Past News

News and Publications from 2021

Dawit Guta, Jill Baumgartner, Darby Jack, Ellison Carter, Guofeng Shen, Jennifer Orgill-Meyer, Joshua Rosenthal, Katherine Dickinson, Rob Bailis, Yuta Masuda, Hisham Zerriffi,

A systematic review of household energy transition in low and middle income countries

Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 86, 2022, 102463, ISSN 2214-6296,
Available online December 21, 2021

Abstract: The use of solid fuels stoves contributes to a range of adverse health and social outcomes and can impact regional and global climate. Reducing these impacts requires both adoption and use of cleaner energy solutions and reduction or elimination of solid fuel use. Decades of improved stove and fuel programs in the developing nations have achieved only limited success in fully or even partially replacing solid fuel stoves, highlighting the challenges of modernizing energy. In this paper, we provide a systematic review to characterize household decision-making and the factors that influence adoption and disadoption of both cleaner fuels and improved biomass stoves, and use and suspension of solid fuels. We searched key bibliometric databases and then screened, appraised, and synthesized 92 studies. These were categorized into seven broad household cooking fuel/stove adoption and suspension decision-making: adoption, adoption and suspension, fuel choice, expenditure, level of fuel use, use and non-use decision, and others. We then use these studies to provide a detailed account of factors that influence household cooking fuel/stove adoption and suspension decisions under seven domains (technological characteristics, demographic, socioeconomic, market development, institutional, biophysical). Based on our review results we developed a conceptual framework of the dynamic decision-making process in household energy use decisions and the factors influencing them. Given that households can use multiple fuels and technologies (stove stacking), an understanding of household energy transitions requires attention to both the adoption and use of new fuels but also the reduction in use or suspension of solid fuels and stoves.

José Ignacio, Nazif-Munoz, Brice Batomen, Arijit Nandi

Does ridesharing affect road safety? the introduction of Moto-Uber and other factors in the Dominican Republic

Research in Globalization, Volume 4, 2022, 100077, ISSN 2590-051X,
Available online December 16th, 2021


Annually, more than 379 000 motorcycle occupants across the world die in motor-vehicle collisions—84% of these fatalities occurred in Low- and Middle-Income countries. Recent studies suggest that the Uber’s four-wheeler ride-sharing service (UberCAR) may reduce traffic fatalities. However, research has not considered how Uber’s two-wheeler ridesharing service (UberMOTO) might affect traffic-motorcycle fatalities.


Monthly counts of car occupant and motorcycle fatalities from the Dominican Republic, a country in which both Uber services have been introduced, were collected from the Ministry of Public Health. We conducted interrupted time-series analyses using monthly traffic fatalities per 100,000 population for the period 2012–2018. We studied Santo Domingo and Santiago, the only two cities in which UberCAR and UberMOTO were launched in different times.


The introduction of UberMOTO was associated with a 0.16 short-term decrease (95% CI -0.29 to ‚àí0.05) in the level of monthly motorcycle fatalities per 100,000 population in Santo Domingo, and a 0.34 decrease (95% CI ‚àí0.68, 0.00) in Santiago. UberCAR was associated with an increase of 0.03 (95% CI ‚àí0.06 to 0.13) in the level of monthly car occupant fatalities per 100,000 population in Santo Domingo, and with a 0.20 increase (95% CI 0.05 to 0.35) in Santiago.


After Santo Domingo and Santiago introduced UberMOTO and UberCAR services, we observed short-term decreases in motorcycle fatalities and abrupt increases in car fatalities, respectively. These associations of ridesharing services with traffic fatalities vary between cities and over time, which might reflect differences in specific city features, including characteristics of the vehicle fleet and public transportation systems.

Daniel Weinstock, Two Cheers for the “Mandate” View of Representation: Remarks on N. W. Barber’s The Principles of Constitutionalism, Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies, Volume 24, Issue 1, December 2021, Pages 83–93,

Jill Baumgartner co-authored the following article:

Lai A, Lee M, Carter E, et al.

Chemical Investigation of Household Solid Fuel Use and Outdoor Air Pollution Contributions to Personal PM2.5 Exposures

Environ Sci Technol. 2021 Dec 7;55(23):15969-15979.
doi: 10.1021/acs.est.1c01368.
Epub 2021 Nov 24. PMID: 34817986; PMCID: PMC8655976.


In communities with household solid fuel use, transitioning to clean stoves/fuels often results in only moderate reductions in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposures; the chemical composition of those exposures may help explain why. We collected personal exposure (men and women) and outdoor PM2.5 samples in villages in three Chinese provinces (Shanxi, Beijing, and Guangxi) and measured chemical components, including water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC), ions, elements, and organic tracers. Source contributions from chemical mass balance modeling (biomass burning, coal combustion, vehicles, dust, and secondary inorganic aerosol) were similar between outdoor and personal PM2.5 samples. Principal component analysis of organic and inorganic components identified analogous sources, including a regional ambient source. Chemical components of PM2.5 exposures did not differ significantly by gender. Participants using coal had higher personal/outdoor (P/O) ratios of coal combustion tracers (picene, sulfate, As, and Pb) than those not using coal, but no such trend was observed for biomass burning tracers (levoglucosan, K+, WSOC). Picene and most levoglucosan P/O ratios exceeded 1 even among participants not using coal and biomass, respectively, indicating substantial indirect exposure to solid fuel emissions from other homes. Contributions of community-level emissions to exposures suggest that meaningful exposure reductions will likely require extensive fuel use changes within communities.

The Pluralist Right to Health Care: A Framework and Case StudyDaniel Weinstock wrote the foreword in the book written by a former postdoctoral fellow:

Michael Da Silva. The Pluralist Right to Health Care: A Framework and Case Study. 2021. University of Toronto Press. Toronto, Canada.
ISBN-10: 1487508727
ISBN-13: 978-1487508722

Jill Baumgartner co-authored the following article:

Adjei-Boadi D, Agyei-Mensah S, Adamkiewicz G, et al.

Neighbourhood, built environment and children's outdoor play spaces in urban Ghana: Review of policies and challenges

Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 218, 2022, 104288, ISSN 0169-2046,
Available online on November 5, 2021


Although a great deal of research work has been done by social scientists on walkability and playability, the focus to a large extent has been on the global north. Research work on the urban built environment and children’s play has not engaged Africa in general and Ghana in particular. More importantly, there is limited evidence of policies in terms of community-based practices and governmental policies and programmes for the promotion of play. The limited effort in promoting physical activities have to a large extent focused on walkability, yet evidence to date indicates that walking only constitutes a small proportion of the physical activities of children. This is against the backdrop of growing urbanization and the increasing reported incidence of sedentary lifestyles, less physical activity and obesity among children and the youth. Our main objective in this paper is to contribute to the literature on Ghana, and by extension Sub-Saharan Africa, by examining the extent to which playability features in city and national policies and strategies in urban Ghana. We conclude that there is dearth of public policies on children’s play, with the situation in communities compounded by weak city government capacity to plan, implement and enforce development control to protect open spaces for children's play and recreational purposes. The paper recommends a change in policy and practice on creating spaces in urban built-environments for children’s play in urban Ghana.

The research of Frank Elgar was discussed in the following The McGill Tribune - Science and Technology article:

Four ways McGill researchers are spearheading pandemic innovation

written by Youssef Wahba on November 2, 2021.

Daniel Weinstock co-edited the following special issue:

Da Silva M, Weinstock D.

Special Issue: Health Rights: Individual, Collective, and 'National'

Bioethics. 2021 (Oct): 35(8): i-ii, 721-838.

Daniel Weinstock was mentioned in the following CTV News Report:

Press council says columnist 'misled the public' after alleging McGill prof. favoured 'symbolic' circumcision

by Digital Reporter Luca Caruso-Moro
Published Saturday, October 30th, 2021

Mylene Riva co-authored the following article:

Mylene Riva, Sophie Kingunza Makasi, Philippe Dufresne, Kimberley O'Sullivan, Megan Toth

Energy poverty in Canada: Prevalence, social and spatial distribution, and implications for research and policy

Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 81, 2021, 102237, ISSN 2214-6296,
Available online October 4th, 2021


Canada is one of the largest energy producers in the world and one of the largest consumers of energy. A cold climate, dispersed population, affordable energy prices, and high standards of living contribute to Canada’s high energy intensity. Yet, some 6% to 19% of Canadian households are experiencing energy poverty. Relying on data from the 2017 Survey of Household Spending, this study explores the social and spatial distribution of energy poverty across Canada. Energy poverty is measured at the household level, using expenditure-based indicators computed before and after housing costs. Logistic regression models are applied to examine the association between energy poverty and factors related to household composition, dwelling characteristics, urban/rural location, and province of residence. The odds of energy poverty are significantly higher for one-person, lone-parent, and older households, and for households with someone living with a long-term illness or disability. Energy poverty is significantly higher for households living in duplex or row housing, in single-detached and in mobile houses, in dwellings built prior to 1960, and in dwellings requiring major repairs. In comparison to homeowners with a mortgage, energy poverty is significantly higher for renters in urban centers. There are geographical patterns, with the odds of energy poverty almost twice as high for households in Atlantic provinces and in rural areas. These findings demonstrate that energy poverty is patterned across a social gradient in Canada and that it varies across space. The implications of the results for research and policy are discussed.

Daniel Weinstock was quoted in the following article in The McGill Tribune:

McGill Senate approves motion to create COVID-19 advisory committee

Written by Tasmin Chu on September 28, 2021

“My sense is that there really is a lot of fear and a little bit of anger at the base,” Weinstock said. “The people who are going into classrooms feel that their concerns have not been adequately dealt with, and this has led to a crisis of trust.”

Daniel Weinstock wrote the following article:

Weinstock D.

A justification of health policy federalism.

Bioethics. 2021 Sep 23. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12947.
Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34553398.


The apportionment of responsibility for health policy within multi-level states should be sensitive to a number of conflicting normative pressures, some of which militate for placing decision-making authority at the higher reaches of policy-making structures, while others would seem to require placing them lower down this structure. The principle of subsidiarity is a structural principle that addresses in a manner that is neutral with respect to these values a way of addressing the conflicting claims of these values. Standard accounts of federalism fare poorly with respect to the criterion of subsidiarity. While central governments are at first glance better equipped to apply such a principle to the issue of the distribution of authority, there are strong empirical grounds for thinking that centralized governments will non-neutrally privilege central authorities in applying the principle. Federal structures that admit of overlapping jurisdictions, and that therefore require that deliberation among federal parties occur as a condition of the problem of the distribution of powers over health care being solved, are most amenable to solving problems of distribution of authority.

Cover of Autonomy and Equality: Relational ApproachesNatalie Stoljar and Kristin Voigt edited the following book:

Autonomy and Equality: Relational Approaches
(Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy)

Published by Routledge, 1st edition (September 20, 2021)
ISBN-10: ‎0367416891
ISBN-13: ‎978-0367416898
DOI: 10.4324/9780367823344

Jill Baumgartner and an IHSP Postdoctoral Fellow, T. Kanagasabai co-authored the following article:

Kanagasabai T, Xie W, Yan L, et al.

Household air pollution and blood pressure, vascular damage and sub-clinical indicators of cardiovascular disease in older Chinese adults

Am J Hypertens. 2021 Sep 10:hpab141.
doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpab141.
Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34505873.


Background: Limited data suggest that household air pollution from cooking and heating with solid fuel (i.e., coal and biomass) stoves may contribute to the development of hypertension and vascular damage.

Methods: Using mixed-effects regression models, we investigated the associations of household air pollution with blood pressure (BP) and vascular function in 753 adults (ages 40-79y) from three diverse provinces in China. We conducted repeated measures of participants' household fuel use, personal exposure to fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5), BP, brachial-femoral pulse wave velocity (bfPWV), and augmentation index. Ultrasound images of the carotid arteries were obtained to assess intima-media thickness (CIMT) and plaques. Covariate information on socio-demographics, health behaviors, 24-h urinary sodium, and blood lipids was also obtained.

