DIRECTOR – Jeffrey Brook has more than 25 years of experience as an Environment Canada scientist working at the science-policy interface. He is one of Canada’s leading experts in air quality, recognized at all levels of government and academically, including for his substantial contributions in air pollution health research. During this time he spent 15 years as faculty at the University of Toronto, where he was involved in research, lecturing and graduate student training.  

DIRECTOR – Dany Doiron has been working as an environmental epidemiologist for 10 years, and has special expertise in linking environmental data with health data to support a wide range of studies on how people are affected by the built environment. His research focuses on the effects of ambient air pollution on respiratory health. Dany is a Research Associate in the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit of the McGill University Health Centre and serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian Obstructive Lung Disease Cohort (CanCOLD), a population-based cohort that seeks to better understand Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). He is also the Managing Director of the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE).

PREVIOUS DIRECTOR – Eleanor Setton brings 30 years of training and experience in the development, analysis, modelling, and visualization of environmental and socio-economic geospatial data. Her focus over the past 15 years has been on environmental exposures, from carcinogens in  air, water and other pathways, to health-impacting urban factors including air quality, greenness, walkability, weather and others. She has a special interest in advancing the characterization of urban and rural environments using high resolution imagery and computer vision/machine learning, as well as developing data-driven tools for policy makers and the general public toward improving environmental conditions for all.

DATA DIRECTOR – Joey Syer has been the HealthyDesign.City Data Director since November 2022. He oversees the development of HealthyDesign.City datasets and projects dedicated to their improvement. Joey is also a part-time course instructor at the University of Victoria in Population Health and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection. Prior to HealthyDesign.City, he spent 10 years (2012-2022) as a geomatics specialist at Hemmera, an Ausenco Company. Joey holds degrees in GIS and Epidemiology. He has a strong interest in environmental epidemiology, using GIS, remote sensing, and machine learning to improve environmental exposure data quality, and a wide range of health outcomes.

DATA SCIENTIST – Priya Patel is an environmental engineer and data scientist with a background in urban environmental modelling. She worked for six years as an engineering consultant before returning to graduate school at the University of Toronto for a Master’s degree. Her research was focused on modelling air pollution and microclimates using satellite imagery and machine learning. Priya is passionate about using environmental data to create actionable insights that can lead to real-world changes in urban design.

POST DOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW – Mohammad Noaeen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (PDF) at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. He joined HealthyDesign.City in June 2022, specializing in environmental health research and developing applications for data analysis and visualization. Simultaneously, he has been a PDF at the Ethical Intelligence Lab at Harvard Business School since January 2022, focusing on social and ethical studies pertaining to autonomous machines. Prior to his current appointments, Mohammad worked as a PDF in Transportation Engineering at the University of Toronto. He obtained his PhD in Software Engineering from the University of Calgary, where he concentrated on urban traffic network management using data analysis, traffic theory, and reinforcement learning.

Research Team

Jeff Brook

Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto
Jeffrey Brook has 25 years of experience as an Environment Canada scientist working at the science-policy interface. During this time he spent 15 years as faculty at the University of Toronto, where he was involved in research, lecturing and graduate student training. He is one of Canada’s leading experts in air quality, recognized at all levels of government and academically, including for his substantial contributions in air pollution health research. Dr. Brook has led scientific assessments to inform policy nationally and internationally, and advised multi-stakeholder groups shaping policy. He has led a variety of multi-disciplinary research teams in government, government-academic partnerships and in academia. Recently his efforts have expanded beyond air quality, for example for 8 years he has led the Environmental Working Group of the Canadian Health Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study and co-led the Gene x Environment Research Platform within the AllerGen Network of Centres of Excellence.

Gillian Booth

Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
Dr. Gillian Booth is a Scientist at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions within the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Dr. Booth is also an Adjunct Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), a Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto, and a practicing endocrinologist. Dr. Booth’s research focuses on health outcomes related to diabetes; specifically how socioeconomic, environmental and health care factors influence the risk of diabetes and its complications. She has extensive experience in using large provincial health care and survey databases, and in using geographic information systems (GIS) methodology to study contextual factors influencing the development of diabetes. One of her major research interests is on the built environment and its role in the obesity and diabetes epidemics.

