CUHI Postcard image
Centre for Urban Health Initiatives
About UsResearchAwardsTraining and MentoringSeminars and WorkshopsPublicationsPartners and LinksPublications

Knowledge Exchange Forums

Policy Workshops


Additional Events

Policy Workshops

Diabetes Education Programming for Women of Colour-Linking Evidence with Promising Practices

A Report on the 2010 Knowledge Exchange Workshop hosted by the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives, University of Toronto and Ryerson Univeristy, School of Nutrition

Policy FOrum on Pollution and Poverty

Policy Forum on Pollution and Poverty
March 26, 2009
Co-sponsored by the Centre for the Environment and the Cities Centre, University of Toronto

On March 26th, the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives, Cities Centre, and the Centre for the Environment sponsored a forum on the ‘Links between Pollution and Poverty in Toronto Neighbourhoods.

The goal of this forum was to bring together academics, policy and community members to engage in dialogue and actions addressing poverty and pollution.  Fe de Leon (Researcher, Canadian Environmental Law Association) was joined by panelists Loren Vanderlinden and Rich Whate (Toronto Public Health, Environmental Protection Office), Lina Cino (Toronto Environmental Alliance), and moderator Frank Cunningham (Cities Centre, University of Toronto ).

The need for this dialogue was identified in response to the Fall 2008 PollutionWatch report (a collaborative between the Canadian Environmental Law Association and Environmental Defense) which mapped air release data of toxic pollutants and criteria air contaminants from the National Pollutant Release Inventory (2005) and income data from Statistics Canada (2001 Census).  Results showed that 17 neighbourhoods in Toronto had a poverty rate at or higher than the national average as well as high releases of combined toxic air pollutants and air contaminants. Toronto Public Health panelists responded to the report by sharing municipal policy initiatives such as the Environmental Reporting and Disclosure Program. Lina, the Toxics Campaigner with Toronto Environmental Alliance, spoke of advocacy and community responses, such as the Good Neighbour Campaign which aims to galvanize a community and negotiate directly with industrial polluters to reduce toxic emissions. This event was widely attended and was followed by a reception at Hart House’s Gallery Grill.

Event Poster

The Role of Neighbourhoods in the Development of Social and Health Policy
May 10, 2007
co-sponsored by the Wellesley Institute


Jim Dunn, (Centre for Urban Health Initiatives and the Centre for Research on Inner City Health). Presenting research on the link between neighbourhoods and healthy populations
Russell Mawby, (Director of Housing, City of Ottaw a ). Presenting views from a City Planning and Policy perspective with a focus on housing
Maureen Fair, (Executive Director, St. Christopher’s House). Discussing how neighbourhood engagement can influence a research and advocacy agenda
Armine Yalnizyan, (Toronto Social Planning Council). Discussing the influence of neighbourhoods on the Social Planning Council’s policies and programs


Neighbourhoods play an important role in the development of healthy, vibrant and inclusive cities. But policies that impact neighbourhoods are often formulated at city-wide, provincial or even federal scales. Instead of making social and health policies fit neighbourhoods, how can the unique conditions of neighbourhoods influence policy? What is it about the neighbourhood scale that may result in more responsive and effective social and health policies? Which policy issues are best tackled at the neighbourhood scale, and why? How have planners and policymakers begun to think differently about the role of neighbourhoods in policy development? What is the role of neighbourhood residents in the policy process?

The four panelists discussed the challenges and successes of focusing on neighbourhoods in the development of social and health policy.

Please check back for a video recording of the event.

Communicating Research to Publics and Policy Makers
March 22, 2006


JUDITH MAXWELL, Founding President and Research Fellow, Canadian Policy Research Networks
MIKE GASHER, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism at Concordia University
PAUL MULDOON, Executive Director, Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA)

The next generation of researchers is being called on to communicate their results in a context that is much larger than the traditional ivory tower. This panel workshop initiated conversation about successful strategies for communicating research to the public and policy makers.  Three expert panelists offered their perspective on the best practices for effective knowledge communication in their areas of expertise.  An open forum following the panel presentations engaged the audience in discussion.

