New research centre to study Canadians most affected by unhealthy environments

A new Canadian research centre has been launched to investigate and respond to the concerns of those most impacted by environmental health problems in Canada.

The Centre for Environmental Health Equity is putting its research agenda into the hands of communities to shine a light on the often-untold experiences of Canadians who bear the brunt of unhealthy environments.

While many Canadians feel that the quality of their environment is a top health concern, some groups face far higher health threats from environmental burdens that concentrate in particular neighbourhoods or regions. “Many environmental health challenges such as poor sanitation, air pollution, a lack of public parks and affordable, healthy food often cluster within certain communities leading to serious health inequities” said Dr. Jeff Masuda, Director of the Centre and Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba.

“For example, First Nations youth living with asthma and allergies face more serious health risks than other Canadian youth because they more often live in homes, neighbourhoods, and communities affected by road dust, mould, and other allergens. Finding solutions is not simply a matter of better education, but in identifying the root causes of these problems” said Masuda.

By working directly within historically disadvantaged communities, the Centre aims to move research more directly into community-led action focused on policy change for tangible health improvements for all Canadians.

“We take a very collaborative approach to our work - integrating the expertise of local communities with the knowledge of researchers from multiple health and environmental fields in order to explore creative responses to challenging health problems” said Tara Zupancic, the Centre’s Associate Director.

The Centre for Environmental Health Equity currently has three major areas of research; urban health, children’s health and First Nations health. Funding for the Centre has been provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

For more information contact:

Tara Zupancic,
Associate Director, Centre for Environmental Health Equity
[email protected],
416.550.1189 or 416.201.0531

Dr. Masuda is available for an interview.  Please contact him at: [email protected] or (204) 960-9729