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Over the past decades, global migration has grown to reach unprecedented proportions and this trend is expected to continue, driven by economic forces, social inequities, climate change, and environmental degradation. Massive human flows impact population health in countries of origin, transit, and resettlement. Too often, newcomers face significant barriers to health care and face poor outcomes.

The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) has a long tradition of interdisciplinary scholarship on issues of migration and displacement. Several faculty members are part of well-established research networks and work in partnership with community organizations, government, and international agencies.

Acknowledging the fundamental importance of this phenomenon as a global determinant of health, and in response to growing interest by students and faculty, the School is working to strengthen public health and migration as an area of research and education. Researchers and educators are focusing on both the local and the global, from multiple perspectives, and apply a variety of epistemological and methodological approaches.

Professor Adalsteinn Brown
Dean, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Faculty Working on Public Health and Migration

Branka Agic

Dr. Branka Agic is the Director of Knowledge Exchange with the Provincial System Support Program (PSSP) and an Independent Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She is an Assistant Professor and the Associate Director of the Master of Science in Community Health in Addiction and Mental Health Program at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Branka holds a PhD in Health and Behavioral Sciences and a Masters of Health Science degree from the University of Toronto, along with a Medical Degree from the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Branka has extensive experience in counselling, research and service development with immigrants and refugees. Her primary research interest is in the area of mental health and substance use among immigrants, refugees, ethno-cultural and racialized groups.

Anna Banerji

Dr. Anna Banerji is an associate professor in pediatrics and at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and is a pediatric infectious and tropical disease specialist. She graduated from medical school at the University of Toronto and trained at Ottawa University (pediatrics), McGill University (infectious disease and tropical medicine). She received an MPH in International Health from Harvard School of Public Health where she was selected “promising graduate” for the class of 2003. Dr. Banerji has been working with refugees for most of her career. She founded the Canadian Refugee Health Conference in 2009 and is the co-founder of the North American Refugee Health Conference. She is also the co-founder and president of the North American Society of Refugee Healthcare Providers.

Andrea A. Cortinois

Dr. Andrea Cortinois is an Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, where he teaches courses in global migration and health and global health. His interests include the impact of the global economic regime and the planetary ecological crisis on displacement; migration as an intermediate determinant of health, with particular attention given to the social costs of migration in countries of origin and to mechanisms of inclusion/exclusion, precariousness, and detention/deportation as mediating factors.

Denise Gastaldo

Denise Gastaldo, PhD, DrHC, is an associate professor at the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, co-founder and former director of the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, University of Toronto, and co-director of GloMHI – Global Migration and Health Initiative. Dr. Gastaldo’s research focuses on how migration and gender relate to health (in)equity. As a methodologist, she has developed new approaches to study migrants’ experiences and developed capacity building opportunities for novice researchers mainly in Ibero-America. For the latter, she has received an honorary doctorate from the University of A Coruña, Spain, in 2019. She has studied immigrant trans women’s social and economic inclusion and the health consequences of undocumented work for Latin Americans in the GTA, as well as Latin American caregivers’ experiences of neocolonialism in Spain.

Astrid Guttman

Astrid Guttmann is a general paediatrician and Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children, a Senior Scientist and the Chief Science Officer at ICES, the Co-Director of the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Children and Professor of Paediatrics, Health Policy and Public Health at the University of Toronto. She is also an affiliate faculty member at the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab. She leads a number of studies focused on immigrant and refugee health and well-being. These include OCHRE, Optimizing Canada’s Healthcare for Refugees, a CIHR funded project analyzing health services use and cost, health and other social outcomes for resettled refugees to Canada, as well as a number of COVID-19 related studies including the first Canadian report on the impact of the pandemic on immigrants and refugees.

Ilene Hyman

Ilene Hyman is a social epidemiologist and Adjunct Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Ilene is also an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Health Program at York University, Senior Research Associate in the School of Nursing, University of Ottawa, and Research Affiliate at the Centre of Excellence in Immigration and Settlement and the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement. The vast majority of Ilene’s research work explores health and social equity among under researched and equity seeking communities in Canada. She has conducted dozens of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method studies exploring immigrant and refugee mental health, gender-based violence, cancer screening, diabetes management and control, and the effectiveness of settlement programs, intersectoral partnerships and policy initiatives for migrant integration and inclusion.

