Dr. James Ford awarded CIHR Applied Public Health Chair


Dr. James Ford recently became one of twelve CIHR Applied Public Health Chairs in Canada. This award supports Dr. Ford's research and the Evaluating Health Adaptation to Climate Change (EvHACC) program. The objectives of the Applied Public Health Chair initiative are to:

  • Support high quality and focused programs of policy and program intervention research of national relevance to public health
  • Foster formal linkages with the public health system to support the timely and effective application of research into policies, programs and practice.
  • Support Canadian universities to develop graduate and continuous education programs in public health
  • Stimulate innovative approaches in public health intervention research, mentorship, education and knowledge translation
  • Educate and mentor the current and next generation of public health researchers (trainees, post-graduate students and junior faculty), practitioners and policy makers.

To read more about this specific award, please click here.

To read more about the CIHR Applied Public Health Chair initiative, please visit their website.

Project abstract

Climate change has been described as the greatest threat to public health this century, with Indigenous populations identified as 'highly vulnerable'. The global response to the risks posed has been to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is imperative yet the science shows that we will not be able to avoid climate change, with the World Health Organization estimating that the direct health impacts alone will cost $2-4bn/yr by 2030 globally. For this reason, finding ways to adapt our health systems and behavior to reduce the risks of climate change is imperative, and is reflected in the increasing urgency with which governments at various levels in Canada and internationally are beginning to prioritize adaptation. Yet what can we do to adapt? How can we reduce the risks posed by climate change? What evidence is there on what will work? Unfortunately we have few answers to these questions, particularly for Indigenous populations including Canada's Inuit who are living in a region experiencing the most dramatic climate change anywhere. Indeed, the health community has long neglected climate change as a risk and is only beginning to recognize the magnitude of the problem. Canadian research is at the vanguard of such developments, and Dr Ford's team have spent over a decade working with Indigenous communities examining the risks posed by climate change to health and identifying risk factors. The program of research proposed here will take this to the next step, evaluating specific interventions for reducing the health impacts of climate change for 3 Indigenous populations: Inuit of Canada, Shipibo in the Amazon, and Batwa of Central Africa. The project builds upon ongoing research projects held by Dr Ford from the IDRC & tri-councils, has strong buy-in at multiple levels of health governance, and will work with decision maker partners to systematically and rigorous evaluate and prioritize potential health adaptations.