Results: Average estimated yearly personal exposure to PM2.5 was 97.5 μg/m 3 (SD: 79.2; range: 3.5-1241), and 65% of participants cooked with solid fuel. In multivariable models, current solid fuel use was associated with higher systolic (2.4 mmHg, 95%CI: -0.4, 4.9) and diastolic BP (1.4 mmHg, 95%CI: -0.1, 3.0) and greater total area of plaques (1.7 mm 2, 95%CI: -6.5, 9.8) compared with exclusive use of electricity or gas stoves. A 1-ln(µg/m 3) increase in PM2.5 exposure was associated with higher systolic (1.5 mmHg, 95%CI: 0.2, 2.7) and diastolic BP (1.0 mmHg, 95%CI: 0.4, 1.7) and with greater CIMT (0.02 mm, 95%CI: 0.00, 0.04) and total area of plaques (4.7 mm 2, 95%CI: -2.0, 11.5). We did not find associations with arterial stiffness, except for a lower bfPWV (-1.5 m/s, 95%CI: -3.0, -0.0) among users of solid fuel heaters.

Conclusions: These findings add to limited evidence that household air pollution is associated with higher BP and with greater CIMT and total plaque area.

Jill Baumgartner co-authored the following article:

Lloyd M, Carter E, Diaz FG, et al.

Predicting Within-City Spatial Variations in Outdoor Ultrafine Particle and Black Carbon Concentrations in Bucaramanga, Colombia: A Hybrid Approach Using Open-Source Geographic Data and Digital Images

Environ Sci Technol. 2021 Sep 21;55(18):12483-12492.
doi: 10.1021/acs.est.1c01412.
Epub 2021 Sep 9. PMID: 34498865.


Outdoor ultrafine particles (UFP, <0.1 μm) and black carbon (BC) vary greatly within cities and may have adverse impacts on human health. In this study, we used a hybrid approach to develop new models to estimate within-city spatial variations in outdoor UFP and BC concentrations across Bucaramanga, Colombia. We conducted a mobile monitoring campaign over 20 days in 2019. Regression models were trained on land use data and combined with predictions from convolutional neural networks (CNN) trained to predict UFP and BC concentrations using satellite and street-level images. The combined UFP model (R2 = 0.54) outperformed the CNN (R2 = 0.47) and land use regression (LUR) models (R2 = 0.47) on their own. Similarly, the combined BC model also outperformed the CNN and LUR BC models (R2 = 0.51 vs 0.43 and 0.45, respectively). Spatial variations in model performance were more stable for the CNN and combined models compared to the LUR models, suggesting that the combined approach may be less likely to contribute to differential exposure measurement error in epidemiological studies. In general, our findings demonstrated that satellite and street-level images can be combined with a traditional LUR modeling approach to improve predictions of within-city spatial variations in outdoor UFP and BC concentrations.

Tamani - Tabora Maternal Newborn Health Initiative- Impact Evaluation Report

September 2021
Produced by Erin Hetherington, Arijit Nandi, Sam Harper, Ilona Vincent

The following list of abstracts was presented at an International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) annual meeting in August 2021 and have been co-authored by IHSP faculty members, Associate members, Postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. They have not been peer reviewed and are presented by Environmental Health Perspectives at the links provided below.

Identifying vulnerable urban neighbourhoods and their environmental, density, and housing characteristics in Accra, Ghana using census and remote sensing data

Robert Charles MacTavish, Honor Bixby, Brian Robinson, Alicia Cavanaugh, Majid Ezzati, Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Ayaga Bawah, Alexandra Schmidt, and Jill Baumgartner


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Identifying vulnerable urban communities, commonly known as slums, can facilitate targeted policies to reduce urban economic and social inequities in cities, but these data are rarely available. We aimed to identify vulnerable urban neighbourhoods and their environmental and housing characteristics in Accra, Ghana using available training data on the city center (Accra Metropolitan Area - AMA) applied to the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA). METHODS: We accessed the following enumeration area (EA)-level data for Greater Accra: slum classification available for a subset of 2,418 EAs in the AMA from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and UN-Habitat 2011 report; housing conditions from the most recent Ghana Census (2010); and environmental quality attributes from remote sensing data provided by the United States Geological Survey and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We fitted a Bayesian logistic regression model to evaluate associations between housing, density, and environmental attributes with vulnerable area classification of EAs in the AMA. We then applied the model to predict the probability of each urban EA in GAMA as being vulnerable. RESULTS:We estimated that approximately one-fifth of EAs in the GAMA had a vulnerable area probability greater than 80%, corresponding to a population of 752,367 likely living in suboptimal conditions. The variables associated with a higher probability of an EA being vulnerable included greater use of public toilet facilities [OR: 3.51 (95% credible interval (CI): 1.55,7.53)], higher population density [OR: 5.72 (95% CI: 3.85,8.65)], lower use of improved wall materials [OR: 0.11 (95% CI: 0.03,0.43)], lower elevation [OR: 0.45 (95% CI: 0.35, 0.58)], lower use of indoor piping as a drinking water source [OR: 0.50 (95% CI: 0.25,0.99)], and lower vegetation abundance [OR: 0.25 (95% CI: 0.16,0.39)]. CONCLUSIONS:Our approach can be used in future studies to identify geographic clusters of vulnerable areas where interventions are warranted to improve housing and environmental conditions. 

Quantifying within-city inequalities in child mortality across neighbourhoods in Accra, Ghana

Honor Bixby, James E. Bennett, Ayaga Agula Bawah, Raphael E. Arku, Alexandra M. Schmidt, Brian E. Robinson, Samuel Agyei Mensah, George Owusu, Samilia E. Mintah, Jacqueline D. Anum, Majid Ezzati, and Jill Baumgartner


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Countries in sub-Saharan Africa suffer the highest rates of child mortality worldwide. Urban areas tend to have lower mortality than rural areas, but these comparisons likely mask large within-city inequalities. We aimed to quantify variation in child mortality across neighbourhoods of Accra – Ghana’s capital city. METHODS: We accessed data on 700,000 women aged 25-49 years living in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) using the most recent Ghana census (2010). We summarised counts of child births and deaths by five-year age group of women and neighbourhood (n=406) and applied indirect demographic methods to convert the summaries to yearly probabilities of death under-five years of age. We fitted a Bayesian spatio-temporal model to the neighbourhood child mortality probabilities to obtain estimates for 2010, and examined the correlation with indicators of neighbourhood environmental and socio-economic conditions. RESULTS:Child mortality varied almost five-fold across neighbourhoods in the GAMA in 2010, ranging from 28 (95% credible interval (CrI): 8-63) to 138 (95% CrI: 111-167) deaths per 1000 live births. Child mortality was highest in the urban core and industrial districts, with a neighbourhood average of 95 deaths per 1000 live births. Peri-urban neighbourhoods performed better, on average, but had greater within-district variation (up to 3.8-fold). Child mortality was negatively correlated with multiple indicators of improved living and socio-economic conditions among peri-urban neighbourhoods. Among urban neighbourhoods however, correlations were weaker or in some cases reversed, including with neighbourhood median household consumption and levels of women’s schooling. CONCLUSIONS:We found substantial child mortality inequalities between and within GAMA’s districts and identified urban neighbourhoods being left behind in child mortality reductions. Improved neighbourhood environmental and socioeconomic conditions in the inner city did not correspond to lower levels of child mortality. Universal access to quality healthcare services can mitigate mortality inequalities where children are born into different circumstances.

Effects of indoor and outdoor temperatures on blood pressure and central hemodynamics in a wintertime panel of peri-urban Chinese adults

Talia Joss Sternbach, Xiaoying Li, Xiang Zhang, Ellison Carter, Guofeng Shen, Shu Tao, Yuanxun Zhang, Jill Baumgartner, and Sam Harper


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Excess wintertime cardiovascular mortality has been observed in populations globally and is partly attributed to cold-induced elevated blood pressure (BP). An inverse relationship between outdoor temperature and BP is well documented. The influence of indoor environmental conditions (e.g., heating, insulation) and indoor temperature on BP is less clear. We examined the effects of indoor and outdoor temperature on wintertime BP and central hemodynamics among older adults in peri-urban Beijing, China. METHODS: We enrolled 1,285 older adults into a panel study conducted in two winter seasons (2018-19 and 2019-2020). Staff traveled to participant homes to administer a questionnaire and measure their brachial and central systolic and diastolic BPs, pulse pressures, and pulse pressure amplification. Indoor temperature was measured within the 5-minutes prior to BP measurements for all participants and 12-month indoor temperature measurements were obtained in a 37% (1st season) and 32% (2nd season) random subsample. Village-level outdoor temperature was estimated from regional meteorological stations. Multivariable mixed-effects regression models were used to estimate the within- and between-individual effects of indoor and outdoor temperature on BP, allowing for effect measure modification. RESULTS:Indoor and outdoor winter temperatures ranged from 0.0 to 28.0˚C and -14.3 to 6.4˚C, respectively. Those in colder homes had a lower wealth score and less home insulation. We observed an inverse linear relationship between indoor temperature and BP (mmHg per 1˚C increase in temperature: −0.4 to −0.5 systolic, −0.3 diastolic, and −0.2 pulse pressure). We found little evidence of any effect of outdoor temperature with BP, or that outdoor temperature modified the effect of indoor temperature. CONCLUSIONS:We found an inverse association between indoor temperature and BP, but no relationship of BP with outdoor temperature. This suggests a stronger effect on BP of indoor compared to outdoor temperature. Improving insulation and household heating may help lower BP and prevent excess winter mortality.

Environmental inequality of personal exposure to PM2.5 and black carbon (BC) within- and between- communities in rural Beijing, China

Xiaoying Li, Ellison Carter, Jill Baumgartner, Christopher Barrington Leigh, Sam Harper, Brian Robinson, Guofeng Shen, Talia Sternbach, Shu Tao, Xiang Zhang, and Yuanxun Zhang


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Socioeconomic and spatial patterning of personal exposure to air pollution have not been well documented in rural Chinese settings where household solid fuel use is still a major contributor to air pollution. To better understand how air pollution exposures are distributed in settings like these, we investigated personal exposure patterning by social, demographic, and economic factors within- and between- villages in rural Beijing, where a heating energy program is underway to substitute coal with electricity and natural gas. METHODS: We randomly recruited 446 participants in 50 villages from four (of 13) districts in Beijing and measured 24-h personal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC). We administered a comprehensive survey to collect detailed household socio-demographic information, stove and fuel use patterns, and applied principle component analysis (PCA) to construct a composite index (wealth index) to better represent participants’ socioeconomic status (SES). RESULTS:Overall, geometric mean (95% confidence interval) exposures to PM2.5 and BC were 75 (68-82) and 2.6 (2.4-2.8) μg/m3, respectively, ranging at the village-level from 23-387 μg/m3 and from 0.8-11 μg/m3, respectively. Within villages, the highest measured PM2.5 exposures were, on average, 20 times higher than the lowest (range: 3.5-187). Overall, PM2.5 and BC exposures did not vary systematically by SES, although they were slightly concentrated among the poorest 20% of participants, who represented 23% of PM2.5 and 25% of BC exposure by total personal exposure, while the wealthiest 20% represented 17% of PM2.5 and 14% of BC exposure by total personal exposure. CONCLUSIONS:SES did not show a pronounced association with the disparities of exposures to household air pollution in this study. This study addresses critical knowledge gaps on how exposures to household air pollution are distributed by social and demographic factors and aids design of interventions to control household air pollution emissions in settings like rural Beijing.

