourses on Mobility" explores mobilities in any cultural, historical, and (trans-)medial scene and configuration, and follows the dynamics of ideas, texts, images, affects, styles, things and objects, and people on the move over real and imaginary spaces and boundaries. It is especially concerned with representations and discourses of mobility across different periods, cultures, genres, and media and the techniques that render the aesthetic object mobile in all kinds of translations, adaptations, and networks of transfer and transformation. Finally, mobility has itself proven to be a ‘travelling concept’ (Bal 2002) that mobilises inter- and transdisciplinary research and suggests new routes across disciplinary terrains.

Dahdaleh Institute Postdoc Mark Terry will deliver the Keynote Address, entitled Audience Mobilization: New Approaches to Documentary Film Engagement.

Bridging Research + Practice: Case Study of Chemical Water Quality and Child Malnutrition in a Humanitarian Setting
Oct 23 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Bridging Research + Practice: Case Study of Chemical Water Quality and Child Malnutrition in a Humanitarian Setting @ Boardroom, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research

Concerns about chemical water quality in intensive therapeutic feeding centres (ITFCs) have persisted among humanitarian fieldworkers for a decade, yet there are no established guidelines for the chemical makeup of water added to the therapeutic feeding and rehydration products used to treat children with severe acute malnutrition.

In this seminar, Dr. Syed Imran Ali will tell the story and the science behind his research to establish the first chemical water quality guidelines for ITFCs in humanitarian response.

Dr. Syed Imran Ali is an aid worker and academic focused on humanitarian challenges at the intersection of environment and public health. He has worked in crisis zones and led research with Médecins Sans Frontières and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and taught at the University of California, Berkeley. He is now the inaugural Global Health & Humanitarianism Research Fellow at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at York University.


Image Credit: The MUAC test shows that this child is manourished © African Visuals Media/Malteser International

James Orbinksi Speaks at Annual Banff Forum
Nov 7 – Nov 9 all-day
James Orbinksi Speaks at Annual Banff Forum @ Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Dahdaleh Institute Director James Orbinski will speak at the 2019 annual Banff Forum. Held every autumn in a different location in Canada, the annual Banff Forum brings together young and emerging leaders of Canada across all sectors to enhance their leadership skills and contribution to Canada.

Protecting Digital Public Health: Towards a Regulatory Framework for Internet Pharmacies | Seminar
Nov 13 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Protecting Digital Public Health: Towards a Regulatory Framework for Internet Pharmacies | Seminar @ Boardroom, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research

To address the rising cost of medicines, patients and policymakers are increasingly turning to personal importation through Internet Pharmacies. Despite their potential to improve access to affordable medicines, most countries do not sufficiently regulate Internet Pharmacies, exacerbating public health risks.

The aim of this presentation will be twofold. Using stakeholder and supply chain mapping, the first task will be to determine if and how safety and quality of medicines sold over the Internet can be protected. The broader objective will be to apply a public health framework to evaluate emerging strategies of regulating Internet Pharmacies. In addition to mainstream proposals of expanding the jurisdictional scope of existing regulatory authorities, we consider disruptive internet governance strategies that delegate public health functions to technology intermediaries.

Aria Ilyad Ahmad is the Global Health Foresighting Research Fellow 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.


Indigenous Lecture Series: Dr. Janet Smylie | External
Nov 14 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Indigenous Lecture Series: Dr. Janet Smylie | External @ Second Student Centre

This event is part of the 2019-2020 Indigenous Lecture Series on Indigenous Health and Decolonisation, presented by the School of Health Policy & Management and the Faculty of Health, York University.

Dr. Janet Smylie is a family physician and public health researcher. She currently works as a research scientist in Indigenous health at St. Michael's hospital, Centre for Urban Health Solutions (CUHS), where she directs the Well Living House Applied Research Centre for Indigenous Infant, Child and Family Health. Her primary academic appointment is as a Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. She maintains a part-time clinical practice with Inner City Health Associates at Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto. Dr. Smylie has practiced and taught family medicine in a variety of Aboriginal communities both urban and rural. She is a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, with Métis roots in the prairies.

