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Conference Speakers

The global health community attending the conference will have the unique opportunity to hear and interact with our renowned professionals and scholars at the 2012 conference in London, Ontario.

Below are a few of our highlighted and distinguished speakers for April 27-29, 2012. Other speakers are still being confirmed. Additional details will be published here as they become available. Please check back regularly for our updated speaker’s list!

Plenary Speakers

Dr. Jeff Turnbull

Past Canadian Medical Association President, Chief of Staff The Ottawa Hospital



Born in 1950 and raised in Toronto, Jeff Turnbull received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto in 1974 and his medical degree from Queen’s University in 1978. He completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Western Ontario in 1982, and a master’s degree in education at the same university in 1990.


After completing his internal medicine residency, Dr. Turnbull joined the faculty at the University of Western Ontario where he combined clinical practice, education and research. He took on increasingly senior leadership roles during his 9 years in London, eventually chairing the Division of General Internal Medicine and serving as deputy chief of the Department of Medicine.


Dr. Turnbull was recruited to the University of Ottawa in 1991, where he initially focused on medical education, serving for several years as vice-dean for Medical Education. He was also a key figure in the Educating Future Physicians for Ontario Project, and served as president of the Medical Council of Canada. Known for his mentorship and wisdom, Jeff Turnbull was appointed chair of the Department of Medicine in 2001, a position he held until 2008 when he became chief of staff at The Ottawa Hospital.


In the 1990s, Dr. Turnbull became increasingly interested in providing better clinical care to Ottawa’s homeless population. Along with others, he wondered whether a medical program that combined supervised alcohol consumption with compassionate clinical care would improve health outcomes. He helped start Ottawa’s Inner City Health Project, and has been its medical director since its inception. Ottawa Inner City Health has won numerous awards and received international acclaim for its efforts.


For this and other contributions, Dr. Turnbull received the Order of Canada in 2007. He was also recognized as the Physician of the Year by the Academy of Medicine of Ottawa in 2008. Dr. Turnbull received the CMAEIan Hart Award for Distinguished Contribution to Medical Education in 2007, the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship in 2006 and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s Mentor of the Year award in 2003.


In addition to his contributions to community health at home, he has been involved in education and health services initiatives to enhance community and institutional capacity and sustainable development in Bangladesh, Africa and the Balkans. Over the last few years, Dr. Turnbull has also assumed several leadership roles on behalf of the profession. He served as president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and chaired the CMA’s Future of Medicine Project. Dr. Turnbull was also Program Director of UNESCO’s Universities in Solidarity for the Health of the Disadvantaged.

Jeff Turnbull continues to practice internal medicine both at The Ottawa Hospital and at several shelters associated with Ottawa Inner City Health.


Dr. Turnbull is the proud father of four children. He lives on a farm just outside Ottawa, where he raises cattle, horses, sheep and chickens.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish

Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Izzeldin Abuelaish, MD, MPH, is a Palestinian physician and infertility expert who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He received a scholarship to study medicine in Cairo, and then received a diploma from the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of London. He completed a residency in the same discipline at the Soroka Medical Center in Israel, followed by a subspecialty in foetal medicine in Italy and Belgium. He then undertook a masters in public health at Harvard University. Before his three daughters were killed in January 2009, Dr. Abuelaish worked as a senior researcher at the Gertner Institute at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv. He now lives with his family in Toronto, where he is an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He is also the founder of Daughters for Life, and author of the book “I Shall not Hate”.

Ted Schrecker

Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute,
The University of Ottawa

Ted Schrecker is a clinical scientist at the Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute, a partnership between Bruyère Continuing Care and the University of Ottawa, and a member scientist of the Population Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN). A political scientist by background and an activist by inclination, Ted has a special interest in globalization, political economy, and issues (such as health and human rights) at the interface of science, ethics, law and public policy. From 2005-2007, he coordinated the Globalization Knowledge Network of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, and subsequently was one of the lead authors of a report to WHO that examined the implications of the Commission’s findings for future research priorities. He is currently editing the Ashgate Research Companion to the Globalization of Health; a four-volume collection of major works in global health that he co-edited with colleagues Ron Labonté, K.S. Mohindra and Kirsten Stoebenau has just been published in the Sage Library of Health and Social Welfare. He also writes a blog on health equity in the Canadian context for the Population Health Improvement Research Network, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.