The role of village spillover and stove use on wintertime outdoor PM2.5 in villages transitioning to clean heating in China

Collin Brehmer, Xiaoying Li, Talia Sternbach, Martha Lee, Xiang Zhang, Jill Baumgartner, Sam Harper, Brian Robinson, Christopher Barrington Leigh, Guofeng Shen, Yuanxun Zhang, Shu Tao, and Ellison Carter


BACKGROUND AND AIM: In an effort to improve ambient air quality, the Beijing government is requiring that households in the municipality transition, at the village-scale, from coal-burning stoves to electric-powered heat pumps and natural gas boilers for household heating. Wintertime air quality in this region is subject to meteorological clustering and air pollution emissions from rural residential space heating with coal-burning stoves. Thus, to better understand how large-scale policies like the one being implemented perform, we conducted a village level analysis of outdoor air pollution patterning, accounting for meteorology, coverage of the policy, and home heating energy use. METHODS: We analyzed 283 1-week outdoor fine particulate matter (PM2.5) samples from 30 villages in 2 Beijing districts across 2 winter field seasons. In the first winter season (2018-2019) households in all 30 villages were heating with coal-burning stoves, whereas in the second season (2019-2020) households in 10 of those villages had ceased using coal for space heating and instead used electric heat pumps (treated). PM2.5 samples were analyzed for mass, black carbon (BC) and trace elements. Elemental and BC concentrations were included in a source apportionment model to identify the sources of elements in these villages. RESULTS:Median (interquartile range) PM2.5 concentrations (μg m-3) for treated villages were 31.2 (21.2) for season 1 and 29.7 (25.5) for season 2. For untreated villages, median concentrations were 28.8 (11.7) and 24.8 (19.0) for seasons 1 and 2, respectively. To contextualize the PM2.5 mass and source apportionment results, we discuss how these concentrations vary with respect to meteorological clustering, density of nearby treated and untreated villages, and self-reported and objective measures of home heating energy use. CONCLUSIONS:Our analysis and findings provide a framework and insights regarding influential factors that should be considered when assessing the effectiveness of similar household energy interventions.

Predicting Within-City Variations in Ultrafine Particle and Black Carbon Concentrations in Bucaramanga, Columbia Using Open Source Data and Images

Marshall Lloyd, Ellison Carter, Florencio Guzman Diaz, Kento Taro Magara Gomez, Kris Y. Hong, Jill Baumgartner, Victor M. Herrera G., and Scott Weichenthal


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Outdoor ultrafine particles (UFP; 100 nm) and black carbon (BC) vary greatly within cities and may have adverse impacts on human health such as cardiovascular mortality and brain tumour incidence. Traditional regression methods for estimating spatial distributions of ambient air pollution depend on extensive, curated geospatial information system databases. This has resulted in a disparity wherein little is known about local air pollution in the data-sparse settings of low- and middle- income countries. We used a hybrid approach to develop new models to estimate within-city spatial variations in outdoor UFP and BC concentrations across Bucaramanga, Colombia. METHODS: We conducted a large-scale mobile monitoring campaign over twenty days in 2019. Land use regression (LUR) models were developed using land use parameters from curated and open-source databases. Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) models were developed using Google Maps satellite view and street view images. Combined models were developed by combining predictions from the LUR and CNN models. After training in the training and validation sets, predictions were generated in the test set and compared to measured values. RESULTS:The combined UFP model (R2=0.54) outperformed the CNN (R2=0.47) and land use regression (LUR) models (R2=0.47) on their own. Similarly, the combined BC model also outperformed the CNN and LUR BC models (R2 = 0.51 vs 0.43 and 0.45 respectively). Spatial variations in model performance were more stable for the CNN and combined models compared to the LUR models suggesting that the combined approach may be less likely to contribute to differential exposure measurement error in epidemiological studies. CONCLUSIONS:Estimates from these models can then be applied to population-based cohorts in order to evaluate population health risks. Additionally, our findings demonstrated that satellite and street-level images can be combined with a traditional LUR modelling approach to improve predictions of within-city spatial variations in outdoor UFP and BC concentrations.

The influence of heating energy on indoor air quality and its association with socioeconomic status in rural Beijing

Xiaoying Li, Ellison Carter, Jill Baumgartner, Christopher Barrington Leigh, Collin Brehmer, Sam Harper, Brian Robinson, Guofeng Shen, Talia Sternbach, Shu Tao, Xiang Zhang, and Yuanxun Zhang


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Solid fuel combustion for cooking and heating is a dominant source of indoor fine particulate matter (PM2.5). To improve ambient air quality, China is implementing a national program to replace traditional coal stoves with clean energy devices and ban further use of coal for space heating. To date, the impact evaluation of this program on indoor air quality is very limited. METHODS: Three-hundred households among 50 rural villages spanning four districts in Beijing, including 10 treated villages (electricity-based space heating) and 40 untreated villages (coal-based space heating), were recruited to monitor indoor PM2.5 concentrations (PMS7003 Plantower) for 58 to 110 days during the wintertime heating season (November to March). A 24-h filter-based measurement of PM2.5 (Ultrasonic Personal Aerosol Samplers, Access Sensor Technologies, USA) was co-located in a subsample of 3 households per village. Outdoor PM2.5 concentrations were measured concurrently (2 sensor-based and 1 filter-based measurement per village). Filter-based PM2.5 samples were analyzed for mass, black carbon, and elemental composition. RESULTS:Overall, indoor PM2.5 concentrations were lower in treated villages than untreated villages, while no strong trends were observed for outdoor PM2.5. Indoor PM2.5 concentrations followed similar diurnal trends in both treated and untreated villages, although PM2.5 concentrations were more elevated overnight in untreated villages, possibly due to solid fuel burning in space heating stoves. Elemental composition will provide insight on infiltration of outdoor PM2.5 and its contribution to indoor air quality. CONCLUSIONS:Indoor air quality in treated villages was better compared to untreated villages, with the strongest evidence for this coming from the observed differences in diurnal patterns of indoor PM2.5 concentrations, indicative of overnight solid fuel burning in space heating stoves in untreated villages. The clean heating energy program shows benefit on indoor air quality even though it aims on improve ambient air quality.

Spatiotemporal characterization of urban activity and environment with imagery and deep learning

Ricky Nathvani, Sierra N. Clark, Emily Muller, Abosede S. Alli, James E. Bennett, James Nimo, Josephine Bedford Moses, Solomon Baah, Antje Barbara Metzler, Michael Brauer, Esra Suel, Allison Hughes, Theo Rashid, Emily Gemmell, Simon Moulds, Jill Baumgartner, Mireille Toledano, Ernest Agyemang, George Owusu, Samuel Agyei Mensah, Raphael Arku, and Majid Ezzati


BACKGROUND AND AIM: There are limited data on human activity and the environment needed to inform policies and target infrastructures to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in cities in sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s fastest urbanising region. METHODS: We collected a bespoke dataset of 2.10 million images in Accra, Ghana, captured at five-minute internals over ~15 months at 145 representative locations. We retrained a convolutional neural network using a manually labelled subset of images to identify people (including street vendors) and 18 objects – categorised into large vehicles, small vehicles, two wheelers, objects from the market, refuse and animals – that collectively represent important features of human activity and the environment in the city. RESULTS:We identified 23.5 million of these objects in our dataset. Of these, 9.66 million (41%) were humans, followed by cars (4.19 million; 18%). We found strong correlation among the number of people, large vehicles and market-related objects, which were typically captured in the business and commercial core and high-density residential areas; moderate correlation between these three categories and small vehicles; weak correlation with two wheelers; and inverse correlation with refuse and animals which were more common in the peripheral areas of the city. The frequency of objects changed throughout the day with the extent of variation dependent on the type of object and location. There were noticeable reductions in the number of people, vehicles and market related activity in commercial and business areas during the Covid-19 lockdown, but smaller reductions observed in high-density residential areas. CONCLUSIONS:Contextual adaptation of computer vision tools can reduce the global gap in data on cities to advance sustainable and healthy urban development. Our data and approach have the potential to be applied to a range of urban environmental topics, including estimating road-traffic volume/flows and identifying sources of air and noise pollution.

Daniel Weinstock was quoted in an article by Morgan Lowrie of The Canadian Press:

Battle for Quebec could be a Liberal-Bloc showdown, but surprises always possible

Published in Chat News Today on August 22nd, 2021.

Daniel Weinstock was quoted in an article in CTV News:

Battle for Quebec could be a Liberal-Bloc showdown, but surprises always possible

"I expect that the dynamic will be Bloc vs Liberals, with the NDP and Conservatives a little bit outside looking in because of the dynamics in place."

By Morgan Lowrie (The Canadian Press Staff Contact)
Published Sunday, August 22, 2021

Michal Da Silva, a former Postdoctoral Fellow of Daniel Weinstock published the following article:

Da Silva, M. (2021). Individual and ‘national’ healthcare rights: Analysing the potential conflicts.
Bioethics. 2021; 1– 10.
DOI: 10.1111/bioe.12934
Published August 20, 2021


Individual rights to healthcare (RTHCs) are increasingly common in law. Yet even plausible theoretical defences thereof raise a classic problem in the philosophy of rights: How do individual rights relate to ‘collective’ rights within the same domain? Collective rights are common in international law and in the domestic laws of states that recognize RTHCs. These collective rights often include health-related components. There are at least prima facie plausible reasons to think that such collective ‘health rights’ should exist. A complete account of health rights should thus explain how individual and collective health rights claims relate to one another and what one should do in cases where the claims conflict. This work contributes to our understanding of health rights by analysing the relationship between individual RTHCs and a plausible candidate collective health right, namely a sub-state national right to control healthcare law and policy. It argues that concerns about rights conflicts in this context make sense, but genuine conflicts between individual health rights and national control over healthcare are rare. The strongest cases for sub-state national ‘self-determination’ rights do not implicate healthcare, or tend not to provide reasons to override any individual RTHCs. Conflicts are possible in rare cases and may even favour fulfilling the collective rights claims. Yet individual RTHCs remain important even in those cases. Individual rights remain useful measures for evaluating the exercise of collective rights: exercises that violate (or even fail to fulfil) individual health rights are worse for so doing.

Matteo Bonotti & Daniel Weinstock

Introduction: Parties, Electoral Systems and Political Theory

Representation. 2021: 57:3, 287-295
DOI: 10.1080/00344893.2021.1960590
Published online August 17, 2021


In recent years, several political theorists have restored and defended the central role played by political parties and partisanship in liberal democracies, highlighting the positive contribution that they can make to democratic politics. Little attention, in this growing body of literature, has been paid to the institutional framework in which political parties are located, and which may significantly shape the kind of party system in which individual parties and partisans operate. One of the key elements of this institutional framework is the electoral system. One question that deserves urgent attention is the following: how does electoral design affect parties and partisans’ability to make a positive contribution to democracy? While some of the existing literature on electoral systems does engage with the normative dimensions of electoral design, very few political theorists have addressed this question. The articles in this special issue aim to fill this gap in the literature. By re-examining some of the key debates in the normative literature on parties and partisanship through the lens of electoral design, they advance both bodies of work in an original way that will help to set a new research agenda in this field.

Jill Baumgartner co-authored the following article:

Xiaoying Li, Sierra Clark, Emily Floess, Jill Baumgartner, Tami Bond, Ellison Carter.

Personal exposure to PM2.5 of indoor and outdoor origin in two neighboring Chinese communities with contrasting household fuel use patterns

Science of The Total Environment, Volume 800, 2021, 149421, ISSN 0048-9697,
Available online on August 6th, 2021


The Chinese government is replacing high-polluting, household coal heating stoves with electricity- and natural gas-powered heaters to improve ambient air quality. The evaluation of the intervention impact on outdoor PM2.5 and personal exposure in community level are in their initial stages. We compared outdoor air pollution and personal exposure in two neighboring communities (~2 km) in northern China with contrasting household fuel use patterns: one where residents primarily used coal for cooking and heating (“coal village”) and one where natural gas was the dominant fuel (“gas village”). We collected 24-h outdoor gravimetric PM2.5 samples in each village and concurrently measured 48-h integrated exposures among 71 participants from 41 and 30 households in the coal and gas villages, respectively. PM2.5 samples were analyzed for mass and chemical composition. Daily outdoor PM2.5 concentrations in the coal village (mean ± standard deviation: 109 ± 41 μg/m3) were, on average, 1.3 ± 0.2 times higher than in the gas village (88 ± 38 μg/m3). However, personal PM2.5 exposures were lower in the coal village (116 ± 121 μg/m3 versus 156 ± 106 μg/m3). PM2.5 species that can serve as tracers for residential coal combustion (e.g., S, Se, Zn, Pb, etc.) and dust (Al, Ca, Mg, Fe, Si and Ti) were higher in the coal village, and the proportion of personal PM2.5 of outdoor origin in the coal village was nearly 2 times higher than the gas village. Our results suggest that ambient PM2.5 and its chemical composition can vary at relatively small spatial scales and may reflect community-level differences in the household energy use. However, personal PM2.5 exposures may not mirror between-village differences in outdoor air pollution if only PM2.5 mass is evaluated. Individual chemical composition of PM2.5 exposure can provide important insight in future studies on the effectiveness of source-targeted air quality interventions.