Vincent Kuuire

Dr. Vincent Kuuire is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Geomatics & Environment at the University of Toronto Mississauga, with a cross-appointment to the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, St. George. He is a Canada Research Chair in Immigrant Well-being and Global Health, and his research focuses on migrant health and well-being, access to health care and environment and health connections. Some of Dr. Kuuire’s current research focuses on the connection between neighbourhoods and health, and immigrant transnational experiences and psychosocial health.

Vanessa Redditt

Dr. Vanessa Redditt a staff family physician at the Crossroads Clinic, a primary care clinic serving newly arrived refugees at Women’s College Hospital. She is a lecturer at the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) and Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Her current research focuses on better understanding the health of newly arrived refugees and their experiences in the health care system, with a goal of improving clinical practices, care delivery models, and social services to better support this population. She also serves on the board of directors of Sojourn House refugee shelter, on the steering committee of the Together Project refugee social integration program, and on the Social Accountability Committee at the DFCM.

Roberta K. Timothy

Roberta K. Timothy is an Assistant Professor in the Teaching Stream, and is the new Director of Health Promotion at Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and an Adjunct Professor in Critical Disability studies at York University. Specializing in the areas of intersectionality, decolonization, and ethics in health work; Black health and transnational Indigenous health; including historical and current day impacts and resistance strategies due to forced migration; and anti-racist, anti-oppression/anti-colonial approaches to health in local and global contexts.
Marcelo Urquia

Dr. Marcelo Urquia is Associate Professor at the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba and a Canada Research Chair in Applied Population Health. He is also affiliated with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, ICES and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Dr. Urquia has extensively published on the epidemiology of migration and health, with emphasis on reproductive, maternal and child health, using large population-based databases. His current research focuses on the intersection of gender, immigration and health and wellbeing, using a life-course perspective.
Susitha Wanigaratne

Dr. Susitha Wanigaratne is a RESTRACOMP Research Fellow in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences program at the Sick Kids Research Institute and a post-doctoral research fellow at ICES. She is a social epidemiologist with experience in mixed methods approaches whose work examines immigration as a social and structural determinant of health. Her earlier research has focused on the maternal and perinatal health of refugees as well as gender-based discrimination among immigrant women in Ontario. Her current work focuses on health care use and morbidity among resettled refugees in Ontario. Her research aims to harness the power of linked administrative health and social data to contribute to and help facilitate improvement in the health and well-being of structurally marginalized communities. She holds a PhD in Epidemiology and a MHSc in Epidemiology and Community Health from UofT.

Public Health and Migration Courses Offered at the School

  • CHL5113 – Global Migration and Health
  • HST405H – Global Migration and Health (University College, Health Studies Program, fourth year undergraduate course)

Current Doctoral Projects

Doctoral students at the DLSPH explore a variety of topics related to migration and health, including:

  • Health and well-being of transnational families
  • Migratory distress in LGBTQ+ populations
  • Differential environmental exposures among racialized newcomers in Canada
  • Access to health services for precarious non-citizens
  • Obstetric care for women with female genital cutting
  • Immigrant women’s experience of chronic pain
  • Impact of HIV criminalization among African Caribbean and Black communities, in Canada

Past Events

  • Digital Storytelling Event on LGBTQ+ Immigrants, March 2020
  • Who are Refugees?, October 2018
  • Work, Migration and Health Forum, May 2018

Additional Information 

Voluntary Steering Committee Members: Dr. Ilene Hyman, Dr. Vanessa Redditt and Susitha Wanigaratne

For more information about the initiative, please contact Dr. Andrea A. Cortinois at a.cortinois[at]utoronto.ca

If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please contact Caitlin Manderville, Area Coordinator, at c.manderville[at]mail.utoronto.ca