Paivi Abernathy

Paivi Abernethy is Savonian, from Kuopio, north of the 62˚ parallel, in Eastern Finland, who arrived in Canada in 2001. She is the Climate Change and Health Specialist for the First Nations Health Authority, Research Fellow with the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo.

Paivi has a Master of Research in Health Research/Public Health (Lancaster University, UK) and Master of Science in Biochemistry (University of Copenhagen, Denmark). Her PhD in Social and Ecological Sustainability (University of Waterloo) specialized in ecohealth, health promotion, sustainability governance, and bridging different ways of knowing to better address threats to children’s environmental health. Her postdocs at Leuphana University (Germany) and Royal Roads University investigated knowledge co-production and mutual learning for better decision-making and policy development. Paivi has been working in healthy and sustainable community development with and in Indigenous and Northern communities since 2005, focusing on social, ecological and Indigenous determinants of health and community capacity building. Her work has centred on impacts of various environmental factors, from climate change and pollution to socioeconomic influences, on community and ecosystem health – and how to strengthen community resiliency, building on existing assets.

Federico Andrade-Rivas

Federico Andrade-Rivas is a Colombian who has now the privilege of studying and living in the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) peoples. He is a PhD student at the School of Population and Public Health (UBC), working in the Global Health Research Program under the supervision of Dr. Jerry Spiegel. Federico graduated as an Anthropologist and Environmental Engineer from University of Los Andes (Colombia). He holds a Master in Public Health from the University of Cape Town (South Africa) where he worked at the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research. After collaborating in different projects in Colombia, South Africa, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, and Costa Rica, he found his passion for broad approaches to explore human health and its connection with nature and ecosystems health. Federico is particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to reduce chemical pollution contamination among marginalized, vulnerable, or high intensity struggle populations.

His current research is exploring food systems in indigenous communities in Ecuador and Canada to better understand how global and local food systems are interconnected, and related to health equity and environmental sustainability. Federico’s research is connected to the Think, Eat and Grow Green Globally (TEG3) program, which is committed with knowledge sharing between Global North and Global South research practices. Beyond studying and conducting research, he is a rock climber, and an outdoor sports enthusiast.

Barb Astle


Barbara (Barb) Astle, PhD, RN, Director, MSN Program, Associate Professor of Nursing, and Co-Director for the Centre of Equity and Global Engagement (CEGE), at Trinity Western University, Langley, British Columbia. Her research program focuses on global health and equity, human rights and albinism in Tanzania, competency-based global health education (undergraduate/graduate/ host competencies) partnerships, and participatory research methods, knowledge translation, and research literacy.

She teaches courses in global health (undergraduate/graduate levels). She Co-Chairs the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Education Committees Competency Sub-committee, and co-editor for the CUGH Global Health Education Competencies Toolkit (2019). She is a member of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Researchers (CCGHR), and serves on the Advisory Board for the Global Nursing Caucus (GNC) in Boston, MA. She served as Chair and Past Chair of the Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH) in 2009 – 2012, and was recipient of the Excellence in Nursing Education Award by the Association of Registered Nurses in British Columbia, Canada (2017).

Dzifa Dordunoo

Dzifa Dordunoo PhD, RN, a native from Dzodze, Ghana is assistant professor at the University of Victoria, school of nursing. She earned her bachelor’s degree (with distinction) from the University of Victoria and holds a Master’s Degree from Duke University with a post-master’s certificate in clinical research management and teaching. She completed her doctoral education at the University of Maryland Baltimore with a focus on heart failure.

She has strong research interests in knowledge translation in areas such as cardiovascular nursing, global health, sickle cell, and critical care. She is involved in educating both entry level and graduate students. She teach courses in global health, consolidated clinical experience, research methods and quantitative data analysis.

Nathan Lachowsky

Nathan Lachowsky is a social and behavioural epidemiologist with 10 years of experience conducting community-based research on sexual health and HIV/AIDS with marginalized communities across Canada and New Zealand. He currently works as an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria. He is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar and Research Director for the national Community-Based Research Centre. He also co-convenes the Behavioural Surveillance for the 21st Century global network. He conducts interdisciplinary research within a social justice framework in order to achieve health equity for marginalized communities. Nathan has volunteered with HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ community organizations for over a decade and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Health Initiative for Men.

Katrina Plamondon


Katrina Plamondon is a Canadian woman, mother, and artist of mixed Indigenous (Cree) and European (Irish, Quebecois, German-Jewish) ancestry. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, School of Nursing, situated in the beautiful traditional territory of the Sylix Nation. She supports the Interior Health Research Department, where her work focuses on health system strengthening through enabling people across health systems to use and do research in practice and policy. 

Her clinical foundations are in critical care/emergency and street outreach. She holds a Master of Science in Community Health & Epidemiology (University of Saskatchewan) and completed her PhD at the University of British Columbia under a Banting & Best Canada Graduate Scholarship. Her doctoral research extended a decade of research and practice in knowledge translation with a focus on knowledge-to-action for health equity.

A member of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research since 2004, Katrina co-chairs the University Advisory Council (comprised of representatives from 24 institutions across Canada) to promote more consistent, coherent investments and practices in global health research. She was the Principal Investigator for the multi-year Gathering Perspectives Studies that led to the creation of the equity-centred CCGHR Principles for Global Health Research and the lead on a series of publications contributing to national dialogue about Canada’s role in global health research.