Summary of the proceedings and panel presentations.


CUHI Associates attend many conferences across a multitude of disciplines. Below you will find a select list of the conferences that CUHI has sponsored and/or been integral in planning.

Research With Pride logoResearch with Pride Conference

This year, CUHI is sponsoring the Research with Pride Conference, a forum providing the opportunity for community members, academics and students to come together to explore wellness and health among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, intersex, queer, and questioning people and communities (LGBTT2IQQ, henceforth referred to as the 'queer' community), organized by the Dalla Lana School of Public Health Students Association (DLSPHSA) in conjunction with students from the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and Health Policy, Management and Evaluation.

The objectives of the forum are to build and strengthen relationships between academics, community organizations, students, faculty and staff; to encourage student engagement within the broader community; to facilitate action around queer health issues; and to explore a diversity of perspectives on the barriers faced by queer people and how these barriers are related to health outcomes.   Research with Pride will enable students to explore queer health from the perspective of their interdisciplinary and inter-professional interests; learn from each other throughout the conference; and network with each other to form future interdisciplinary partnerships.

This year, CUHI has supported Research with Pride. The conference will take place on Friday, October 2, 2009 at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health ( 155 College Street ) .  Registration will open on August 20th. For more information on the upcoming conference, please visit:

University of Toronto’s International Health Program: Health & Human Rights Conference

CUHI has sponsored this conference for the past two year and will be sponsoring the conference again in 2009. This year’s theme focuses on topics of discussion that examine the health concerns and human rights issues of children around the globe and locally.

This year the 11th annual Health and Human Rights Conference is taking place January 16 and 17, 2009. The Health and Human Rights Conference is an initiative planed by undergraduate students at the University of Toronto. The conference is part of the many initiatives undertaken by a student group called the University of Toronto International Health Program (UTIHP). It is one of the largest and most successful projects implemented by members of UTIHP that allows students to get involved with international health-related issues at both the local and international level. You can find more information about this year's conference here:

International Conference on Urban Health: Knowledge Integration: Successful Interventions in Urban Health

CUHI was an academic sponsor of the 7th International Conference on Urban Health (ICUH-2008) which was held at the Westin Bayshore in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia from October 29 to October 31. The conference theme was “Knowledge Integration: Successful Interventions in Urban Health” and many CUHI Research Associates presented their research, some of which were CUHI funded projects.

CUHI sent Centre Coordinator Alexis Kane Speer as a representative. She presented her “Space for Healthy Communities”, which uses data from the IRONhI community health survey. CUHI Research Associate Hilary Gibson-Wood presented on the community health survey’s methodology.

See the Conference Website

Community Campus Partnerships: Mobilizing Partnerships for Social Change

CUHI co-sponsored CCPH’s 10th Anniversary conference, held in Toronto in April of 2007. In addition to providing sponsorship support, CUHI gave out eleven student scholarships to attend the conference. Four of these were given to students who presented and one included a travel grant from British Columbia. Kate Reeve (McMaster University) and Kate Rossiter (University of Toronto) were presented with a Viewer’s Choice Poster Award for their poster presentation of The Last Straw, an innovative social determinants of health board game. CUHI also recruited many students who volunteered their time to gain gratis entrance to the event. We are proud to announce that CCPH had by far its largest number of student volunteers for a conference yet. Students expressed what an inspiring experience attending the conference was. We would like to thank all those who participated, without which an event of its scale would not be possible.

Additional Events

Homelessness: Solutions from Lived Experiences through Arts-Informed Research

Photo: Arts Informed CBR EventAs part of our commitment to innovation research methodology and knowledge exchange, CUHI proudly sponsored an event to launch a policy report on homelessness. The event showcased two CUHI/ Wellesley Community-Based Research Award of Merit recipients as well as one CUHI seed grant project, all related to issues of housing insecurity. The Coming Together: Homeless Women, Housing and Social Support (2007 CBR Award of Merit Recipient), the Street Health Community Health Survey (2008 CBR Award of Merit Recipient) and the Which of the Following is Not an Essential Service; Roads, Schools, Food Access?: Exploring Food Security with Young Aboriginal Moms (2006 Seed Grant Recipient) project teams worked with five other arts-informed community-based research projects to raise awareness of issues related to homelessness in Toronto.

