Webcast about ecosystem approaches to health via IDRC Agriculture and Environment program

IDRC event and live webcast — A conversation with David Waltner-Toews
Ecohealth in a complex world: policy’s holy grail?


Parasites in Nepal. Mercury poisoning in the Amazon. Malnutrition in the Himalayan highlands. Rabies in Bali. Food security everywhere. The world seems to be tumbling out of control, diseases old and new appear and re-appear, and the old technical and political agendas seem powerless – and lack the economic resources - to respond effectively. Just as fever, diarrhea and respiratory distress are not separate problems to be solved, but expressions of a body in distress, health outcomes are symptoms of interactions among social, economic, and ecological changes. If seen this way, they can be understood and managed effectively and economically.

This is the premise, and the promise, of ecosystem approaches to health — ecohealth – which integrates science, culture and politics, and links research, action and policy-making. Using complex, systemic thinking and collaborations of a wide variety of researchers, policy makers, and local residents, ecohealth creates the kind of resilient communities where people can achieve physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Pre-eminent ecohealth researcher David Waltner-Toews will be at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to engage in conversation with Jean Lebel, Director of IDRC’s Agriculture and Environment program, about how ecohealth research provides a rich multidisciplinary understanding of the complex factors affecting human health.

Waltner-Toews will also discuss how the use of ecohealth approaches can lead to better policies and practices across a variety of issues — from agriculture and environmental sustainability to social equity, nutrition, and local democracy.

When: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.Where: IDRC, W. David Hopper Room, 150 Kent Street, 8th floor, Ottawa, ON
David Waltner-Toews is founding president of Veterinarians without Borders and the Network for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health. A professor at the University of Guelph, his research expertise includes emerging diseases, ecohealth, and epidemiology. He has collaborated on research and teaching in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

His publications include Ecosystem Sustainability and Health: A Practical Approach; Integrated Assessment of Health and Sustainability of Agroecosytems; and the popular science book Food, Sex and Salmonella: Why our Food is Making us Sick.

Waltner-Toews recently received the inaugural award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Ecohealth from the International Association for Ecology and Health.

The conversation with David Waltner-Toews is part of IDRC’s Speakers of Renown series, being held throughout 2010 to mark the Centre’s 40th anniversary.

The event is free but seating is limited, so PLEASE REGISTER.

French and English simultaneous interpretation will be available.

The event will be webcast live. Questions may be submitted during the talk to www.idrc.ca/events-toews and will be answered as time permits. No need to register to join the webcast.

Information: 613-696-2244