Her research interests are focused in the area of addressing the health inequities that challenge Indigenous infants, children and their families through applied health services research. Dr. Smylie currently leads multiple research projects in partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities/organizations. She holds a CIHR Applied Public Health Research Chair in Indigenous Health Knowledge and Information and was honoured with a National Aboriginal Achievement (Indspire) Award in Health in 2012. A Métis woman, Dr. Smylie acknowledges her family, teachers, and lodge.

For more information, visit:

Refugee Journeys from Syria to Sweden: Agency, Precarity and Wellbeing
Nov 27 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Refugee Journeys from Syria to Sweden: Agency, Precarity and Wellbeing @ Boardroom, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research

Refugee experiences of seeking protection are characterized by a high degree of both agency and precarity, both of which impact wellbeing, shape positionality and transform identity. Centralizing refugees as the primary source of knowledge and presenting them as real individuals with diverse backgrounds and aspirations, this presentation examines the global crisis of forced migration through the lens of Syrian refugees’ journeys to Sweden.

Having escaped war in their homeland, Syrian refugees find themselves trapped between a failing protection regime and a global system of border controls. Those who decide to journey towards Sweden are transformed from refugees, entitled to protection, into “illegal migrants” who are criminalized for challenging the regime of borders. Due to such precarity and illegality, refugees arrive at their intended destinations with a heavy load of pain, fear, and confusion, which influences their sense of identity and belonging, and affects their ability to integrate into their new localities.

Informed by the knowledge of refugees and through their stories, this research examines the refugee journey as a complex and messy act of survival and resistance. It challenges dominant narratives that represent refugees either as victims who deserve aid in their regions or as threats when they exert their agency and journey towards the global north. It problematizes the dominant narrative of the “European crisis of migration” and proposes that the “unauthorized” arrivals of refugees in Europe are reflections of a global crisis of protection, a crisis that develops as a result of a failing protection regime and bordering practices against refugees from the global south.


Dr. Maissaa Almustafa holds a Ph.D. in Global Governance from Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU). She is a Research Fellow at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, a Research Associate at the University of Waterloo, an Affiliated Researcher with the International Migration Research Center, and teaches at the WLU Department of Political Science. Dr. Almustafa’s research focuses on forced displacement, statelessness, refugees’ experiences, and the impact of refugees’ journeys on their lives and wellbeing. She is actively involved in refugees’ resettlement in the Waterloo region.


Image Credit: Hanna Shammo, 23, from Syria is pictured outside the Syrian Association on November 19, 2013 in Vaellingby, near Stockholm. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Mark Terry Speaks at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25)
Dec 2 – Dec 7 all-day
Mark Terry Speaks at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) @ Madrid, Spain

The UN Climate Change Conference COP 25 (2 – 13 December 2019) will take place under the Presidency of the Government of Chile and will be held with logistical support from the Government of Spain. SBSTA 51/ SBI 51 will take place 2-9 December 2019. The pre-sessional period is from 25 November - 1 December 2019. The President-Designate for the conference is Ms. Carolina Schmidt Zaldivar, Minister of Environment of Chile.

The conference is designed to take the next crucial steps in the UN climate change process. Following agreement on the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement at COP 24 in Poland last year, a key objective is to complete several matters with respect to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Dahdaleh Institute Postdoc Mark Terry will be speaking on youth engagement through film at the Youth Climate Action Day on December 5, conducting a press conference on December 3, and presenting the winning videos for this year's Global Youth Video Competition.

York Faculty and Fellow Workshop on Critical Perspectives in Global Health
Dec 4 @ 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
York Faculty and Fellow Workshop on Critical Perspectives in Global Health @ Rm. 1005, Dahdaleh Building, York University

The purpose of this workshop is to discover, share, and support critical global health research that is taking place or planned at York, and that contributes to the themes of the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research: 1) Planetary Health; 2) Global Health and Humanitarianism; and 3) Global Health Foresighting.