 Photo contributed by Alexis Kane Speer

The following was contributed by Izumi Sakamoto, University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

Working to raise awareness and address issues of homelessness in Toronto, eight arts-informed, community-based research projects came together as a Collaborative to showcase the art produced by each study and to release a policy recommendations report at Metro Hall on Oct. 1, 2008. These projects and the Collaborative were unique in their inclusion of peer researchers – research team members who had themselves experienced homelessness, working alongside community agency staff and academics. The participation of peer researchers directly recognizes these individuals as the “experts” of their own lived experiences with valuable knowledge to inform solutions to address issues of homelessness.   The Exhibit was very successful, receiving several hundred visitors, in addition to the launch of the policy recommendations report (featuring a panel discussion with peer researchers) which received media attention and was attended by community members, service providers and local politicians.

The policy report, “Homelessness – Diverse Experiences, Common Issues, Shared Solutions: The Need for Inclusion and Accountability”, emphasizes that the face of homelessness is varied and draws from the multiple and diverse voices of people with experiences of homelessness involved in the research projects.  In addition to the need to ensure adequate incomes, affordable and appropriate housing, and quality health care, social and community support, the report capitalizes on the importance of inclusion and accountability in order to address homelessness: that governments and service providers need to ensure that diverse people with experiences of homelessness are included in the development and delivery of programs, services, policies and systems, and that these systems are accountable to the people they are meant to serve.

In order to address homelessness, we need to focus on housing, income, and community/ health/social supports together as intersecting issues, not as separate ones.

Encompassing these three factors in addressing homelessness are the issues of inclusion and accountability, which affect equitable access to housing, income and support.

The projects represented included: asleep in Toronto, a day in the life: Stories and Photographs of Health and Homelessness in Toronto, Coming Together: Homeless Women, Housing and Social Support, Count Us In! Inclusion and Homeless Women in Southeast Toronto, I WAS HERE, The Street Health Report 2007, Street Health Stories, Struggles, Strengths and Solutions: Exploring Food Security with Young Aboriginal Moms. Partner Organizations were University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, Street Health, Regent Park Community Health Centre, Ryerson University School of Social Work, York University Critical Disability Studies, Wellesley Institute, Ontario Women’s Health Network, Sistering – A Woman’s Place, St. Michael’s Hospital, National Film Board of Canada’s Filmmaker-in-Residence Program with St. Michael’s Hospital. This project was generously funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Wellesley Institute, Centre for Urban Health Initiatives at the University of Toronto. 

For a copy of the policy report, further information about the collaborative and/or the individual projects, please visit our website at: For questions, comments and/or feedback, please contact: Dr. Izumi Sakamoto, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, 416-946-8224,

“Communications, and the Environment: Literacy and the News Media Contribution (or not) to Healthy Public Policy”

Charles Antoine-Rouyer
Freelance journalist, Health & Environment, Hygeia
Healthy Communication Saine Inc.; Course Director: Communication, Health and the Environment, Glendon College, York University

November 22, 2007
Co-sponsored by the Centre for the Environment

Can journalists still be considered as the doctors of democracy? Are the news media continuing to provide a public arena where citizens can be informed about the affairs of the state or news organizations have simply become another channel to sell advertising? In this perspective, can news media contribute to shaping healthy public policy?

In order to attempt to answer these questions, this seminar will first address a multi-disciplinary model illustrating how communication, health and environment are related and how this interaction can (or not) contribute to influence public policy.

The presentation will then briefly review what health promotion and healthy public policies are, within the context of the World Health Organization (WHO) Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986).

This seminar will conclude by exploring three avenues to better engage news media coverage of health & environment issues, from a demand-side through media literacy (providing the tools to the general public to become better consumers of news media production); and from a supply-side through media advocacy and media relations, to better get through to the gate keepers in news organizations.

View seminar slides

Contact Us ~ Site Map ~ Links ~ UofT Home