Michael Brauer

School of Population and Public Health,
University of British Columbia (UBC)
Michael Brauer is an internationally recognized expert in urban and environmental health. He is Director of UBC’s Bridge Program, Professor in UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, and Professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Dr. Brauer’s research has uncovered relationships between transportation-related and biomass air pollution, and reproductive, respiratory, and cardiovascular health, and identified impacts of multiple exposures mediated by urban form on population health. He has participated in studies throughout the world and served on advisory committees to the UN Climate and Clean Air Coalition Scientific Panel, the World Health Organization, the US National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine, the Royal Society of Canada, the International Joint Commission and governments in North America and Asia.

Daniel Fuller

Assistant Professor,
Memorial University of Newfoundland
As Canada Research Chair in Population Physical Activity, Dr. Fuller’s interests include advancing our understanding of how urban environments can promote or limit physical activity, and how environment can be structured to reduce social inequalities in health. Physical activity is important for the prevention and treatment of many diseases including diabetes, mental health, and some cancers. Unfortunately, physical activity is notoriously difficult to change. Only 15% of the Canadian population meet physical activity guidelines, with more educated and higher income people being more active. Working closely with cities and local community organizations, and using mobile health technologies Dr. Fuller’s research examines the best ways to design and build cities and towns that equitably increase physical activity for the entire population. His team develops new interventions and works with cities to evaluate the impact of existing interventions including bicycle share programs, bridge construction, and snow clearing on physical activity.

Yan Kestens

Associate Professor, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal
Dr. Kestens has investigated a wide variety of topics, including active mobility, resource accessibility and the roles of food environments, aging, and mental health. He brings this multidisciplinary background to bear in the research program of his CIHR/PHAC Applied Public Health Chair in Urban Interventions and Population Health. The objectives of the Chair’s research program are to analyze population-based urban interventions, identify the operating mechanisms and conditions required for them to succeed, and thus transform the health of urban populations and reduce health inequalities within them. Dr. Kestens is a Principal Investigator for INTErventions, Research and Action in Cities Team (INTERACT). This ingoing initiative is a pan-Canadian collaboration of interdisciplinary scientists, urban planners, and public health decision makers advancing research on the design of healthy and sustainable cities for all.

Laura Rosella

Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health,
University of Toronto
Laura Rosella is the Principal Investigator and Scientific Director of the Population Health Analytics Lab. She is an Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, where she holds Canada Research Chair in Population Health Analytics. In 2020, she was made the Inaugural Stephen Family Research Chair in Community Health at the Institute for Better Health, Trillium Health Partners. Her additional scientific appointments include the Vector Institute and Site Director for ICES UofT. Her research interests include population health, predictive models to support public health planning, and population health management. She has authored over 130 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of epidemiology, population health and health services research. She has been awarded several national grants, including a CIHR Foundation grant to support her population health analytics research program. Notably, Dr. Rosella was recently awarded the Brian MacMahon Early Career Epidemiology Award by the Society for Epidemiologic Research and was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. She was president of the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CSEB) from 2018-2020.

Dave Stieb

Public Health Physician,
Health Canada
David Stieb is a Public Health Physician with Health Canada’s Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, and member of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the University of Ottawa. In addition to conducting primary research, including linking national administrative cohort data and exposure surfaces, and key systematic reviews and meta-analyses of epidemiological studies of air pollution and health, he has made notable contributions to knowledge translation, working with federal, provincial and municipal public health and NGO partners. These include acting as health science lead in the development of Canada’s Air Quality Health Index, a public health risk communication tool (www.airhealth.ca). He also co-developed the Air Quality Benefits Assessment Tool and other applications that translate knowledge to estimate the human health impacts and costs/benefits of changes in ambient air quality resulting from proposed regulatory or other initiatives.

Paul Villeneuve

Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, Carleton University
Dr. Paul Villeneuve is an environmental and occupational epidemiologist. His research focuses on investigating the associations between environmental and occupational exposures and a number of adverse health outcomes. His projects include evaluating the impacts of long-term exposure to air pollution and the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and dementia, as well as the health benefits of urban greenness. He collaborates closely with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Ontario Occupational Cancer Research Center, Cancer Care Ontario, and several other academic researchers across Canada, and the US. He is on the editorial boards of Environmental Research, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention, and the Canadian Journal of Public Health.
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