Christopher Barrington-Leigh posted the following briefing note:

Review of Department of Finance Canada's "Toward a Quality of Life Strategy for Canada"

August 2nd, 2021

Jill Baumgartner was quoted in the following McGill Newsroom Institutional Communications article published on July 28th, 2021:

Experts: Forest fires and smog

“The biggest health threat from wildfire smoke is from very small microscopic particles that can penetrate deep into your lungs and can cause a wide range of health problems, from less serious ones like burning eyes and a runny nose to very serious chronic heart and lung diseases. In fact, thousands of Canadians die every year from exposure to air pollution from sources that wildfire smoke.”

Jill Baumgartner co-authored the following article:

Lai A, Baumgartner J, Schauer JJ, Rudich Y, Pardo M.

Cytotoxicity and chemical composition of women's personal PM2.5 exposures from rural China

Environmental Science: Atmospheres, 2021
Published on July 27, 2021


Personal exposure PM samples aid in determining the sources and chemical composition of real-world exposures, particularly in settings with household air pollution. However, their use in toxicological research is limited, despite uncertainty regarding health effects in these settings and evidence of differential toxicity among PM2.5 sources and components. This study used women's PM2.5 exposure samples collected using personal exposure monitoring in rural villages in three Chinese provinces (Beijing, Shanxi, and Sichuan) during summer and winter. Water-soluble organic carbon, ions, elements, and organic tracers (e.g. levoglucosan and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs]) were quantified in water and organic PM2.5 extracts. Human lung epithelial cells (A549) were exposed to the extracts. Cell death, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and gene expression were measured. Biomass burning contributions were higher in Sichuan samples than in Beijing or Shanxi. Some PM characteristics (total PAHs and coal combustion source contributions) and biological effects of organic extract exposures (cell death, ROS, and cytokine gene expression) shared a common trend of higher levels and effects in winter than in summer for Shanxi and Beijing but no seasonal differences in Sichuan. Modulation of phase I/AhR-related genes (cyp1a1 and cyp1b1) and phase II/oxidative stress-related genes (HO-1, SOD1/2, NQO-1, and catalase) was either low or insignificant, without clear trends between samples. No significant cell death or ROS production was observed for water extract treatments among all sites and seasons, even at possible higher concentrations tested. These results support organic components, particularly PAHs, as essential drivers of biological effects, which is consistent with some other evidence from ambient PM2.5.

Jill Baumgartner co-authored the following article:

Kaushik A, Peralta-Alvarez F, Gupta P, Bazo-Alvarez JC, Ofori S, Bobrow K, et al.

Assessing the Policy Landscape for Salt Reduction in South-East Asian and Latin American Countries – An Initiative Towards Developing an Easily Accessible, Integrated, Searchable Online Repository

Global Heart. 2021;16(1):49.
Published July 15th, 2021


Background: High dietary salt intake is an avoidable cause of hypertension and associated cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Thus, salt reduction is recommended as one of the most cost-effective interventions for CVD prevention and for achieving the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 25% reduction in premature non-communicable disease (NCD) mortality by 2025. However, current and comprehensive information about national salt reduction policies and related actions across different regions are difficult to access and impede progress and monitoring.

Objectives: As an initial step to developing an online repository of salt reduction policies and related actions, and to track nation-wise progress towards the WHO’s 25 by 25 goal, we aimed to identify and assess salt reduction policies and actions in select countries from two of the top five most populous regions of the world- the South-East Asia and Latin America.

Methods: We conducted a literature review to identify national and regional salt reduction policies in the selected South-East Asian and Latin American countries, from January 1990–August 2020, available in English and Spanish. We also contacted selected WHO country offices (South-East Asian region) or relevant national authorities (Latin America) to gain access to unpublished documents.

Results: In both regions, we found only a few dedicated stand-alone salt reduction policies: Bhutan, Sri-Lanka and Thailand from South East Asia and Costa Rica from Latin America. Available polices were either embedded in other national health/nutritional policy documents/overall NCD policies or were unpublished and had to be accessed via personal communication.

Conclusions: Salt reduction policies are limited and often embedded with other policies which may impede their implementation and utility for tracking national and international progress towards the global salt reduction target associated with the 25 by 25 goal. Developing an online repository could help countries address this gap and assist researchers/policymakers to monitor national progress towards achieving the salt reduction target.

The following article was a collaboration between IHSP Faculty, an Associate Member and a former Research Assistant:

Impacts of Universal Childcare on Early Behavioral Development: Evidence from a Birth Cohort in Québec, Canada

Seungmi Yang, Thomas Charters, Daniel Weinstock, Arijit Nandi. Annals of Epidemiology. (2021)
ISSN 1047-2797
Published online on June 17, 2021


Purpose: To examine associations between universal pre-school childcare use and later behaviors among children at age 6 years.

Methods: Using annual follow-up data of a birth cohort (N=1450), we estimated differences in behavioral scores by primary childcare arrangement between ages 2 to 5 years – universal subsidized childcare program (CPE care), non-CPE childcare, and parental or family care (no regular care) – using propensity score inverse probability weights.

Results: Teachers reported slightly higher levels of hyperactivity (0.73, 95% CI: 0.32, 1.1) and indirect aggression (0.58, 95%CI: 0.24, 0.91) among children who attended a CPE than children in non-CPE care. However, these patterns were not observed from either maternal or paternal reports. Similarly, teachers’ assessments of slightly higher physical aggression (0.50, 95% CI: 0.11, 0.88) and opposition (0.63, 95% CI: 0.21, 1.05) scores among children in CPE care than children who did not have a regular childcare were not observed in parental assessments. Behavioral scores were similar between girls and boys and across family socioeconomic position.

Conclusion: Universal pre-school childcare does not appear to have substantial impacts on child behaviors at early school age, however teachers rated externalizing behaviors to be slightly higher among children who attended universal childcare.

Arijit Nandi co-authored the following article:

Impact of abortion law reforms on health services and health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review

Foluso Ishola, U Vivian Ukah, Babatunde Y Alli, Arijit Nandi. Health Policy and Planning (2021)
Published June 16, 2021


While restrictive abortion laws still prevail in most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), many countries have reformed their abortion laws, expanding the grounds on which abortion can be performed legally. However, the implications of these reforms on women’s access to and use of health services, as well as their health outcomes, are uncertain. This systematic review aimed to evaluate and synthesize empirical research evidence concerning the effects of abortion law reforms on women’s health services and health outcomes in LMICs. We searched Medline, Embase, CINAHL and Web of Science databases, as well as grey literature and reference lists of included studies. We included pre–post and quasi-experimental studies that aimed to estimate the causal effect of a change in abortion law on at least one of four outcomes: (1) use of and access to abortion services, (2) fertility rates, (3) maternal and/or neonatal morbidity and mortality and (4) contraceptive use. We assessed the quality of studies using the quasi-experimental study design series checklist and synthesized evidence through a narrative description. Of the 2796 records identified by our search, we included 13 studies in the review, which covered reforms occurring in Uruguay, Ethiopia, Mexico, Nepal, Chile, Romania, India and Ghana. Studies employed pre–post, interrupted time series, difference-in-differences and synthetic control designs. Legislative reforms from highly restrictive to relatively liberal were associated with reductions in fertility, particularly among women from 20 to 34 years of age, as well as lower maternal mortality. Evidence regarding the impact of abortion reforms on other outcomes, as well as whether effects vary by socioeconomic status, is limited. Further research is required to strengthen the evidence base for informing abortion legislation in LMICs. This review explicitly points to the need for rigorous quasi-experimental studies with sensitivity analyses to assess underlying assumptions. The systematic review was registered in PROSPERO database CRD42019126927.

The following accepted manuscript was co-authored by Jill Baumgartner:

Spatial-temporal patterns of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC) pollution in Accra

Alli AS, Clark SN, Hughes AF, et al. Environmental Research Letters. (2021)
Accepted online June 2, 2021


Background: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is rapidly urbanizing, and ambient air pollution has emerged as a major environmental health concern in SSA cities. Yet, effective air quality management is hindered by limited data. We deployed robust, low-cost and low-power devices in a large-scale measurement campaign and characterized within-city variations in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC) pollution in Accra, Ghana. Methods: Between April 2019 and June 2020, we measured weekly gravimetric (filter-based) and minute-by-minute PM2.5 concentrations at 146 unique locations, comprising of 10 fixed (~1-year) and 136 rotating (7-day) sites covering a range of land-use and source influences. Filters were weighed for mass, and light absorbance (10−5m−1) of the filters was used as proxy for BC concentration. Year-long data at four fixed sites that were monitored in a previous study (2006-2007) were compared to assess change in PM2.5 concentrations. Results: The mean annual PM2.5 across the fixed sites ranged from 26 μg/m3 at a peri-urban site to 40 μg/m3 at commercial, business, and industrial (CBI) areas. CBI areas had the highest PM2.5 levels (mean: 37 μg/m3), followed by high-density residential neighborhoods (mean: 36 μg/m3), while peri-urban areas recorded the lowest (mean: 26 μg/m3). Both PM2.5 and BC levels were highest during the dry dusty Harmattan period (mean PM2.5: 89 μg/m3) compared to non-Harmattan season (mean PM2.5: 23 μg/m3). PM2.5 at all sites peaked at dawn and dusk, coinciding with morning and evening heavy traffic. We found about a ~50% reduction (71 vs 37 μg/m3) in mean annual PM2.5 concentrations when compared to measurements in 2006-2007 in Accra. Conclusion: Ambient PM2.5 concentrations in Accra may have plateaued at levels lower than those seen in large Asian megacities. However, levels are still 2- to 4-fold higher than the WHO guideline. Effective and equitable policies are needed to reduce pollution levels and protect public health.

Natalie Stoljar contributed a chapter to the following book:

The Cambridge Handbook of Health Research Regulation Book coverLaurie, G., Dove, E., Ganguli-Mitra, A., McMillan, C., Postan, E., Sethi, N., & Sorbie, A. (Eds.). (June 2021). The Cambridge Handbook of Health Research Regulation (Cambridge Law Handbooks). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108620024

Part I - Concepts, Tools, Processes
Section IA - Concepts
2. Autonomy: Relational Conceptions
by Natalie Stoljar


This chapter argues that the conception of autonomy implicit in the current health research ethics guidelines is an individualistic one. On this model, people are autonomous when they voluntarily exercise their deliberative capacities to make choices based on their values. They can fail to be autonomous either for psychological reasons, when their deliberative capacities are impaired; or for epistemic reasons, when they do not have access to all the information that is relevant to a decision. The chapter outlines a contrasting 'relational' approach to autonomy. On the relational model, people can fail to be autonomous for social reasons. The social conditions that a person inhabits, including their available options, and the interpersonal context – such as family relationships and social expectations – all affect the ability to make autonomous decisions. The chapter also identifies some of the implications of the relational model for health research ethics. It examines two issues implicit in the guidelines: the relationship between autonomy and vulnerability, and the claim that informed consent is sufficient for autonomy.