Dr. Carol Herbert

Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry,
The University of Western Ontario

Dr. Herbert is former Dean, of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario (1999-2010) and Professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Pathology. She was formerly Head of the UBC Department of Family Practice, founding Head of the UBC Division of Behavioural Medicine, and a founder of the UBC Institute of Health Promotion Research. She was a pioneer in developing services for sexually abused children and co-founded the Sexual Assault Service for Vancouver.

Her research interests include participatory action research with aboriginal communities, focused on diabetes and on environmental effects on human health; inter-professional education; and patient and physician decision-making. She is a recognized leader in women's health and mentorship of academic women. She co-chaired the Health Canada National Expert Committee on Interprofessional Education for Collaborative Patient-Centered Practice and was a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Expert Panel that published the 2010 Report on Chronic Disease Management. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and Foreign Associate Member of the Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Rachel Thibeault

School of Rehabilitation Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa

Rachel Thibeault received her B.Sc in Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy) from Université Laval (1979); her M.Sc. (Psychology) from Acadia University (1986) and her Ph.D. (Community Psychology) from the Université de Montréal (1991). She also did post doctoral studies at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles) and at the University of Århus (Denmark).

A Full Professor in the Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Ottawa, she specializes in Community-Based Rehabilitation, psychosocial care, and issues of meaning and social justice in health care.

Her research for UN implementing agencies and other non-governmental organizations addresses a wide range of issues from the reintegration of landmine and war victims in countries such as Laos, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Nicaragua and Lebanon to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children and people with disabilities living with HIV-AIDS and leprosy in Ethiopia, Zambia and South Africa. .

In keeping with the greater goal of rebuilding civil society, Thibeault’s approach goes beyond strict rehabilitation measures and builds on the principles of human rights, sustainable livelihoods, service integration and social inclusion.

Marilyn McHarg

Executive Director, Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders Canada


Marilyn McHarg was among the group of friends that founded MSF Canada in 1989. Based on her commitment to humanitarian action, she has worked in Uganda, north Sudan, Liberia, south Sudan and Kenya in different positions including field nurse, project coordinator, medical coordinator and head of mission. Following nine years of field work, Marilyn contributed to the organization’s operational decision making at the headquarters level. Between 2000 and 2006 she was an Operational Desk Manager, and then Director of Operations: supervising and guiding field teams around the world. Since 2006 Marilyn has been working as the Executive Director of MSF in Canada.

Marilyn holds a Master’s degree in nursing from McGill University and an honors Baccalaureate of science from Queen’s University. In 2008 Marilyn also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Queen’s university. As well, she was presented with the Alumni Humanitarian Award, in recognition of distinguished voluntary community service, at home or abroad which has made a difference to the well-being of others.

Her sense of fairness and her ability to remain insightful and cool-headed in times crisis have developed into a much-respected leadership style. Among her peers, she is regarded as having strength for vision and analysis. McHarg’s rich experience means she is frequently asked to speak outside of MSF on subjects as varied as military- humanitarianism, medical ethics, challenges in humanitarian aid, risk management and transparency.

Dr. Tom Hall

Executive Director, Global Health Education Consortium
Lecturer, University of California, San Francisco Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Thomas L. Hall, MD, DrPH, is lecturer in the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Executive Director of the Global Health Education Consortium. He received undergraduate, MD and MPH degrees from Harvard and his DrPH degree in international health from Johns Hopkins. He has held faculty appointments in the schools of public health of the Univ. of Puerto Rico, Johns Hopkins, Univ. of NC at Chapel Hill, and the Univ. of Washington (Seattle). At UNC he was director of the Carolina Population Center. Non-academic positions have included medical director of a rural hospital, director of a regional health planning agency, and Chief Medical Officer (Research) in the New Zealand Dept. of Health (1985-86). He joined UCSF in 1988, directed a postdoctoral training program in HIV research (1989-96) and since then has taught and mentored students in global health, and has served as Executive Director of the Global Health Education Consortium. He has consulted extensively with WHO, the World Bank and many countries on strategic health workforce planning. He was: the lead author and editor of "Health manpower planning: Principles, methods and issues", WHO, Geneva, 1978, primary author of the WHO ToolKit for Human Resources Development; and developer of the WHO planning simulation models that can be used in workforce planning.

