Keynote Speakers

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Dr. Steven Cummins, a geographer (BSc) with training in epidemiology (MSc) and public health (PhD), joined London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine after holding posts at Queen Mary, University of London and the MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow.
Steven has been Academic Visitor at The Pennsylvania State University (2004) and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Social Epidemiology & Population Health, University of Michigan (2005–06). He has served on the committee of the RGS-IBG Geography of Health Research Group and the BSA Sociology of Food Group and, at various times, has undertaken work as an ‘invited expert’ for the Food Standards Agency, Department of Health, Department for Transport, Canadian Insititutes for Health Research, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, Scottish Government, US National Cancer Institute and the US National Academy of Science. He has been a full committee member of the Society for Social Medicine (2006–2009), an appointed member of the Food Standards Agency Social Science Research Committee (2008–11) and a member of the NICE PDG on the Prevention of Pre-diabetes (2009–11).
He is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition & Physical Activity and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Steven currently sits on the NIHR Public Health Research Programme Funding Board, the MRC Strategic Skills Fellowship Panel and the NIHR Doctoral Fellowships Panel.

 

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Dr Jason Gilliland is Director of the Urban Development Program and Professor of Geography, Health Sciences, and Paediatrics at the University of Western Ontario, where he was recently awarded the title of Western Faculty Scholar. He is also a Scientist with the Children’s Health Research Institute and the Lawson Health Research Institute, two of Canada’s most significant hospital-based research institutes. Dr. Gilliland completed his BA in Geography at McMaster, MA and PhD in Geography at McGill, Master of Architecture at McGill, and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Planning at University of Toronto. He is known internationally for his research on urban planning and public health issues, and is also well-known in the local community, having served on dozens of boards and committees working to strengthen the local economy, environment, and population health. His research has appeared in leading journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, the Canadian Journal of Public Health, and Preventive Medicine, and is currently funded by organizations such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Dr. Gilliland is also Director of the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL), a multi-disciplinary research and consulting team which specializes in the production, evaluation, synthesis and dissemination of evidence to support effective policies, programs and professional practise aimed at creating healthy and vibrant communities.

 

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Jennifer Black, PhD RD, is an assistant professor in the Food, Nutrition and Health program at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Black completed dietetics training and a master’s degree from Columbia University, a PhD from New York University and post-doctoral training in the Department of Sociology at UBC. Her research focuses broadly on the social determinants of health and dietary choices with a particular interest in the roles of neighborhood context, school food environments and community food programs in shaping food security and dietary practices.

 

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Leia Minaker is a Scientist at the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact. Leia completed her PhD at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta in early 2013. During her studies, Leia examined environmental determinants of diets and obesity at a population level, working with urban planners and public health practitioners to develop policies supportive of healthy built environments. She wrote the Measuring the Food Environments in Canada report for Health Canada and has been working with Health Canada on creating a manual for communities to assess their retail food environments.

 

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Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine is a social epidemiologist and is Interim Executive Director of the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan. He leads SPHERU’s Healthy Children research program. His work includes researching questions related to community and family contextual influences in child development and health, risk in the prenatal period, and developing community-university research partnerships to improve knowledge creation, transfer and application. His current research includes evaluations of population-level early childhood intervention programs. He particularly cherishes the mentoring role and works closely with junior colleagues and graduate students. He is the recipient of several awards of distinction, including his province’s 2009 Health Research Achievement Award and the CIHR Knowledge Translation Award. He is a professor and head of the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan.

 

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Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She has a doctorate in Nutrition and her research interests include community food security, food environments and food access, food system sustainability, health promotion, and community-based and participatory research. Dr. Engler-Stringer is Principal Investigator on several studies including two studies funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research called Smart Cities, Healthy Kids: Food Environment and Good Food, Healthy Families. The first has characterized the food environment in Saskatoon and the second is examining the impacts of the opening of a full-service cooperative grocery store (the Good Food Junction) in a former food desert. She is also an avid cook and takes great satisfaction from growing some of her own food.

 

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Dr. Kelly Skinner is a CIHR Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Indigenous Learning and the Department of Psychology at Lakehead University and completed a PhD in Health Studies and Gerontology at the University of Waterloo in 2013 with CIHR Doctoral Award funding from the Institute of Population and Public Health. Since 2003, Kelly has worked closely with a number of First Nations communities in Ontario and Quebec on community-based health and social projects related to food, nutrition, physical activity, and food security. This work has involved dietary assessment, program evaluation, and community development and has, in the past several years, begun to move towards social justice and social policy for improving food security and advocacy for food sovereignty. Kelly’s current research around food environments includes: (1) determining appropriate measurement tools for acquiring food pricing data and conducting food costing in northern Canada; (2) examining the relationship between food purchasing patterns and the timing of social assistance/wages in women living in urban and northern remote communities; (3) conducting an online survey regarding the status of commercial food purchasing experiences in northern Canada; and (4) exploring government policies and corporate practices that influence food purchasing in the north.

 

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Yan Kestens holds the CIHR Applied Public Health Chair in Urban Interventions and Population Health. He has a Ph.D. in Urban Planning (Universite Laval, Quebec City) and a postdoctoral fellowship in Spatial Epidemiology (University of Montreal). Researcher at the CHUM Research Centre, and Associate Professor at the Social and Preventive Medicine Department at École de Santé Publique de l’Universite de Montreal.