Jill Baumgartner co-authored the following article:

Space-time characterization of community noise and sound sources in Accra, Ghana

Clark, S.N., Alli, A.S., Nathvani, R. et al. Sci Rep 11, 11113 (2021).
Published on May 27, 2021


Urban noise pollution is an emerging public health concern in growing cities in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), but the sound environment in SSA cities is understudied. We leveraged a large-scale measurement campaign to characterize the spatial and temporal patterns of measured sound levels and sound sources in Accra, Ghana. We measured sound levels and recorded audio clips at 146 representative locations, involving 7-days (136 locations) and 1-year measurements between 2019 and 2020. We calculated metrics of noise levels and intermittency and analyzed audio recordings using a pre-trained neural network to identify sources. Commercial, business, and industrial areas and areas near major roads had the highest median daily sound levels (LAeq24hr: 69 dBA and 72 dBA) and the lowest percentage of intermittent sound; the vice-versa was found for peri urban areas. Road-transport sounds dominated the overall sound environment but mixtures of other sound sources, including animals, human speech, and outdoor music, dominated in various locations and at different times. Environmental noise levels in Accra exceeded both international and national health-based guidelines. Detailed information on the acoustical environmental quality (including sound levels and types) in Accra may guide environmental policy formulation and evaluation to improve the health of urban residents.

Alissa Koski was interviewed on CBC Radio - The Current

Child marriage is 'a hidden crime,' and it's happening in Western nations, says survivor and advocate

Posted on May 22, 2021

Alissa Koski was interviewed by Matt Galloway about her research on child marriage:

CBC RADIO ONE - The Current (May 17, 2021)

Daniel Weinstock was quoted in the following article in the McGill Newsroom - Institutional Communications

Experts: Scottish National Party promise independence referendum after election win

Published on May 11, 2021 by Frederique Mazerolle

Kristin Voigt co-authored the following article:

Flashing red lights: the global implications of COVID-19 vaccination passports

Voigt K, et al. BMJ Global Health 2021;6:e006209.
Accepted on May 8, 2021

Christopher Barrington-Leigh was quoted in the following article in the McGill Newsroom - Institutional Communications

Experts: Earth Day | April 22

Published on April 20, 2021 by Frederique Mazerolle

Myette E, Riva M.

Surveying the complex social-ecological pathways between resource extraction and Indigenous Peoples’ health in Canada: A scoping review with a realist perspective

The Extractive Industries and Society. 2021 (June): 8(2), 100901.
Available online April 8th, 2021


Resource extraction can influence a range of determinants of health for Indigenous communities directly and indirectly, through various complex social-ecological pathways. However, research on these pathways is lacking, which prevents a comprehensive understanding of how Indigenous Peoples are affected by resource development. The objective of this scoping review was to understand pathways connecting extraction to Indigenous Peoples’ health. Adopting a realist perspective, we identified mechanisms from the reviewed articles with the capacity to be activated in an extraction context and produce health outcomes. Eight mechanisms were related to changes stemming from extraction sites: engagement in assessment and consultation processes; interaction with government and industry officials; presence and nature of new work and training opportunities; changes to the economy and influx of new money; changing social structures and new inequalities; environmental degradation and dispossession; new and longstanding changes to the economy; and lasting effects on land. These mechanisms affect physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health in myriad ways. We situate these findings within a historical context of extractive activities in Canada and Indigenous health ontologies and provide implications for future resource governance. We conclude that only by comprehensively understanding the context of extraction is it possible to determine potential local health impacts.

A former Postdoctoral Fellow of Daniel Weinstock's, Michael Da Silva, co-authored the following:

Da Silva M, St-Hilare M.

Towards a New Intergovernmental Agreement on Early Pandemic Management

National Journal of Constitutional Law. 2021 (April): 41(2): 77-105.

Christopher Barrington-Leigh posted the following Briefing Note:

How does the science of wellbeing inform an education strategy across the life course?

April 1, 2021

On April 1st, our IHSP Policy Talks Webinar Homelessness Prevention: Framework, Examples and Evidence was discussed in La Presse+, section DÉBATS, écran 5.


Des données pour changer le portrait de l’itinérance

Written by Michèle Chappaz
Directrice générale, Mouvement pour mettre fin à l’itinérance à Montréal

Daniel Weinstock wrote a chapter in this book:

Religion, Law and the Politics of Ethical Diversity CoverProeschel, C., Koussens, D., & Piraino, F. (Eds.). (2021). Religion, Law and the Politics of Ethical Diversity: Conscientious Objection and Contestation of Civil Norms (1st ed.).
eBook ISBN 9781003131083
Published March 31, 2021

Chapter 3:Are there consequentialist grounds for exempting religious health care professionals from medical assistance in dying?


A common assumption undergirds much of the literature of the past few years, despite the appearances of quite substantial disagreement. Some exemptions are, on the other hand, made on religious grounds. Those who make them view certain professional obligations as incompatible with their religious obligations. In a liberal democracy, no one forces anyone to become a physician, a nurse or anything else, and so it can rightly be assumed that people who have chosen those professions, and the norms that accompany them, have done so freely. The foregoing considerations smack of amoral realpolitik. “Rather than having a powerful group make use of its political and social capital in order to block desired legislation altogether”, the argument seems to be saying, “let’s give in to their blackmail and provide them with a morally unjustified benefit so that they will not get in the way of desired legislation”.

The research of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was discussed in an article in CBC News:

Feeling blue? Try forcing yourself to laugh

Laughter yoga classes force Montrealers to laugh, despite difficult year

Written by Jennifer Yoon
March 27, 2021

A Postdoctoral Fellow working with Daniel Weinstock, Mary Bartram, and her two IHSP Interns (Winter 2019) published the following article:

Victoria Ford, Alyssa Wooster, Mary Bartram

Work Hard, Party Hard: Harm Reduction in a Postsecondary Setting

Canadian Journal of Higher Education. (2021)
Published March 23, 2021


In the context of the increasing focus on harms, psychological safety, and mental health in post-secondary settings, this qualitative study explores the challenges and opportunities for harm reduction through focus groups with student leaders, service providers, and administrators in one large Canadian university. Key themes explored by participants include a pervasive work hard, party culture, clashes regarding how to define and operationalize harm reduction, broad approaches to harm reduction in tension with the risk of becoming a band-aid solution, and knowledge transfer and privilege in an academic context. These findings suggest possible avenues for harm reduction that could be implemented as part of the new post-secondary standard, as well as in society as a whole.

Christopher Barrington-Leigh was quoted in the following article in McGill Newsroom - Institutional Communications:

Expert: Canada ranks 15th in latest World Happiness Report

Published March 19th, 2021

Arijit Nandi and his two Research Assistants, Efe Atabay and Ilona Vincent, co-authored the following article:

Raub A, Sprague A, Waisath W, et al.

Utilizing a Comparative Policy Resource from the WORLD Policy Analysis Center Covering Constitutional Rights, Laws, and Policies across 193 Countries for Outcome Analysis, Monitoring, and Accountability

Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice. (2021)
DOI: 10.1080/13876988.2021.1894073
Published online March 16, 2021


Historically, a lack of comparable data on the laws and policies that shape health, education, poverty, and other outcomes has hindered researchers’ ability to provide rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of different policy designs. This article describes public-use downloadable data built by the WORLD Policy Analysis Center to fill this gap. Over 2,000 quantitatively comparable measures of national laws and policies across 193 countries were assembled. This open-access data source provides a tool for monitoring the adoption of evidence-based laws and policies, identifying policy gaps, and rigorously evaluating how policies shape outcomes across different regions and socioeconomic contexts.

Daniel Weinstock was quoted in the following article:

Longer days could reduce support for Quebec curfew

The Canadian Press
by Jacob Serebrin
Sunday, March 14th, 2021

Christopher Barrington-Leigh was interviewed in The McGill Tribune - Fact or Fiction, Science & Technology

Fact or Fiction: Does money really buy happiness?

Written by Margaret Wdowiak on March 9th, 2021.

Elgar FJ, Sen A, Gariépy G, Pickett W, Davison C, Georgiades K, Hammami N, Azevedo Da Silva M, Gordon D, Ramiro Melgar-Quiñonez H

Food insecurity, state fragility and youth mental health: A global perspective

SSM - Population Health. 2021 (June):14, 100764, ISSN 2352-8273,
Available online March 3rd, 2021


Youth in fragile settings face disproportionate risks of experiencing food insecurity and poor mental health. Cross-national evidence is lacking on the association between food insecurity and mental health in youth populations, and on state fragility as a social determinant of these experiences. We analysed data from six cycles of the Gallup World Poll (2014–2019), an annual survey that contains multi-item scales of food insecurity, mental health problems and positive wellbeing. The analytic sample included 164,118 youth aged 15–24 years in 160 states. We linked individual responses to state-level data from the Fragile States Index—an aggregate measure of state vulnerability to collapse or conflict (coded: sustainable, stable, warning, or alert) and estimated adjusted relative risk (RR) of food insecurity as a function of state fragility. We then used linear regression to examine associations of state fragility and food insecurity with mental health and wellbeing. The prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity rose from 22.93% in 2014 to 37.34% in 2019. State fragility (alert vs. sustainable) was related to an increased risk of food insecurity (RR = 2.28 [95% CI 1.30 to 4.01]), more mental health symptoms (b = 6.36 [95% CI 1.79 to 10.93]), and lower wellbeing (b = −4.49 [95% CI -8.28 to −0.70]) after controlling for state wealth and household income. Increased food insecurity (severe vs. none or mild) was uniquely related to more mental health symptoms (b = 18.44 [95% CI 17.24 to 19.64]) and reduced wellbeing (b = −9.85 [95% CI -10.88 to −8.83]) after state fragility was also controlled. Globally, youth experience better mental health where states are more robust and food access is more secure. The findings underscore the importance of strong governance and coordinated policy actions that may improve youth mental health.

The research of Alissa Koski was mentioned in an article in the McGill Newsroom - Institutional Communications

Experts: International Women's Day | March 8

Published on March 5, 2021.

The Disable Contract: Severe Intellectual Disability, Justice and Morality book coverThe Disabled Contract
Severe Intellectual Disability, Justice and Morality

by Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry
published by Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107152854
Available March 2021


Social contract theories generally predicate the authority of rules that govern society on the idea that these rules are the product of a contractual agreement struck between members of society. These theories embody values, such as equality, reciprocity and rationality, that are highly prized within our culture. Yet a closer inspection reveals that these features exclude other important values, relations and even persons from the realm of contractual morality and justice, especially people with severe intellectual disabilities. Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry explores the moral status of intellectually disabled people in social contract thought and argues that this tradition needs to be revisited to include the most vulnerable. Addressing this problem will have concrete repercussions in law and policy, because many issues that people with disabilities face are connected to deeply rooted assumptions about their status as full citizens or full members of our moral, political and legal communities.

More information

David Wright co-authored an article with Jocelyn Downie and Mona Gupta in the IRPP's Policy Options Politiques Magazine:

What's the relationship between suicide and MAiD?

Parliament needs to decide whether the mentally ill should have access to assisted dying. But being mentally ill doesn’t mean being just suicidal.

Published on February 15th, 2021.

Men F, Elgar FJ, Tarasuk V

Food insecurity is associated with mental health problems among Canadian youth

J Epidemiol Community Health. 2021 Feb 12;jech-2020-216149
PMID: 33579754 doi: 10.1136/jech-2020-216149
Published Online First: 12 February 2021.


Background: Research has linked food insecurity to mental health problems, though little is known about this relationship among Canadian youth. We investigate the association between food insecurity severity and mental illnesses in a nationally representative youth sample.

Methods: We sampled 55 700 youth 12–24 years from recent cycles of Canadian Community Health Survey. Household food insecurity was measured using a standard 18-item questionnaire. We fitted Poisson regressions on self-rated mental health and diagnosed mood and anxiety disorders, controlling for sociodemographic confounders. Clinical assessments of emotional distress, major depression and suicidal ideation were examined in subsamples with available data. We stratified the sample by gender, age and survey cycle to test potential demographic heterogeneity.

Results: One in seven youth lived in marginal (5.30%), moderate (8.08%) or severe (1.44%) food insecurity. Results showed that food insecurity was associated with higher likelihood of every mental health problem examined. The association was graded, with more severe food insecurity linked to progressively worse mental health. Notably, marginal, moderate and severe food insecurity were associated with 1.77, 2.44 and 6.49 times higher risk of suicidal thoughts, respectively. The corresponding relative risk for mood disorders were 1.57, 2.00 and 2.89; those for anxiety disorders were 1.41, 1.65 and 2.58. Moderate food insecurity was more closely associated with mental health problems in 18–24 year olds than in 12–17 year olds.