Vic Neufeld

Vic Neufeld

Vic Neufeld is a professor emeritus at McMaster University, and adjunct professor at SFU, York U. and U. Victoria. He is also an Associate Fellow at U. Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies. Along with Jerry Spiegel and others, he was a founding member of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (www.ccghr.ca), and serves as the Coalition’s Special Advisor. His interests include strengthening health research systems in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), leadership development, and research on the health impacts of climate change.

Verena Rossa-Roccor

Verena Rossa-Roccor, MD, MSc, PhD Student. Verena’s primary motivation to get degree after degree (she is currently enrolled at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health) is to make the world a more just, environmentally sustainable, compassionate place. Her research focus thereby lies on the intersection between environmental policy and human health impacts, with a special interest in the food system and – as a psychiatrist – mental health considerations. Her PhD work is looking at ways to transform the way public health academics are conducting knowledge translation in the environmental policy realm. She is asking the question why ‘activism’ and ‘lobbying’ are considered ‘undesirable’ in the vocabulary of most researchers and what it would take for academia to embrace these strategies in order to create change.

In January 2019, Verena was selected as one of seven Planetary Health Student Ambassadors for the Planetary Health Alliance worldwide and has recently joined CCGHR where she hopes to represent the ‘local’ component necessary to achieve global health equity. Verena is certainly not afraid to call herself an activist and hopes that many others will join her in an effort to solve the biggest (health) threat of the 21st century: Climate change and the human-driven destruction of Earth’s natural systems.

Jerry Spiegel

Spiegel photo for bio

Dr. Jerry Spiegel is a professor and co-director of the Global Health Research Program in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. He is also affiliated with the Liu Institute for Global Issues.

Jerry has led research and capacity building projects in Ecuador, South Africa, Cuba and Slovakia. His research interests include effects of globalization on health, ecosystem approaches to human health, economic evaluation of global health interventions, and health equity in Latin America.

Kate Tairyan

Kate Tairyan

Dr. Kate Tairyan holds a medical degree in preventive medicine from the State Medical University in Armenia and a diploma in health management from Armenia’s National Institute of Health. Kate also has a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration on global health leadership from Emory University.

Her public health expertise and work experience includes several positions at the Ministry of Health of Armenia and collaborations with international experts on health policy development and poverty reduction issues at national and local levels. During her postdoctoral studies at UBC, Kate also worked at the National Core for Neuroethics and spearheaded a project to evaluate investigator needs for integrating ethics into neuroscience using neuroimaging as the model. Kate has taught at Simon Fraser University in the Faculty of Health Science undergraduate and graduate programs since 2008.

Annalee Yassi

Yassi pic head shot

Dr. Annalee Yassi is a Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia and holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Health and Capacity Building.  She is a Specialist in both Community Medicine (Public Health and Preventive Medicine) as well as Occupational Medicine.

Dr. Yassi’s research focuses on collaborative roles in occupational health and infection control in the healthcare workplace, issues and methods in community-based health research, transdisciplinarity and North-South partnerships. She is interested in ethics in global health research, the link between clinical care and the social and environmental determinants of health, an ecosystem approach to health, and the use of arts-based methods in health intervention research. Dr. Yassi is co-director with Dr. Spiegel of the Global Health Research Program, a WHO Collaborating Centre in Occupational and Environmental Health.

Guest Presenters

Trevor Hancock

Trevor Hancock is an internationally recognized public health physician. He was one of the creators of the global Healthy Cities and Communities movement, and he co-founded both the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care. He led the team that created the CPHA report on the Ecological Determinants of Health in 2015, and was an external reviewer for the report of the Rockefeller-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health. He was a senior editor for the Canadian Journal of Public Health (2014-18), is on the editorial board of Cities & Health and a weekly columnist for a daily newspaper in Victoria, B.C. The Canadian Public Health Association recently recognized his outstanding contributions to the broad field of public health with the RD Defries Award.

Dr Shannon Waters

Dr. Shannon Waters is Coast Salish and a member of Stz’uminus First Nation on Vancouver Island. She completed the First Nations Family Practice program at the University of British Columbia and worked as a family doctor in Duncan, BC. While honored to work close to home Shannon became frustrated with seeing people mostly when they were unwell and wanted to focus on keeping people healthy in the first place so she returned to school and completed her specialty training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine. Shannon worked as the Director of Health Surveillance at First Nations and Inuit Health Branch and, at First Nations Health Authority as the Acting Senior Medical Officer for Vancouver Island Region. She has worked with Vancouver Island Health Authority as a Medical Director and with the Ministry of Health as the Aboriginal Physician Advisor. She is currently honored to have come full circle and to be working in her home territory as the local Medical Health Officer with Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Todd Litman

Todd Litman is founder and director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, and independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems (see: www.vtpo.org ). His work helps expand the range of impacts and options considered in transportation decision-making, improve evaluation methods and make specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. His research is used worldwide in transport planning and policy analysis.

Colin Plant

Colin Plant is the chair  of the CRD Board of Directors. He will bring greetings from the CRD, and provide his perspective, as a policy-maker, about climate change activities in the region.

Kristy Faccer

Kristy Faccer is the Victoria-based Program Manager of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). For more than ten years she has been a researcher, practitioner and international advisor in the fields of climate change and sustainability. Kristy is currently completing a PhD in management at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. Her dissertation focuses on how attention to context and collaboration between unlikely allies can positively shape climate action within and beyond the firm.

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