Keynote Speakers and Program


Opening Keynote

Title: Place-Based Collaborations for Children’s Health:
Building Capacity through Community Geography

Dr. Jason Gilliland

Jason Gilliland (B.A.Hon, M.A., M.Arch., Ph.D) is Director of the Urban Development Program and Full Professor in the Dept of Geography, Dept of Paediatrics, School of Health Studies and Dept of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at Western University. He is also a Scientist with the Children's Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, two of Canada's leading hospital-based research institutes.   He has authored or co-authored over 120 peer-reviewed publications and has won several awards for his research, teaching, and community service. His research is primarily focused on exploring social and environmental determinants and developing interventions to ameliorate children’s health issues, such as poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and obesity.  He is also Director of the Human Environments Analysis Lab (, an innovative research and training environment which specializes in community-based research and identifying interventions to public policy, programming and neighbourhood design to promote the health and quality of life of children and youth.     

Closing Keynote

Title: Leveraging Systems Science to Model Health Beliefs and Behaviors

Dr. Sara Metcalf

Dr. Sara Metcalf is a geography professor and systems scientist who conducts research on urban health and sustainability. As an MPI on NIH/NIDCR-funded projects, she uses dynamic models to simulate ways to improve oral health for underserved communities. As a systems scientist, she articulates feedback mechanisms and implements them in computer simulation models with stocks, flows, and networked agents. Dr. Metcalf engages in modeling activities for a range of research projects that examine ways of promoting societal benefits such as health equity, food justice, urban greening, and climate resilience.     


Conference Schedule

All conference activities will take place at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health

8:30-9:00 am: Registration, refreshments, and light snacks (6th floor common area)

9:00-9:15 am: Land Acknowledgement and Welcome (HS610)

9:15-10:00 am: Opening Keynote Address by Dr. Jason Gilliland (HS610)

10:10-11:20 am: Concurrent Presentations and Workshops

  • Spatial Disparities in Health (HS100)

  • Sexual Health and Intimate Relationships (HS614)

  • Policy Contexts (HS696)

  • Mental Health I (HS618)

11:25-12:35 pm: Concurrent Presentations and Workshops

  • Workshop: Using Local Area Geography to Define Health and Health-impacting Indicators: The Ontario Community Health Profiles Partnership (OCHPP) Website (HS108) 

  • Mental Health II (HS618)

  • Food Environments (HS100)

  • Environmental Health (HS614)

12:35 pm: Lunch (7th floor lounge)
(Provided by the UToronto Tri-Campus Graduate Program in Geography and Planning)

1:45-3:15 pm: Concurrent Presentations and Workshops

  • Environmental Health (HS614)

  • Access to Health Services- Inequalities (HS618)

  • Physical Activity and Active Transportation (HS106)

  • Workshop: GIS analysis for health research using the ArcGIS API for Python (HS108)

3:15-3:45 pm: Health break with refreshments and snacks provided (6th floor)

3:45-4:00 pm: Student Award Presentation (Three prizes of $250 each!) (HS610)

4:00-4:45 pm: Closing Keynote Address: Dr. Sara Metcalf (HS610)

7:00 pm: Closing party at SPiN Toronto (461 King St W)


Acknowledgment of Traditional Land

We wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca and, most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. As settlers in Turtle Island, we directly benefit from the colonization and genocide of the indigenous people of this land. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island. We are grateful to have the opportunity to exist on this land and we must constantly engage in acts of decolonization.