Maimuna Kanyamala

Executive Director, Kivulini Women’s Rights Organisation

Maimuna Kanyamala is a feminist activist from Mwanza, Tanzania. She is the Executive Director and a founder of Kivulini Women’s Rights Organisation, which works to mobilise local communities to prevent violence against women and girls. Maimuna has campaigned and worked on women’s rights for the past 20 years in Tanzania. Over the last five years she has worked in partnership with a number of feminist organizations in Ireland and Canada to build global solidarity between women’s groups by working on shared issues such as gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS and poverty. She was awarded the 2011 Tanzanian Woman of Courage Award by the USA embassy in Tanzania in April 2011.

Dr. Andy Haines

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London

Dr. Haines, is a Professor of Public Health and Primary Care with a joint appointment in the Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research and in the Department of Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Research. His research interests primarly lie in epidemiology and health services research, focusing particularly on research in primary care and the study of environmental influences on health, including the potential effects of global environmental change.

He has served as the Director of LSHTM for nearly 10 years, taught at UCL, was seconded as Director of Research & Development at the NHS Executive North Thames, acted as a consultant epidemiologist at MRC Epidemiology and Medical Care Unit, and worked as a general practitioner for many years. He also has extensive international experience working in Nepal, Jamaica, Canada and the USA.

He is also a member of a number of major international and national committees including the MRC Global Health Group and the MRC Strategy Group. He was formerly chair of the UUK Health and Social Care Policy Committee and of the WHO Advisory Committee on Health Research. He was also a member of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the second and third assessment reports and is currently the review editor for the fifth report.

Dr. Colin Soskolne

Professor, University of Alberta; Immediate Past-President (2007-2011) CSEB; former WHO consultant

Colin Soskolne, Phd, was initially trained in occupational epidemiology and biostatistics. He extended this focus to the broader community environment, and then to the global environment. Primarily a research methodologist, he is concerned with developing research methods to assess the dynamics between ecosystem change and both population health and well-being. His research and publications extend to applied ethics and have also included advocacy roles in several areas of public health, including HIV/AIDS and professional integrity. He is associated with over 350 scholarly publications. Dr. Soskolne has organized and co-organized numerous conferences, spent two decades in World Health Organization (WHO) work, and serves on editorial boards for scientific journals. Between 2007 and 2011, he served as president of the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Dr. Pakisa K. Tshimika

Executive Director and Founder,
Mama Makeka House of Hope

I returned to my home country of Congo (Zaire then) in 1980 after several years of studies in California, where I was granted a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences (Fresno Pacific University) and a Masters in Public Health (Loma Linda University). I discovered upon my arrival back home that I was only one of fewer than a half dozen Congolese in the whole country with a graduate degree in public health. The mood among us, though, was that of a Renaissance. Many of the young Congolese who were studying in the cities and internationally were willing to return not only to urban Congo, but also rural Congo, to use the skills they had acquired.

A few years earlier, the Congolese government had signed the UN Chart of Health For All by 2000. Primary health care and the health zone system were chosen respectively as the main strategy and structure for reaching the goal of health for all by the year 2000. I had the privilege of managing one of the first 13 zones to be established in the country. Today the Congolese health zone system is recognized as one of the best designed and decentralized systems in Africa, thanks to the pioneering leadership of the national Ministry of Health and the Faith-Based network of hospitals. I learned a big lesson about being creative in spite of what seemed like an impossible situation, finding order within chaos.