Conclusions: Food insecurity severity was associated with poorer mental health among Canadian youth independent of household income and other socioeconomic differences. Targeted policy intervention alleviating food insecurity may improve youth mental health.

The research of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was mentioned in an article in The McGill Reporter:

Happiness really does come for free

People in societies where money plays a minimal role can have very high levels of happiness

by Katherine Gombay on February 10, 2021. 

Alissa Koski was interviewed on TVO on February 9th, 2021.

Is Child Marriage a Problem in Canada?
The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Researchers at McGill University have found that child marriage is not only legal in Canada but has been happening across the country for decades, even in spite of efforts by the federal government to clamp down on the practice overseas. Why does it persist and what can be done about it? We discuss the scope of the problem and potential solutions with Alissa Koski, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health at McGill University; Samra Zafar, author of "The Good Wife: Escaping a Life I Never Chose;" and Rowena Pinto, chief program officer at UNICEF Canada.


Does Canada Have a Child Marriage Problem?

Batomen B, Sweet E, Nandi A

Social inequalities, debt, and health in the United States

SSM - Population Health. 2021. 100736, ISSN 2352-8273
Published online January 23, 2021


Background: Household financial debt has more than tripled since the 1980s in the United States. The experience of indebtedness is socially structured and there is mounting evidence that debt is linked to decrements in health. However, it is unclear whether debt contributes to social disparities in health.

Objective: We examined whether household debt, measured by debt in excess of income and wealth, mediated education-based social inequalities in health, including cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension) and chronic conditions (diabetes, coronary heart disease, and psychiatric problems).

Method: We used longitudinal data from a sample of over 10,500 adults aged 18 years and older surveyed biennially between 1999 and 2015 as part of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). We estimated the total effect of education on our health outcomes. To assess mediation by levels of household debt, we then estimated the controlled direct effect of education through pathways not mediated by levels of household debt, after accounting for lagged time-varying confounders and loss to follow-up using marginal structural models.

Results: Compared to respondents with at least a high school education, respondents with less than a high school education reported higher household debts in excess of income and wealth; they also reported a higher incidence of hypertension [risk ratio (RR)=1.25, 95%CI=1.13, 1.39), coronary heart disease (RR=1.42, 95%CI: 1.25, 1.62), diabetes (RR=1.50, 95%CI: 1.34, 1.68), and psychiatric problems (RR=1.39, 95%CI: 1.24, 1.56). Compared to the total effects, the controlled direct effects of education on health were attenuated, particularly for death or first onset of hypertension and coronary heart disease, after fixing levels of household debt-to-income and debt-to-wealth.

Conclusion: Our results provide early evidence that household debt in excess of wealth partly mediates education-based inequalities in hypertension and coronary heart disease in the United States, with less consistent evidence for other chronic conditions.

Alissa Koski was interviewed on CTV News on January 23rd, 2021:

McGill study: Child marriage persists in Canada | CTV News

McGill professor Alissa Koski & bestselling author Samra Zafra talk to Angie Seth about concerning new data on child marriage in Canada.

Christopher Barrington-Leigh was quoted in the following article in the McGill Newsroom: Institutional Communications

Experts: United States set to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement

Published January 21st, 2021.

A Postdoctoral Fellow working with Daniel Weinstock published the following article:

Michael Da Silva

The Traces Left Behind: On Appropriate Responses to Right Acts with Wrong Features

Social Theory and Practice. 2021.
Published on January 20th, 2021.


Fulfilling one’s all-things-considered duty sometimes requires violating pro tanto duties. According to W. D. Ross and Robert Nozick, the pro tanto-duty-violating, wrong-making features of acts in these cases can leave ‘traces’ of wrongfulness that require specific responses: feeling compunction for the wrongfulness and/or providing compensation to the negatively affected person. Failure to respond in the appropriate way to lingering wrong-making features can itself be wrongful. Unfortunately, criteria for determining when traces remain are largely lacking. In this piece, I argue for three necessary conditions for the existence of a trace: ‘The Non-Consequentialist Duty Condition,’ ‘The Identity Condition,’ and ‘The Ratio Condition.’

Daniel Weinstock's work on Harm Reduction was mentioned in the following article:

Amid rising COVID-19 deaths, why isn’t Santa Clara County shutting down like it did in March?

San Jose Spotlight
by Mauricio La Plante
Published January 19th, 2021.

Arijit Nandi co-authored and article in the Canadian Journal of Surgery:

Batomen B, Moore L, Carabali M, et al.

Effectiveness of trauma centre verification: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Canadian Journal of Surgery. Journal Canadien de Chirurgie. 2021 Jan;64(1):E25-E38.
DOI: 10.1503/cjs.016219. MID: 33450148. 
Published January 14th, 2020


Background: There is a growing trend toward verification of trauma centres, but its impact remains unclear. This systematic review aimed to synthesize available evidence on the effectiveness of trauma centre verification.

Methods: We conducted a systematic search of the CINAHL, Embase, HealthStar, MEDLINE and ProQuest databases, as well as the websites of key injury organizations for grey literature, from inception to June 2019, without language restrictions. Our population consisted of injured patients treated at trauma centres. The intervention was trauma centre verification. Comparison groups comprised nonverified trauma centres, or the same centre before it was first verified or re-verified. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality; secondary outcomes included adverse events, resource use and processes of care. We computed pooled summary estimates using random-effects meta-analysis.

Results: Of 5125 citations identified, 29, all conducted in the United States, satisfied our inclusion criteria. Mortality was the most frequently investigated outcome (n = 20), followed by processes of care (n = 12), resource use (n = 12) and adverse events (n = 7). The risk of bias was serious to critical in 22 studies. We observed an imprecise association between verification and decreased mortality (relative risk 0.74, 95% confidence interval 0.52 to 1.06) in severely injured patients.

Conclusion: Our review showed mixed and inconsistent associations between verification and processes of care or patient outcomes. The validity of the published literature is limited by the lack of robust controls, as well as any evidence from outside the US, which precludes extrapolation to other health care jurisdictions. Quasiexperimental studies are needed to assess the impact of trauma centre verification.

Miñarro S, Reyes-García V, Aswani S, Selim S, Barrington-Leigh CP, Galbraith ED

Happy without money: Minimally monetized societies can exhibit high subjective well-being

PLoS ONE. 2021; 16(1): e0244569.
Published January 13th, 2021


Economic growth is often assumed to improve happiness for people in low income countries, although the association between monetary income and subjective well-being has been a subject of debate. We test this assumption by comparing three different measures of subjective well-being in very low-income communities with different levels of monetization. Contrary to expectations, all three measures of subjective well-being were very high in the least-monetized sites and comparable to those found among citizens of wealthy nations. The reported drivers of happiness shifted with increasing monetization: from enjoying experiential activities in contact with nature at the less monetized sites, to social and economic factors at the more monetized sites. Our results suggest that high levels of subjective well-being can be achieved with minimal monetization, challenging the perception that economic growth will raise life satisfaction among low income populations.

Koski A and Clark S.

Child in wedding dressChild Marriage in Canada

Population and Development Review (2021).
Published January 8th, 2021

View article written in McGill Newsroom - Institutional Communications - Child marriage is legal and persists across Canada on January 8th, 2021.
View article written in - Child marriage persists across Canada, rural communities, study finds by Brooklyn Neustaeter on January 10th, 2021.
View article written in the Globe and Mail - Thousands of child marriages in Canada lead to questions over global leadership by Matthew Lavietes on January 11th, 2021.
View article in Science BlogChild marriage is legal and persists across Canada on January 11th, 2021.
View article written in the McGill Reporter - Child marriage is legal and persists across Canada by Shirley Cardenas, Media Relations Officer, Communications and External Relations on January 12th, 2021.
View article written in Tampa Dispatch - Child marriage in Canada: Over 3,600 marriage certificates were issued to children under the age of 18 between 2000 and 2018.
View article written in -  Canada must amend its marriage laws to end child marriage by Daphne Bramham on January 13th, 2021.


Child marriage, defined as formal or informal marriage before the age of 18, is a globally recognized indicator of gender inequality. Canada has placed itself at the forefront of global efforts to end child marriage as part of its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Despite these global aspirations, child marriage remains legal throughout Canada. Data from vital statistics agencies and recent censuses indicate that child marriage, although rare, is practiced across the country. In 2016, nearly 2,300 children between 15 and 17 years of age were in union, a prevalence of 0.2 percent. The vast majority (98 percent) of these were informal, common‐law unions. Demographic patterns of child marriage in Canada are similar to those observed in many low‐ and middle‐income countries. Girls were far more likely to be married as children than boys and typically wed much older spouses. There were marked differences in the prevalence of child marriage across the country, with the highest estimates found in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the territories. These findings draw attention to the discrepancy between Canada's domestic law and its foreign policy. They also highlight thorny challenges inherent in efforts to eradicate this practice in Canada and elsewhere.

Baron M, Riva M, Fletcher C, et al.

Conceptualisation and Operationalisation of a Holistic Indicator of Health for Older Inuit: Results of a Sequential Mixed-Methods Project

Social Indicators Research (2021).
Published January 4th, 2021


Elder Inuit define health as holistic and multifaceted, which contrasts with health-related research where single factor indicators are usually used to measure health in an Inuit context. As the number of Inuit elders is growing, indicators derived from an Inuit definition of health are important if health systems are to be inclusive of the realities of Indigenous Peoples and culture. This study explored and operationalised a model of Inuit health in aging that draws from physical, emotional, spiritual, and interpersonal components identified as salient by participants in this research. Qualitative data gathered through two workshops with 21 participants were analysed to identify key dimensions of health from an Inuit perspective. Quantitative data were retrieved from Statistics Canada Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS; 2006) with a weighted sample of 4450 Inuit aged ≥ 50 years residing across Inuit Nunangat. Using measures corresponding to the dimensions identified previously, Latent Class Analyses were applied to group survey participants into health profiles to create a holistic indicator of health. Multinomial regressions were conducted with related health and social measures to assess the concurrent validity of the indicator. Health was conceptualised along eight themes: general health balance, mental health, spirituality, not experiencing many activity limitations, being loved and having positive relationships, speaking Inuktitut, and being free of addiction. The holistic indicator grouped participants into three health profiles: (1) good health for most variables; (2) very good perceived and physical health, but poor mental health; and (3) poor health for most variables. Using mixed methods to bridge the concept of health defined in qualitative workshops with quantitative health indicators can contribute to the definition and description of a culturally relevant and sociologically complex understanding of healthy aging in an Inuit context.

Jill Baumgartner co-authored an article in Environment International:

Lee M, Carter E, Yan L, et al.

Determinants of personal exposure to PM2.5 and black carbon in Chinese adults: A repeated-measures study in villages using solid fuel energy

Environment International. 2021 (Jan):146. 106297
Available online December 8th, 2020


Exposure to air pollution is a leading health risk factor. The variance components and contributions of indoor versus outdoor source determinants of personal exposure to air pollution are poorly understood, especially in settings of household solid fuel use. We conducted a panel study with up to 4 days of repeated measures of integrated gravimetric personal exposure to PM2.5 and black carbon in 787 men and women (ages 40–79) living in peri-urban villages in northern (Beijing and Shanxi) and southern (Guangxi) China. We simultaneously measured outdoor PM2.5 and collected questionnaire data on sociodemographic characteristics and indoor pollution sources including tobacco smoking and solid fuel stove use. We obtained over 2000 days of personal exposure monitoring which showed higher exposures in the heating season (geometric mean (GM): 108 versus 65 μg/m3 in the non-heating season for PM2.5) and among northern participants (GM: 90 versus 59 μg/m3 in southern China in the non-heating season for PM2.5). We used mixed-effects models to estimate within- and between-participant variance components and to assess the determinants of exposures. Within-participant variance in exposure dominated the total variability (68–95%). Outdoor PM2.5 was the dominant variable for explaining within-participant variance in exposure to PM2.5 (16%). Household fuel use (PM2.5: 8%; black carbon: 10%) and smoking status (PM2.5: 27%; black carbon: 5%) explained the most between-participant variance. Indoor sources (solid fuel stoves, tobacco smoking) were associated with 13–30% higher exposures to air pollution and each 10 μg/m3 increase in outdoor PM2.5 was associated with 6–8% higher exposure. Our findings indicate that repeated measurements of daily exposure are likely needed to capture longer-term exposures in settings of household solid fuel use, even within a single season, and that reducing air pollution from both outdoor and indoor sources is likely needed to achieve measurable reductions in exposures to air pollution.

