Planetary health

Our research

Admin lead: Tim Takaro

Planetary health is an emerging and multidisciplinary field that is informed by environmental health, ecosystem approaches to health, built environment, planning, earth sciences, agriculture and many other fields. As an international discipline, planetary health is expressed differently in different regions. At its heart, this discipline strives to answer the questions, how we can live within our planetary boundaries, and how do we do that for generations to come? There is a wealth of knowledge to draw upon about the problems, but we need to get better at working together on finding and testing sustainable solutions and turning these into policy. The interdisciplinary approach of FHS makes it possible to work collaboratively in tackling some of these big, complex challenges facing our planet.

What does planetary health look like in action? Some of the research currently being undertaken by researchers in this area is:

  • Understanding how pollutants and allergens are being changed by climate change and their effects on populations and individuals;
  • Enacting change in urban planning by using big data to look at the impact of the built environment on health;
  • Exploring how population change and growth will impact our ecological footprint;
  • Using quantitative tools and methodologies to better illuminate and describe statistical data;
  • Bringing an equity lens to discussions of environmental impacts on populations

We have a focus on incorporating the concepts of planetary health into students’ learning to prepare them for their futures in research and practice. Our research has far-reaching impacts, and draws on the skills and expertise of a range of disciplines. Our team includes sociologists, toxicologists, physicians, bio-statisticians, exposure scientists, epidemiologists, political scientists, demographers, evolutionary biologists and risk assessment specialists creating a space where ideas and expertise can come together to bring multiple perspectives and expertise to these challenges.



  • Ryan Allen Environmental health, air pollution, exposure assessment & analysis, epidemiology
  • Paola Ardiles Mental health promotion, health equity, health promoting universities, health literacy, immigrant & refugee health, women’s mental health, public health workforce, workplace health, and social inclusion
  • Timothy Beischlag Pharmacology, molecular toxicology, carcinogenesis, poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • John Calvert Public policy, economics, occupational health & safety, international trade law & health
  • Maya Gislason Social and health inequalities, social-ecological public health, participatory methods, Aboriginal health
  • Robert Hogg HIV/AIDS, antiretroviral therapy, marginalized populations, population health
  • Bruce Lanphear Early childhood health, environmental neurotoxins, lead poisoning, epidemiology of asthma
  • Lawrence McCandless Biostatistics, epidemiology, meta-analysis, Bayesian statistics
  • Pablo Nepomnaschy Human biology, anthropology, human ecology & health, stress & reproductive health
  • Anne-Marie Nicol Health communication; toxicology; social marketing; risk perception; risk assessment
  • Hasina Samji Epidemiology, biostatistics, infectious diseases, implementation science methods, marginalized populations, health services provision, global health, health innovation
  • Malcolm Steinberg Occupational health, epidemiology, program management, HIV/AIDS, public health consulting
  • Kate Tairyan Preventive medicine, global health, computer-assisted technology, knowledge translation
  • Tim Takaro Occupational & environmental health, toxicology, asthma, community-based interventions, health impacts of climate change, planetary health
  • Scott Venners Epidemiology, Indigenous health, environmental health
  • Meghan Winters Epidemiology, GIS applications, built environment & health, transportation & city design


Our external partners

With thanks to our external colleagues and partner organizations, for their continued support and collaboration.

Recent theses

February 2018 – present:

PhD thesis defence: Christopher Card,  Examining the Social, Sexual and Technological Behaviour of Gay Bisexual and Other Men who have Sex with Men.  Senior Supervisor: R Hogg

MSc thesis defence: Crista Bartolomeu, A Randomized Controlled Trial of Prenatal Air Pollution Exposure and the Development of Allergic Sensitization in the First Year of Life. Senior Supervisor: R Allen

MSc thesis defence: Brendan Bernardo, Assessing the Relation Between Plasma PCB Concentrations and Elevated Autistic Behaviours using Bayesian Predictive Odds Ratios. Senior Supervisor: L McCandless

MSc thesis defence: Lief Pagalan, Prenatal Exposures to Air Pollution and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Population-based Cohort Study in Metro Vancouver, BC.  Senior Supervisor: B Lanphear

PhD thesis defence: Prabjit Barn, A Randomized Air Filter Intervention Study of Air Pollution and Fetal Growth in a Highly Polluted Community: The Ulaanbaatar Gestation and Air Pollution Research (UGAAR) Study. Senior Supervisor: R Allen

MSc thesis defence: Kate Hosford, Understanding a Public Bicycle Share Program in Vancouver, Canada: Program Uptake and Impacts on Bicycling. Senior Supervisor: M Winters

PhD thesis defence: Tessa Chen, Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Initiation, Ongoing Use, and Related Overdose Among People who use Drugs in Vancouver, Canada. Senior Supervisor: P Nepomnaschy

MSc thesis defence: Fredrick Omondi, HIV Subtype and Nef-mediated Immune Evasion Function Correlate with Viral Reservoir Size in Early-treated Individuals.  Senior Supervisor: S Venners

MSc thesis defence: Cecilia Sierra Heredia, Temporal and Geographic Variation in Aeroallergen Measurements Across Four Canadian Cities from 2008–2012. Senior Supervisor: T Takaro


Coming soon.