We seek a ‘critical social science with global public health’ that engages directly with global public health actors to transform public health, while remaining committed to social science theory and methodology. As a starting point, Professor James Orbinski will offer reflections on “Global Health Context Setting”, and a second session will reflect on “Critical Problem Solving in Global Health”. We will then invite other York Faculty and Fellows to offer brief “Five Minutes/2 Slides” presentations of their existing or planned research in Critical Perspectives in Global Health.

We hope to enable an open dialogue that may lead to new insights and research opportunities. Following the Workshop, the DIGHR will offer five research seed grants of up to $5,000 CAD each, to support the development of further research in Critical Perspectives in Global Health. These would be invited for presentation at a May 2020 Full Day DIGHR Workshop on Critical Perspectives in Global Health. This would encourage faculty to develop grant proposals over the 2020 summer for Fall Tri-Council (and other agency) grant deadlines.

Critical Perspectives in Global Health takes place December 4, 2019, 9:30am – 3:00pm. Lunch will be provided.


9:30 AM Registration and Coffee
10 AM Welcome
10:15 AM Global Health Context Setting
Dr. James Orbinski
10:45 AM Reflections on Critical Problem Solving in Global Health
11:15 AM Discussion
12 PM Lunch
12:45 PM 5minutes/2slides Rapid Presentations of Ongoing or Planned Critical Perspectives Research in Global Health
2:30 PM Seed Grants, Next Steps, and Wrap-up    
3:00 PM End 

Organizing Committee

James Orbinski
Eric Mykhalovskiy
Rhonda Ferguson
Sarah Flicker
Stephen Gill
Maggie MacDonald
Marina Morrow
Roger Keil


To attend, register by 10am on Thursday November 28th, 2019. Register at:

Report Back: COP25 & Internet Governance Forum
Jan 8 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Report Back: COP25 & Internet Governance Forum @ Boardroom, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research

November and December 2019 saw Dahdaleh Institute researchers at two major global events. At this seminar, they will share their experiences and insights garnered.

Global Health Foresighting Fellow Aria Ilyad Ahmad attended the 2019 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Berlin, where he hosted two panels, one of which was presented by the Dahdaleh Institute. Convened by the United Nations, the IGF serves to bring people together from various stakeholder groups as equals, in discussions on public policy issues relating to the Internet.

Postdoctoral Fellow Mark Terry attended COP25 in Madrid, Spain. Among the many activities he undertook while there, Dr. Terry premiered the film Happening to Us alongside the student filmmakers, a group of Inuit youth from Tuktoyaktuk, and presented awards to the winners of the Global Youth Video Competition.

There is no registration for this event. For updates on this event and to hear about similar events, sign up to the newsletter, follow us on twitter, or like us on facebook.

Report Back: COP25 Climate Change Negotiations
Jan 14 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Report Back: COP25 Climate Change Negotiations @ Accolade West, Room 307, YorkU

Members of York University’s largest delegation since COP15 Copenhagen will share their activities & discuss progress.

Panel 1: Governance, Indigenous and Student Voices Panel

With Idil Boran (LAPS), Angele Alook (LAPS), Matthew Hampson (LAPS)
Moderated by Ellie Perkins (FES)

Dawn Bazely (Science) on how to reduce your travel carbon footprint

Panel 2: Blockchain for Climate and Green Buildings Panel

With Kam Phung (Schulich), Joseph Pallant (Health) & Will Gagnon (Ecology North) via Zoom

Mark Terry (Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research) will screen Happening to Us, a film about climate change made by Inuit youth.

Embodied Ecological Heritage: Health, Happiness and Identity | Guest Lecture
Jan 22 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Embodied Ecological Heritage: Health, Happiness and Identity | Guest Lecture @ Boardroom, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research

A holistic definition of ‘health’ remains difficult to operationalize, despite decades of attempts by medical anthropologists and the World Health Organization to do so. Anthropologists routinely reject dichotomous notions – belief vs. knowledge, wellness vs. health, mental vs. physical, environment vs. self – yet our desire for physiological evidence of ‘health’ still persists.