News and Publications from 2020

What we were up to in 2020

Mah MM, Sanmartin C, Riva M, Dasgupta K, Ross N.

Association Between Active Living Environments and Hospitalization for All-Causes and Cardiometabolic Disease

International Journal of Population Data Science. 2020: 5(5).
doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v5i5.1521.
Conference Proceedings for International Population Data Linkage Conference 2020.
Published December 7th, 2020

Conference Proceedings for International Population Data Linkage Conference 2020 Cover artAbstract:

Neighbourhoods have the potential to influence population-wide modifiable risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity. Built environments that encourage active living hold promise as a policy lever for reducing health care burden, particularly that related to cardiometabolic disease.

Objectives and Approach
We examined the role of active living environments on hospitalization risk, frequency, and cumulative length of stay for all-causes and cardiometabolic diseases. The linked dataset is a combination of survey data from Canadian respondents aged 45+, records from a national census of acute hospitalizations, and the Canadian Active Living Environment (Can-ALE) - a 5-class measure of how conducive one’s neighbourhood is to active living based on street connectivity, points of interest, and population density. We modelled the risk of all-cause and cardiometabolic hospitalizations for respondents living in more and less favourable environments using logistic regression. Frequency and cumulative length of stay were modelled using truncated negative binomial regression. Models were adjusted for individual-level factors and proximity to a hospital. An offset variable was included to account for different follow-up times.

232,000 respondents were included with a mean follow-up time of 5.37 years. Those living in progressively more favourable active living environments (classes 2, 3, 4, and 5) exhibited incrementally lower risk of hospitalization compared to those living in the least favourable (class 1). Relative to respondents living in the least favourable environments (class 1), odds ratios were 0.84 (95% CI 0.76-0.93) for all-cause hospitalization and 0.80 (95% CI 0.68-0.93) for cardiometabolic hospitalization for respondents living in the most favourable environments (class 5). There was little evidence of similar associations for hospitalization frequency and cumulative length of stay.

Conclusion / Implications
Living in neighbourhoods that are more conducive to active living are associated with lower risk of all-cause and cardiometabolic hospitalization.

Batomen B, Moore L, Strumpf E, Nandi A

Addressing competing risks when assessing the impact of health services interventions on hospital length of stay

Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)
November 23, 2020 - Volume Published Ahead of Print
DOI: 10.1097/ede.0000000000001307. PMID: 33284168.


Background: Although hospital length of stay is generally modeled continuously, it is increasingly recommended that length of stay should be considered a time-to-event outcome (i.e., time to discharge). Additionally, in-hospital mortality is a competing risk that makes it impossible for a patient to be discharged alive. We estimated the effect of trauma center accreditation on risk of being discharged alive while considering in-hospital mortality as a competing risk. We also compared these results with those from the "naïve" approach, with length of stay modeled continuously.

Methods: Data include admissions to a level I trauma center in Quebec, Canada between 2008 and 2017. We computed standardized risk of being discharged alive at specific days by combining inverse probability weighting and the Aalen-Johansen estimator of the cumulative incidence function. We estimated effect of accreditation using pre-post, interrupted time series analyses (ITS) and the "naïve" approach.

Results: Among 5,300 admissions, 12% died, and 83% were discharged alive within 60 days. Following accreditation, we observed increases in risk of discharge between the 7, 4.5% (95%CI: 2.3, 6.6) and 30 days since admission 3.8% (95%CI 1.5, 6.2). We also observed a stable decrease in hospital mortality, -1.9% (95%CI -3.6, -0.11) at the 14 day. Although pre-post and ITS produced similar results, we observed contradictory associations with the naïve approach.

Conclusions: Treating length of stay as time to discharge allows for estimation of risk of being discharged alive at specific days after admission while accounting for competing risk of death. 

Jill Baumgartner co-authored an article in Chemosphere:

Santa-Rios A, Barst BD, Tejeda L, et al.

Dried blood spots to characterize mercury speciation and exposure in a Colombian artisanal and small-scale gold mining community

Chemosphere 2020, 129001, ISSN 0045-6535
available online November 19, 2020


The artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector uses the most mercury (Hg) worldwide. Despite health concerns associated with high Hg exposures in these communities, ASGM sites are often situated in resource limited and remote regions which challenge traditional human biomonitoring approaches. To help overcome such challenges, here we report on the development of a high-quality method to characterize chemical speciation of Hg in dried blood spots (DBS), and then apply this method to assess Hg exposures in people sampled from an ASGM community (Pueblito Mejia) and a nearby town (Barranco de Loba) in Colombia. We collected DBS and urine samples from 35 individuals in 2018, and used these to assess occupational (DBS inorganic Hg (InHg) and urine total Hg (THg) measures) and environmental (DBS methylmercury (MeHg) measures) exposure of participants to different forms of Hg. The accuracy and precision of the DBS-based measures generally met assay performance guideline. In study participants, the mean concentrations of DBS MeHg, InHg, and THg, and urine THg were 1.9, 4.1, 6.0, and 3.1 μg/L, respectively. For 37% of the participants, DBS THg values exceeded the 5 μg/L ‘alert level’ proposed by the German HBM Commission. About 60% of the blood Hg was in the InHg form thus exemplifying a need to speciate Hg in blood sampled from ASGM sites to better understand the contributions of environmental and occupational exposure sources. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using DBS for Hg speciation exposure assessments in remote and resource-limited areas such as ASGM communities.

Christopher Barrington-Leigh was quoted in the following article from the McGill Newsroom - Institutional Communications, published on November 17, 2020:

Experts: Quebec’s Plan for a Green Economy

Foreign Practices book coverForeign Practices:
Immigrant Doctors and the History of Canadian Medicare

by Sasha Mullally and David Wright

Published by McGill Queen's University Press
ISBN 9780228003717
November 2020


When the CBC organized a national contest to identify the greatest Canadian of all time, few were surprised when the father of Medicare, Tommy Douglas, won by a large margin: Medicare is central to Canadian identity. Yet focusing on Douglas and his fight for social justice obscures other important aspects of the construction of Canada's national health insurance - especially its longstanding dependence on immigrant doctors.

Foreign Practices reconsiders the early history of Medicare through the stories of foreign-trained doctors who entered the country in the three decades after the Second World War. By making strategic use of oral history, analyzing contemporary medical debates, and reconstructing doctors' life histories, Sasha Mullally and David Wright demonstrate that foreign doctors arrived by the hundreds at a pivotal moment for health care services. Just as Medicare was launched, Canada began to prioritize "highly skilled manpower" when admitting newcomers, a novel policy that drew thousands of professionals from around the world. Doctors from India and Iran, Haiti and Hong Kong, and Romania and the Republic of South Africa would fundamentally transform the medical landscape of the country.

Charting the fascinating history of physician immigration to Canada, and the ethical debates it provoked, Foreign Practices places the Canadian experience within a wider context of global migration after the Second World War.

Adamou TY, Riva M, Muckle G, et al.

Blood mercury and plasma polychlorinated biphenyls concentrations in pregnant Inuit women from Nunavik: Temporal trends, 1992–2017

Sci Total Environ. 2020 Nov 15;743:140495.
doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140495.


The Inuit of Nunavik (Northern Quebec, Canada) are exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury (Hg) through their consumption of marine country foods. A temporal trend study was initiated in 1992 to monitor circulating levels of PCBs and Hg in pregnant Inuit women, since the fetus is most at risk of adverse health effects. We set out (1) to describe temporal trends of PCBs and Hg levels in pregnant Nunavik women between 1992 and 2017; (2) to determine the prevalence of participants exceeding the guidance values in 2017; (3) to investigate relations between marine country food intake and contaminant levels over the study period. A total of 559 pregnant women provided a blood sample for contaminant analysis from 1992 to 2017. PCB congeners were quantified in plasma (serum) by gas chromatography (GC) coupled to electron capture detection or mass spectrometry (MS). We determined whole blood mercury concentration by cold vapor atomic absorption or inductively-coupled plasma MS. We performed multilevel modeling to assess temporal trends in contaminant levels and relations with marine country food consumption. Concentrations of total PCBs and Hg decreased by 84% and 65% between 1992 and 2017, respectively. Nevertheless, 10% and 22% of women in 2017 exceeded guidance values for PCBs and Hg, respectively. While the decline in marine country food intake is the only factor associated with decreasing Hg levels, other factors may explain the decline in PCB levels. Despite the significant decline in PCBs and Hg levels from 1992 to 2017, exposure to these contaminants is still quite prevalent among pregnant Nunavik women. Most of the decline in Hg exposure is likely due to a shift away from marine country foods to store-bought foods, which is a concern given the cultural and nutritional importance of country foods and the high food insecurity that prevails in Nunavik.

The work of Jill Baumgartner was discussed in an article in Old Gold & Black:

Tides are changing for national climate policy

The Trump administration did not prioritize climate change, but Biden-Harris promise to

by Sophia Tompkins on November 12, 2020.

Dea S, Weinstock D.

Harm Reduction: A Research Agenda

Health Care Anal. 2020 Nov 3;1-3.


This special issue of Health Care Analysis is part of a larger effort to engage philosophers and political theorists in the study of Harm Reduction (HR) and to encourage scholars and front-line workers who work within the HR tradition to look to philosophy and political theory for conceptual and theoretical resources. The initiative comes surprisingly late. HR has existed under that moniker for 30 years, and has become a globally influential public health approach. However, there has been surprisingly little engagement with HR by philosophers and political theorists, and there exists comparatively little transdisciplinary and transsectoral work on HR involving philosophers and political theorists. We hope to change that.

Arijit Nandi co-authored an article in Environmental Research:

Richardson RA, Harper S, Weichenthal S, et al.

Extremes in water availability and suicide: Evidence from a nationally representative sample of rural Indian adults

Environmental Research. 2020 Nov;190:109969.
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109969.


Background: Extremes in water availability, either exceptionally wet or dry conditions, can damage crops and may detrimentally affect the livelihood and well-being of people engaged in agriculture. We estimated the effect of water availability on suicide in rural India, a context where the majority of households are dependent upon agriculture.

Methods: We used data from a nationally representative sample of 8.5 million people who were monitored for causes of death from 2001 to 2013. Water availability was measured with high-resolution precipitation and temperature data (i.e., the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index). We used a fixed effects approach that modeled changes in water availability within districts (n = 569) over time (n = 13 years) to estimate the impact on suicide deaths. We restricted our analysis to rural areas and to deaths occurring during the growing season (June–March) among adults aged 15 or older, and controlled for sex, age, region, and year. We used Poisson regression with standard errors clustered at the district level and total deaths as the offset.

Results: There were 9456 suicides and 249,786 total deaths in our study population between 2001 and 2013. Compared to normal growing seasons, the percent of deaths due to suicide increased by 18.7% during extremely wet growing seasons (95% CI: 6.2, 31.2) and by 3.6% during extremely dry growing seasons (95% CI: −17.9, 25.0). We found that effects varied by age.

Conclusions: We found extremes is water availability associated with an increase in suicide. Abnormally wet growing conditions may play an important, yet overlooked, role in suicide among rural Indian adults.