In 1986 I returned to California to pursue doctoral studies at Loma Linda University, where I completed my Dr.PH in public health. I then found my way back to Congo again in 1991. This time my involvement ranged from leadership training for health professionals to representing several international Non Governmental Organizations at the national level. I learned the skills of maneuvering the local, the national and the international. The different trips to Europe and North America for administrative meetings and conferences assisted me in connecting the missing link – the funding agencies, financial supporters, and lobbyists.

Since moving back to the U.S. in 1999, I have worked to link North American and Congo resources through a new non-profit organization called Mama Makeka House of Hope, which I serve as the founding director. Actually, Mama Makeka House of Hope is, in a sense, another return home. Our goals at Mama Makeka House of Hope (named after my mother) are to support efforts in education, health, and peacebuilding in the Democratic Republic of Congo. High in priority is to return specifically to a place called Maluku near Kinshasa to re-envision Mama Makeka’s gifts of hospitality, compassion, and nurture through a center resourcing educators, health professionals and peacebuilders in Congo and a place called Kajiji to envision of our dream. This document is all about Kajiji! I travel to Congo several times a year. These trips have taken me to both Western and Eastern Congo. In the East I have held hands with what seemed like hundreds of women who have been raped and tortured by different armed groups in the region. They took me to rural hospitals where doctors and nurses are struggling to provide health services with limited resources. In addition, traveling back to Congo put me in direct contact with young soldiers returning from war without knowing what the future held for them.

For me Congo will always be personal in the same way that an ancestral village in Poland is personal to some of my German-Polish friends. The same way a small town in Mexico is personal to my Latino neighbor. The same way that the memory of a Hmong village in the hills of Laos is personal to our Southeast Asian friends. In our global neighborhoods, we can no longer afford to say, you take care of yours and I’ll take care of mine.

Dr. Danielle Martin,

BSc, MD, CCFP

Danielle is a family physician interested in improving health at the system level as well as the individual level. She is Clinical Staff at Women's College Hospital and Lecturer in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Danielle’s clinical work has involved remote northern work as well as a focus on maternity care. She is also a student in the Master of Public Policy program at the School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto.

Danielle’s policy expertise and passion for equity have made her an emerging leader in the debate over the future of Canada’s healthcare system. A recipient of the Canadian Medical Association Award for Young Leaders, Danielle sat two terms on the Health Council of Canada. In 2006 the Ontario College of Family Physicians recognized her as one of three New Family Doctors of the Year.

In May 2006 Danielle helped launch Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the voice for Canadian physicians who believe in a high quality, equitable, sustainable health system built on the best available evidence as the highest expression of Canadians caring for one another. She continues to chair the board of CDM.

Dr. Karen Hill,

Lead Physician, Six Nations Family Health

Karen Hill is from the Mohawk Turtle Clan living in her home community of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Southern Ontario where she works as the Lead Physician with the Six Nations Family Health Team. Karen's vision is to see traditional Indigenous knowledge and ways of healing return to the centre of health care in her community and other Indigenous communities in Canada. Her work in family medicine is carried out in relationship with the traditional helpers and healing system within the community. Karen has been learning from the traditional knowledge keepers in her community for nearly twenty years and has recently completed an academic paper for the National Aboriginal Health Organization's (NAHO) Journal on Aboriginal People's Health Special Edition on Traditional Medicine in collaboration with Elva Jamieson- traditional healer and Bernice Downey PhD candidate and former C.E.O. of the NAHO.

Dr. Keith Martin,

Hon. Keith Martin MD, PC

Dr. Martin is a physician who served as a Canadian Member of Parliament for 17 years. He held shadow ministerial portfolios in foreign affairs, international development, and health. He also served as a Parliamentary Secretary for Defense. His main areas of specialization and interest are global health, international development, foreign policy, conservation and the environment. Dr. Martin has developed mechanisms to facilitate partnerships between universities, governments, multilateral institutions, NGOs, and the private sector in order to strengthen north-south and south-south research partnerships, scale-up research findings in low-income communities, and bridge the knowledge-needs gap. He is also working to mainstream sustainable conservation and environmental practices into international development initiatives to achieve positive outcomes in health, economic development, the environment, and human security. He is the founder of CanadaAid.ca, an online portal that links individuals willing to work in low-income countries with institutions that need their expertise. In 2006, he founded the Canada’s first all-party conservation caucus in Parliament and he developed the online conservation site, www.icforum.info. He is the author of more than 150 editorial pieces published in Canada's major newspapers and has appeared frequently as a political and social commentator on television and radio.