In this talk, Dr. Baines asks what evidence would sufficiently demonstrate health, and explore the possibility of measures that move beyond the physiological. Presenting ethnographic data collected in indigenous Maya communities in Belize and in indigenous Belizean Garifuna communities in New York City and Los Angeles, she argues that ecological heritage practices can provide a lens through which to locate and collect evidence of health, holistically defined.

Developing a framework of ‘embodied ecological heritage’ (EEH), she discusses how communities and individuals communicate and measure health as part of everyday ecological activities, which they describe as ‘traditional’ or ‘heritage’ practices. Theorizing unexpected links and feedback loops, which cross temporal, spatial, and social boundaries, she asserts that health is connected to practice through tangible, embodied experience and that ethnography thus provides powerful evidence to understand and define it.

Kristina Baines is an Assistant Professor at CUNY, Guttman CC, Director of Anthropology of Cool Anthropology, and author of Embodying Ecological Heritage in a Maya Community: Health, Happiness, and Identity. She can usually be found considering how being on a particular patch of Earth affects our wellness, and she attempts to translate all those convoluted data so that humans can understand, use and, perhaps, even enjoy them.

Kristina has been formally trained in applied, sociocultural, ecological and medical anthropology at Florida Atlantic University (BA, MA), the University of Oxford (MSc) and the University of South Florida (PhD). Her interests include environment + health intersections, ecological heritage, phenomenology and educational anthropology. She has conducted research in Belize, Guatemala, Peru and South Florida.

Co-presented with the Department of Anthropology


Assessing Quality of Tuberculosis Care in South Africa Using Standardized Patients
Feb 5 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Assessing Quality of Tuberculosis Care in South Africa Using Standardized Patients @ Boardroom, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research

South Africa has the third highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) and the highest burden of TB-HIV co-infection globally. Efforts to curb TB have focussed on strengthening the public sector. Yet, a third of South Africans with active TB symptoms first seek care in the private sector where the quality of care remains poorly understood. In this talk, Angela Salomon will present an ongoing study (2017-2020) utilising the standardised patient (SP) methodology to determine how TB and TB-HIV are managed among private general practitioners (GPs) in an urban area of KwaZulu-Natal province. Eight healthy SPs underwent extensive training in typical TB case presentations and completed 220 unannounced visits with 96 consenting GPs. The results of these clinical interactions as a means to assess quality of care for TB and TB-HIV are presented in this talk.


Angie Salomon, MPH, is a medical student at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She works with Assistant Professor Dr. Amrita Daftary (Global Health, York University) and is a research assistant with the McGill International Tuberculosis Centre. There, Angie conducts data management and analysis on a study of the quality of tuberculosis care in South Africa using standardized patients. She also performs a systematic review on interventions to improve linkage gaps along TB-HIV care cascades in low and middle-income countries.

Angie completed her MPH in Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, where she explored quantitative and mixed-methods research in infectious diseases and maternal health, both at home and abroad. During this time, she worked with the Population Council in Abuja, Nigeria, assessing quality of antenatal care as it pertains to pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. She had previously worked with Grand Challenges Canada as a program assistant for Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace.

Passionate about health equity, Angie works to measure and improve the quality of healthcare delivery locally and globally.


Screenings: Planetary Health Film Lab
Feb 21 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Screenings: Planetary Health Film Lab @ Global Strategy Lab

You are invited to attend a screening of seven short documentaries by emerging international filmmakers who came to Toronto to participate in the Planetary Health Film Lab. The Film Lab took these young filmmakers through an intensive five-day process to create a film which tells a story about the health impacts of climate change.

In addition to honouring the filmmakers, the screening is a starting point to discuss the use of documentary film for climate communication and advocacy, the future of global health storytelling, and the health impacts of climate change.

