Getting people in a room together to discuss, learn and network is invaluable to moving global health forward.

Join us at our seminal Global Health Research Seminar Series, where leading researchers in global health present their latest work and hold an open discussion. By exploring the best in current research, the series builds perspective on the direction of global health research more broadly.

We also host Journal Club, Lunch & Learns, guest lectures, panels, showcases, discussions, presentations, publication launches, film screenings and more.

All events are free, open to the public, and are BYOF (Bring-Your-Own-Food), unless otherwise noted.


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

Test Evebt
Jun 26 @ 6:48 pm – 7:48 pm