USask hosts planetary health conference

SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan (USask) is bringing the planetary health discussion and a number of expert keynote presenters to Saskatoon this week to examine the delicate interdependencies of human civilization and nature.

Mar 11, 2019

Planetary health acknowledges the interdependence of human health and the health of the planet. The second annual People Around the World (PAW) conference is an important two-day event that will bring together a diverse audience of health, environment, Indigenous, and policy researchers, as well as community and industry partners to better understand our role to improve human health outcomes in a manner that is respectful to the Earth’s ecosystems and inhabitants.

PAW 2019 will feature interdisciplinary panel discussions and keynote addresses from:

  • Brent Loken, world-renowned interdisciplinary scientist, conservation scientist, social entrepreneur and director of science translation at EAT—the science-based global platform for food system transformation.
  • Courtney Howard, president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and primary author on the 2017 Canadian Brief for The Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change on behalf of the Canadian Public Health Association.
  • Donald Warne, associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion; director of Indians Into Medicine (INMED) Program; director of the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program; and professor of family and community medicine at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

“Understanding and examining issues related to planetary health is an absolute requirement for those of us who operate within the health and social sciences, environmental organizations, or anywhere human civilization and nature intersect,” said Steven Jones, USask interim assistant vice-provost, health and School of Public Health executive director.

PAW 2019 is an opportunity for the province and the USask community to take stock of the challenges and opportunities that arise when we compare our resources and knowledge against the impact we make on the natural world.

The conference begins Tuesday, March 12, with a unique dinner and special keynote address from Brent Loken, contributor to the groundbreaking EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health.

Loken will speak about the Planetary Health Diet and his work as director of science translation at EAT, a Stockholm-based non-profit working toward science-based food-system transformation. Registered attendees will experience a healthy, sustainable menu based on the EAT-Lancet report, Canada Food Guide and Planetary Health Diet prepared by St. Thomas More Executive Chef Christopher Daniels Jones in consultation with Loken.

On Wednesday, March 13, the second day of the conference will feature additional keynotes from special guests Dr. Warne and Dr. Howard, titled “Indigenous perspectives on health disparities” and “Healthy planet, healthy people” respectively.

Two panel discussions will also provide an opportunity for attendees to further explore the connections between food, people and the planet. The sessions will include several USask experts—specializing in medicine, policy, food sciences and food security, health and epidemiology, and more—who will explore themes related to epigenetics, resiliency and adaptability.

Learning sessions have also been created for conference registrants to explore issues surrounding sustainability, genetic engineering and food design, and microgreens.

Guest panelist Dr. Terry Maresca from the University of Washington will follow her panel discussion with a special learning presentation involving Indigenous food and plants as medicine.

Dr. Maresca (Mohawk Tribe, Kahnawake Band) has provided health care as a family doctor in tribal, Indian Health Service, and urban Indian health programs in the Great Plains, Southwest, and Pacific northwest since 1987. She is a clinical associate professor at University of Washington School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, and the former director of their Native American Center of Excellence focused on medical student education around American Indian and Alaska Native health issues. Maresca is also a former president of the Association of American Indian

Additional conference information is available at .

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Thoma
Media Relations Specialist

University of Saskatchewan


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