The event will include a screening of all seven short documentaries before they are shared online and an open discussion with the filmmakers and organizers, who will all be in attendance.

The Filmmakers

This year’s cohort of youth are the workshop’s first. The group includes environmental activists and emerging filmmakers from around the world, including Canada, Australia, Ecuador, Colombia, India, and Italy.

The Films

All films will be included in the Youth Climate Report, a partner program of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). They will be featured on the websites of the UNFCCC, the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research and the Youth Climate Report.

The Planetary Health Film Lab is a collaboration between the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, Young Lives Research Laboratory and the Youth Climate Report.

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


James Orbinski Special Presentation at the 5th Annual Health Innovation Summit
Feb 26 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
James Orbinski Special Presentation at the 5th Annual Health Innovation Summit @ Canada 2020 Studio

Policymakers across all political stripes and jurisdictions are being confronted with the realities of a health system under immense pressure - the sustainability of which is being challenged by a growing and aging population.

Charting that path to sustainability has been the core concern of the Canada 2020 Health Innovation Summit. Now in its fifth year, the Summit will look at how advancements in technology and investments in innovation help improve health outcomes and reduce costs.

This year, we will also be analyzing the ways in which these advancements interact with the implementation of a Pharmacare plan.

Bringing together key representatives from across the health system (federal and provincial policymakers, hospital executives, patient advocates, industry leaders and researchers), the Canada 2020 Health Innovation Summit will be structured around keynotes, presentations, panel discussions and networking.

Registration is now open. Early bird prices available until January 31st, 2020

Program Agenda

Note: exact timing subject to change

9:00 Registration & Welcome from Canada 2020


9:15 Welcoming Presentation

Dr. Sandy Buchman, President, Canadian Medical Association


9:30 Presentation: Health Care Costs, Demographic Pressures & Emerging Challenges

Mostafa Askari, Chief Economist, IFSD, uOttawa


10:00 Panel Discussion: Growing the Health Innovation Ecosystem

Matthew Collingridge, General Manager, Digital, GE Healthcare

Kathryn Hughes, TELUS Health

Janet Daglish, National Director, Bayshore

Moderated by Bill Charnetski, EVP Point-and-Click Care


11:00 Presentation: Stepping into the Future of Treatment & Care in Canada

Elizabeth Toller, Executive Director, Regulatory Innovation, Health Canada

David Lee, Chief Regulatory Officer, Health Canada


12:00 Networking Lunch & Conversation

The Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade


13:15 In Conversation: Adopting Innovation on the Front Lines

Alex Munter, President & CEO, CHEO

Jodi Butts, Independent Board Member


14:00 Special Presentation: Global Context, Global Risks

Dr. James Orbinski, Dahdeleh Centre for Global Health Research, York University


15:00 The 3 P’s of Health Politics in 2020 - Pharmacare, Provinces & Pandemic

Tim Powers, Summa Strategies

Anne McGrath, National Director, NDP

Peter Cleary, Santis Health


16:00 Conclusion of forum

Design and Global Health: Embedded Practices, Emerging Ideas
Mar 4 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Design and Global Health: Embedded Practices, Emerging Ideas @ Boardroom, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research

The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research is interested in design for its problem-solving approaches which focus equally on iterative process and concrete outcome; and for the frameworks it offers to understand relationships between form, function, content and context. Design may offer effective means to realise the impact of global health research.

Taking for granted that design in different forms – industrial, systems, thinking, graphic, communication – is already embedded in global health, but that the capacity of global health research to engage deeply with design knowledge is limited, this seminar has two goals. First, by bringing global health and design researchers to the same table, the seminar aims to establish common ground for discussion and discovery between those open to exploring these intersections. Secondly, it aims to present and garner response to emerging ideas on how the Dahdaleh Institute might engage with design moving forward.


Netta Kornberg is the Knowledge Dissemination Strategist at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research. She holds an MPhil. at the University of Cambridge, where her dissertation on Namibian literature was the first such project in the university’s history, and an HBA at the University of Toronto. Netta has worked in adult education and public health at York University Faculty of Education, Artists' Health Alliance, South African History Online, and Peoples’ Health Movement South Africa.