Dr. Glenn Albrecht,

Professor, Murdoch University, Western Australia

Glenn Albrecht is professor of sustainability at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. He is an environmental philosopher with both theoretical and applied interests in the relationship between ecosystem and human health. He has pioneered the research domain of 'psychoterratic' or earth related mental health conditions with the concept of 'solastalgia' or the lived experience of negative environmental change. He also has publications in the field of animal ethics and is currently researching the ethics of relocating endangered species in the face of climate change pressures.

He publishes in peer reviewed journals and has recently completed and published book chapters on his research interests. With colleagues, Nick Higginbotham (University of Newcastle) and Linda Connor (Sydney University) under Australian Research Council Discovery Project grants, he has researched the impact of mining in the Upper Hunter Region of NSW, Australia, and now, the impact of climate change on communities, again in the Hunter Region. Glenn has also been involved as a Chief Investigator in ARC Discovery Project research on the social and ethical aspects of the thoroughbred horse industry worldwide.

Glenn Albrecht is a pioneer of transdisciplinary thinking and, with Higginbotham and Connor produced a major book on this topic, "Health Social Science: A Transdisciplinary and Complexity Perspective" with Oxford University Press in 2001. His current major research interest, the positive and negative psychological, emotional and cultural relationships people have to place and its transformation is one that sees him having an international research profile.

Dr. Gordon McBean,

CM, Ont, PhD, FRSC

Gordon McBean is Professor in the Departments of Geography and Political Science and with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction at The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. He was previously a Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanographic Sciences at The university of British Columbia and then, from 1994 to 2000, Assistant Deputy Minister in Environment Canada responsible for climate, weather and air quality sciences and services in the federal government. He was appointed to his present position in July 2000.

His research interests are in atmospheric and climate sciences, ranging in scope from the natural phenomena, the hazards they generate to the policies of governments and responses of people to them. His present research includes, as Canadian Principal Investigator, an integrated natural-social-health sciences study Coastal Cities at Risk, focusing on Vancouver, Lagos, Bangkok and Manila, in cooperation with START's Global Environmental Change program (regional networks and capacity building in Africa and Asia) of which he is President of the Board. Other recent research projects have included a policy synthesis project on Climate Change as a National Security issue and how northern communities are affected by climate-related hazards. He was a co-author of the Health Canada report - Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity and was a Convening Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Climate Extremes. He is also: President-elect of the International Council for Science; Chair of the ad-hoc Committee for the Ontario Regional Climate Change Consortium; Chair of Board of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences; and member of: the UNESCO High Panel for Science for Development; UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Science and Technical Committee; and Ontario Premier’s Climate Change Advisory Panel. He was Chair of the international Science Committee for the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk program and a member of the Board of the International Institute for Sustainable Development; and other national and international committees.

He has been appointed a Member of the Order of Canada “for his contributions to the advancement of climate and atmospheric sciences in Canada, and for his leadership in national and international scientific organizations, helping to generate and disseminate research findings to policymakers and stakeholders” and the Order of Ontario. He shared in the awarding of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC. He is a Fellow of the: Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the American Meteorological Society and the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society; and received the Patterson Medal for distinguish contributions to meteorology by a Canadian.

Glen Pearson,

Director of the London Food Bank;
Executive Director of NGO Canadian Aid For Southern Sudan

Glen Pearson is a father of seven, three of whom are from Sudan in Africa. He has been the volunteer director of the London Food Bank for the past 25 years and also serves as Executive Director of the the Canadian Aid For Southern Sudan - an organization that fought slavery for a decade and is now undertaking development programs in education and health in the border regions between north and south Sudan. Glen was also a 30-year professional firefighters prior to being elected as the Member of Parliament for London North Centre. His political life now concluded, Glen spends his on all of these projects but is also now committing much of his time toward instilling citizenship activism.