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About

The Elizabeth May Chair in Sustainability and Environmental Health

The Elizabeth May Chair in Sustainability and Environmental Health is funded through an anonymous donation. The Chair is named after Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party in Canada, at the request of the donor. While Elizabeth May is not involved in the work of the Chair in any way, we are honoured to have the Chair carry her name.

Human health is contingent on a healthy environment. Present environmental changes, largely a result of human activities, create risks to the well being of people and to the sustainability of other species on which people depend.

The Elizabeth May Chair in Sustainability and Environmental Health seeks to broaden the population health research agenda by incorporating factors related to environmental sustainability. Situating health in the context of sustainability provides a critical focus on the integrity and productivity of the biosphere's life supporting systems as the primary determinants of human health.

This research agenda will require input from, and integration of, a broad range of disciplines. The Chair, located within the Environmental Science Program in the Faculty of Science, seeks to contribute to many of Dalhousie's sustainability-related initiatives and support a collaborative research and learning environment.

Mission

The mission of the Elizabeth May Chair is to build an academic program of excellence in sustainability and health research and training in environment and health studies, and to play a leadership role in developing effective environment and health risk management strategies and policies in Canada and abroad.

Goal

The goal of the Chair is to establish and foster a transdisciplinary approach to research and outreach that situates human health and well-being in the context of environmental sustainability.

The Chair seeks to broaden the population health research agenda to include the integrity and productivity of the biosphere’s life-support systems as the primary determinants of health, for humans and other species with who we share the planet. Specifically, the focus is on the relationships between human health and environment using the best available methods in environmental health science.

The office of the Elizabeth May Chair in Sustainability and Environmental Health also serves as a resource to a range of stakeholders, including academia, government, industry, and the public. Through collaboration with representatives from a variety of sectors, the office will begin to analyze and articulate research and policy options for reducing, and ultimately preventing important environmental health risks in Canada.

Objectives

  • To build and strengthen foundations for sustainability and health research.
  • To establish a foundation for evidence-based environmental health policy analysis in Canada.
  • To develop and strengthen partnerships focused on the development and dissemination of knowledge about sustainability and human health.
  • To inform environmental health decision making in Canada and abroad.

Academic leadership is embodied by the Elizabeth May Chair in Sustainability and Environmental Health, who principally serves as academic faculty in the Environmental Programs at Dalhousie University. The office of the Chair is guided by an Advisory Board composed of local environment and health experts, academic faculty who have association with environment and sustainability programs, and a number of individuals who represent the interests of government, industry, health professionals, and the public.

The Chair also draws on existing expertise in sustainability and health disciplines within Dalhousie University, specifically within the faculties of Medicine, Health Professions, Science, Arts and Social Sciences, Architecture and Planning, Computer Science, Law and the College of Sustainability. The Chair will also engage a number of individuals from other institutions in Canada and abroad who will collaborate on major environment and health studies.