Health, Hunger, and Malaria in South Asian History
Mar 11 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Health, Hunger, and Malaria in South Asian History @ Room 626, Kaneff Tower, YorkU Keele Campus

A central role for hunger in the historical mortality burden of malaria in colonial South Asia was commonplace in the sanitary records of nineteenth-century British India. Malaria mortality declined markedly with the control of famine after 1920 – a decline that predated by more than three decades the control of malaria transmission in the region with the mid-1950s DDT-based malaria eradication program.

This experience thus highlights the significance of shifts in the lethality of common endemic infections in relation to food security as a central feature of the region’s rising life expectancy from pre-modern levels – an understanding and epistemic framework that generally has been lost in modern epidemiologic, nutritional, and historiographic thought.

The question of how this understanding was lost has epistemological implications beyond South Asia. They include the importance of reclaiming conceptual distinctions between acute and chronic hunger and an epidemiological approach to hunger and subsistence precarity in health history.


Sheila Zurbrigg obtained her MD degree from the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interest in rural child health led her to India (1974-79), where she helped develop a primary health program in rural Tamil Nadu, working with the traditional village midwives of Ramnad district; this experience led to an analysis of child survival in contemporary India in relation to food security and conditions of women’s work. Her discovery of S.R. Christophers’s 1911 study, Malaria in the Punjab, linking malaria mortality to the price of staple foodgrains, led her to explore more deeply the historical role of hunger in malaria lethality in South Asia, funded as a private scholar by SSHRC. Between 1993 and 2013 she taught part-time at Dalhousie University in the departments of History and International Development Studies. Her most recent historical monograph investigates the epistemic shifts in modern medical and nutritional thought leading to loss of understanding of the role of acute hunger in the region’s malaria mortality history.

Co-presented by the York Centre for Asian Research and the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research.

Book Launch | The Geo-Doc: Geomedia, Documentary Film, and Social Change
Mar 13 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Book Launch | The Geo-Doc: Geomedia, Documentary Film, and Social Change @ Arts & Letters Club

Join the Dahdaleh Institute and Postdoc Mark Terry to celebrate the release of his new book, The Geo-Doc: Geomedia, Documentary Film, and Social Change.

Based on his PhD thesis, the book introduces the Geo-Doc as a new form of documentary film designed to maximize the influential power of the documentary film as an agent of social change.


Mark Terry is the Postdoctoral Fellow, Documentary Film & Global Health at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, cross-appointed at the Faculties of Health and Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto. He has worked throughout the global Arctic serving as the Scientist-in-Residence on Adventure Canada’s circumnavigation of Iceland (2018), making the first documented film of a crossing of the Northwest Passage, The Polar Explorer (2011), and teaching at Arctic universities in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia. He has also worked in Antarctica with the British Antarctic Survey and the National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine documenting this research in the film The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning (2009).

As a member of The Explorers Club, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the Canadian Council for Geographic Education, the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Mark teaches and speaks regularly about the environmental issues affecting the fragile eco-systems of the polar regions and, by extension, the world.


This book introduces a new form of documentary film: the Geo-Doc, designed to maximize the influential power of the documentary film as an agent of social change. By combining the proven methods and approaches as evidenced through historical, theoretical, digital, and ecocritical investigations with the unique affordances of Geographic Information System technology, a dynamic new documentary form emerges, one tested in the field with the United Nations. This book begins with an overview of the history of the documentary film with attention given to how it evolved as an instrument of social change. It examines theories surrounding mobilizing the documentary film as a communication tool between filmmakers and policymakers. Ecocinema and its semiotic storytelling techniques are also explored for their unique approaches in audience engagement. The proven methods identified throughout the book are combined with the spatial and temporal affordances provided by GIS technology to create the Geo-Doc, a new tool for the activist documentarian.


Click here to download the event poster.

The Business of Good Intentions: Reframing the Global Health Volunteering Debate
Mar 19 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
The Business of Good Intentions: Reframing the Global Health Volunteering Debate @ York Lanes, Rm 305, YorkU Keele Campus

Co-presented with The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas

Since the mid-2000s, “voluntourism,” or short-term student volunteering abroad, has emerged as an international travel trend, and simultaneously as the subject of heated popular and academic debate. Among aspiring health professionals, student placements in health facilities in the so-called global South are particularly attractive.

In popular and academic debates on hospital voluntourism, one side lauds the perceived positive impact of international volunteers on hosting institutions; the other highlights ethical conundrums and possible harms, some going so far as to depict student volunteers as neocolonial narcissists benefitting more from the experience than hosting communities do.

Drawing on online research and in-depth ethnographic fieldwork in Tanzania since 2008, this talk leaves behind polarizing narratives of heroes and villains and instead focuses on the systematic drivers and wider implications of voluntourism to consider how history and economics collude in the for-profit voluntourism industry to seemingly render moral the familiar yet unmarked racialized tropes informing imaginaries of doing good elsewhere.


Noelle Sullivan, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Instruction in Global Health Studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She grew up just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where she received a B.A. with Distinction in Anthropology and History. She completed an MA in African and African American Studies at the University at Albany, SUNY (2002), and then an MA (2006) and PhD (2011) in Anthropology from the University of Florida, with a certificate in African Studies.

Dr. Sullivan is a Board Member for the charity Worldview Education and Care. In 2016-2017, she was a Fellow with The Op-Ed Project, which aims to diversify the voices and issues depicted in the media. She is currently a Faculty Fellow with the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University, where she is completing her book on international volunteering in health care settings in Tanzania.


Maggie MacDonald, PhD is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Anthropology, York University. She is a medical anthropologist with research and teaching expertise in women's reproductive health. Dr. MacDonald has conducted long term ethnographic research with global health NGOs and advocates, maternal health NGOs in Senegal, and amongst midwives and their clients in Canada.

Humanitarianism in the Anthropocene: Exploring Operational & Advocacy Frameworks to Improve Planetary Health
Apr 22 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Humanitarianism in the Anthropocene: Exploring Operational & Advocacy Frameworks to Improve Planetary Health @ Boardroom, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research

Humans are profoundly altering ecosystems which in turn negatively impacts human health and alters the nature of humanitarian emergencies. Consequences include changes in exposure to heat stress, air pollution, infectious disease, extreme weather and natural hazards, as well as increased water scarcity, food insecurity, and population displacement. Recent projections indicate that without urgent significant reduction of carbon emissions, climate change could double the demand for humanitarian assistance in the context of significant existing unmet needs. The health co-benefits — the positive effects on human health — of action to reduce climate-altering pollutants are also well documented.

Global health advocates, and increasingly humanitarians, are calling for urgent action, yet there is little clarity on what that action specifically and practically entails. As a transversal threat, climate change requires humanitarians to redesign current operations and adapt with a resilience approach.

This presentation will share a chronology of game-changing global health moments, case studies, policies, and frameworks. It proposes the first draft of an operational framework and advocacy guidance for climate-resilient humanitarian health organizations and related global health actors.


Carol Devine is Community Scholar at Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at York University and Humanitarian Affairs Advisor with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada. She co-leads a project on climate, environment and health for MSF and has contributed to the 2019 and 2018 Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change from a humanitarian perspective. Carol has worked with MSF in Rwanda, East Timor, Peru and South Sudan as humanitarian advisor and was the Canadian liaison for MSF’s Access to Essential Medicines Campaign. She has advocated for access to medicines and for respect for humanitarian principles and law before the Canadian Parliament and the World Trade Organization and has been a speaker at TEDxMontrealWomen, the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness and at the American Geophysical Union Conference in 2018 on plastic pollution, climate change and health.


Image Credit: Sarah Grillo/Axios