Batomen B, Moore L, Strumpf E, Champion H, Nandi A

Impact of trauma centre accreditation on mortality and complications in a Canadian trauma system: an interrupted time series analysis

BMJ Quality & Safety Published Online First: 30 October 2020.
doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2020-011271


Background - Periodic external accreditation visits aiming to determine whether trauma centres are fulfilling the criteria for optimal care are part of most trauma systems. However, despite the growing trend towards accreditation of trauma centres, its impact on patient outcomes remains unclear. In addition, a recent systematic review found inconsistent results on the association between accreditation and patient outcomes, mostly due to the lack of robust controls. We aim to address these gaps by assessing the impact of trauma centre accreditation on patient outcomes, specifically in-hospital mortality and complications, using an interrupted time series (ITS) design.

Methods - We included all major trauma admissions to five level I and four level II trauma centres in Quebec, Canada between 2008 and 2017. In order to perform ITS, we first obtained monthly and quarterly estimates of the proportions of in-hospital mortality and complications, respectively, for level I and level II centres. Prognostic scores were used to standardise these proportions to account for changes in patient case mix and segmented regressions with autocorrelated errors were used to estimate changes in levels and trends in both outcomes following accreditation.

Results - There were 51 035 admissions, including 20 165 for major trauma during the study period. After accounting for changes in patient case mix and secular trend in studied outcomes, we globally did not observe an association between accreditation and patient outcomes. However, associations were heterogeneous across centres. For example, in a level II centre with worsening preaccreditation outcomes, accreditation led to −9.08 (95% CI −13.29 to −4.87) and −9.60 (95% CI −15.77 to −3.43) percentage point reductions in mortality and complications, respectively.

Conclusion - Accreditation seemed to be beneficial for centres that were experiencing a decrease in performance preceding accreditation.

October 30th, 2020

IHSP Learning from COVID: Perspectives on Health and Social Policy - COVID and Beyond

Blog October 30th Promo ImageAn ethical analysis of COVID-19 impacts from a global child lens: It’s time to prioritize children’s rights!

Sydney Campbell, Carlo Cicero Oneto, Manav Preet Singh Saini, Nona Attaran, Nora Makasani, Raissa Passos Dos Santos, Shilni Pukuma, Franco A Carnevale

The analysis presented in this blog post relies on a global child lens to assess the ways in which young people in several resource-limited nations have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors draw from children’s rights and justice-based literatures to construct an ethical analysis of these impacts and to provide evidence-informed recommendations for ways forward.

Procedural Justice and Relational Theory Empirical, Philosophical, and Legal Perspectives

Natalie Stoljar contributed to the book:

Procedural Justice and Relational Theory
Empirical, Philosophical, and Legal Perspectives

Edited by Denise Meyerson, Catriona Mackenzie, Therese MacDermott
Published October 29th, 2020
Copyright Year 2021 (Routledge - Taylor & Francis Group)
ISBN 9780367321727

Part IV Implications and applications: legal institutions and the exercise of legal authority.

10. Racial profiling as pejorative discrimination
Natalie Stoljar

Arijit Nandi co-authored an article in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care

Batomen B, Moore L, Strumpf E, et al.

Trauma system accreditation and patient outcomes in British Columbia: An interrupted time series analysis

International Journal for Quality in Health Care, mzaa133
Published October 26, 2020

Weinstock, D.M.

Disagreement, Unenforceability, and Harm Reduction.

Health Care Anal. 2020 Oct 24.


Talk of harm reduction has expanded horizontally, to apply to an ever-widening range of policy domains, and vertically, becoming part of official legal and political discourse. This expansion calls for philosophical theorization. What is the best way in which to characterize harm reduction? Does it represent a distinctive ethical position? How is it best morally justified, and what are its moral limits? I distinguish two varieties of harm reduction. One of them, technocratic harm reduction, is premised on the fact of non-enforceability of prohibitionist policies. The second, deliberative harm reduction, is premised on the fact of reasonable disagreement, grounded in the fact that reasonable persons disagree about a range of controversial behaviours. I argue that deliberative harm reduction better accounts for some of harm reduction’s most attractive features, and provides a plausible way of accounting for harm reductions’s justificatory grounds and limits.

Stoljar, N.

Disgust or Dignity? The Moral Basis of Harm Reduction.

Health Care Anal. 2020 Oct 24.


Harm reduction has been advocated to address a diverse range of public health concerns. The moral justification of harm reduction is usually presumed to be consequentialist because the goal of harm reduction is to reduce the harmful health consequences of risky behaviors, such as substance use. Harm reduction is contrasted with an abstinence model whose goal is to eradicate or reduce the prevalence of such behaviors. The abstinence model is often thought to be justified by ‘deontological’ considerations: it is claimed that many risky behaviors are morally unacceptable, and therefore that we have a moral obligation to recommend abstinence. Because harm reduction is associated with a consequentialist justification and the abstinence model is associated with a deontological justification, the potential for a deontological justification of harm reduction has been overlooked. This paper addresses this gap. It argues that the moral duty to protect autonomy and dignity that has been advocated in other areas of medical ethics also justifies the public health policy of harm reduction. It offers two examples—the provision of supervised injection sites and the Housing First policy to address homelessness—to illustrate the argument.

Shoari N, Ezzati M, Baumgartner J, Malacarne D, Fecht D (2020, Oct 23)

Accessibility and allocation of public parks and gardens in England and Wales: A COVID-19 social distancing perspective.

PLoS ONE 15(10): e0241102.


Visiting parks and gardens supports physical and mental health. We quantified access to public parks and gardens in urban areas of England and Wales, and the potential for park crowdedness during periods of high use. We combined data from the Office for National Statistics and Ordnance Survey to quantify (i) the number of parks within 500 and 1,000 metres of urban postcodes (i.e., availability), (ii) the distance of postcodes to the nearest park (i.e., accessibility), and (iii) per-capita space in each park for people living within 1,000m. We examined variability by city and share of flats. Around 25.4 million people (~87%) can access public parks or gardens within a ten-minute walk, while 3.8 million residents (~13%) live farther away; of these 21% are children and 13% are elderly. Areas with a higher share of flats on average are closer to a park but people living in these areas visit parks that are potentially overcrowded during periods of high use. Such disparity in urban areas of England and Wales becomes particularly evident during COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown when local parks, the only available out-of-home space option, hinder social distancing requirements. Cities aiming to facilitate social distancing while keeping public green spaces safe might require implementing measures such as dedicated park times for different age groups or entry allocation systems that, combined with smartphone apps or drones, can monitor and manage the total number of people using the park.

Rosenthal J, Arku RE, Baumgartner J, et al. October 9, 2020

Systems Science Approaches for Global Environmental Health Research: Enhancing Intervention Design and Implementation for Household Air Pollution (HAP) and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Programs

Environmental Health Perspectives 128:10 CID: 105001


Background: Two of the most important causes of global disease fall in the realm of environmental health: household air pollution (HAP) and poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions. Interventions, such as clean cookstoves, household water treatment, and improved sanitation facilities, have great potential to yield reductions in disease burden. However, in recent trials and implementation efforts, interventions to improve HAP and WASH conditions have shown few of the desired health gains, raising fundamental questions about current approaches.

Objectives: We describe how the failure to consider the complex systems that characterize diverse real-world conditions may doom promising new approaches prematurely. We provide examples of the application of systems approaches, including system dynamics, network analysis, and agent-based modeling, to the global environmental health priorities of HAP and WASH research and programs. Finally, we offer suggestions on how to approach systems science.

Methods: Systems science applied to environmental health can address major challenges by a) enhancing understanding of existing system structures and behaviors that accelerate or impede aims; b) developing understanding and agreement on a problem among stakeholders; and c) guiding intervention and policy formulation. When employed in participatory processes that engage study populations, policy makers, and implementers, systems science helps ensure that research is responsive to local priorities and reflect real-world conditions. Systems approaches also help interpret unexpected outcomes by revealing emergent properties of the system due to interactions among variables, yielding complex behaviors and sometimes counterintuitive results.

Discussion: Systems science offers powerful and underused tools to accelerate our ability to identify barriers and facilitators to success in environmental health interventions. This approach is especially useful in the context of implementation research because it explicitly accounts for the interaction of processes occurring at multiple scales, across social and environmental dimensions, with a particular emphasis on linkages and feedback among these processes.

Jill Baumgartner co-authored an article in Scientific Reports on October 7, 2020

Biel, R., Danieli, C., Shekarrizfard, M. et al.

Acute cardiovascular health effects in a panel study of personal exposure to traffic-related air pollutants and noise in Toronto, Canada

Sci Rep 10, 16703 (2020).


Urban populations are often simultaneously exposed to air pollution and environmental noise, which are independently associated with cardiovascular disease. Few studies have examined acute physiologic responses to both air and noise pollution using personal exposure measures. We conducted a repeated measures panel study of air pollution and noise in 46 non-smoking adults in Toronto, Canada. Data were analyzed using linear mixed-effects models and weighted cumulative exposure modeling of recent exposure. We examined acute changes in cardiovascular health effects of personal (ultrafine particles, black carbon) and regional (PM2.5, NO2, O3, Ox) measurements of air pollution and the role of personal noise exposure as a confounder of these associations. We observed adverse changes in subclinical cardiovascular outcomes in response to both air pollution and noise, including changes in endothelial function and heart rate variability (HRV). Our findings show that personal noise exposures can confound associations for air pollutants, particularly with HRV, and that impacts of air pollution and noise on HRV occur soon after exposure. Thus, both noise and air pollution have a measurable impact on cardiovascular physiology. Noise should be considered alongside air pollution in future studies to elucidate the combined impacts of these exposures in urban environments.

Interpreting Modernity Book coverInterpreting Modernity:
Essays on the Work of Charles Taylor

Edited by Daniel M. Weinstock, Jacob T. Levy and Jocelyn Maclure
Published by McGill University Press
ISBN 9780228001447
October 2020


There are few philosophical questions to which Charles Taylor has not devoted his attention. His work has made powerful contributions to our understanding of action, language, and mind. He has had a lasting impact on our understanding of the way in which the social sciences should be practised, taking an interpretive stance in opposition to dominant positivist methodologies. Taylor's powerful critiques of atomist versions of liberalism have redefined the agenda of political philosophers. He has produced prodigious intellectual histories aiming to excavate the origins of the way in which we have construed the modern self, and of the complex intellectual and spiritual trajectories that have culminated in modern secularism. Despite the apparent diversity of Taylor's work, it is driven by a unified vision. Throughout his writings, Taylor opposes reductive conceptions of the human and of human societies that empiricist and positivist thinkers from David Hume to B.F. Skinner believed would lend rigour to the human sciences. In their place, Taylor has articulated a vision of humans as interpretive beings who can be understood neither individually nor collectively without reference to the fundamental goods and values through which they make sense of their lives. The contributors to this volume, all distinguished philosophers and social theorists in their own right, offer critical assessments of Taylor's writings. Taken together, they provide the reader with an unrivalled perspective on the full extent of Charles Taylor's contribution to modern philosophy.

Frank J. Elgar, Anna Stefaniak, Michael J.A. Wohl

The trouble with trust: Time-series analysis of social capital, income inequality, and COVID-19 deaths in 84 countries

Social Science & Medicine, Volume 263, Oct 2020, 113365, ISSN 0277-9536,
McGill Dept. of Psychiatry News

Can social contextual factors explain international differences in the spread of COVID-19? It is widely assumed that social cohesion, public confidence in government sources of health information and general concern for the welfare of others support health advisories during a pandemic and save lives. We tested this assumption through a time-series analysis of cross-national differences in COVID-19 mortality during an early phase of the pandemic. Country data on income inequality and four dimensions of social capital (trust, group affiliations, civic responsibility and confidence in public institutions) were linked to data on COVID-19 deaths in 84 countries. Associations with deaths were examined using Poisson regression with population-averaged estimators. During a 30-day period after recording their tenth death, mortality was positively related to income inequality, trust and group affiliations and negatively related to social capital from civic engagement and confidence in state institutions. These associations held in bivariate and mutually controlled regression models with controls for population size, age and wealth. The results indicate that societies that are more economically unequal and lack capacity in some dimensions of social capital experienced more COVID-19 deaths. Social trust and belonging to groups were associated with more deaths, possibly due to behavioural contagion and incongruence with physical distancing policy. Some countries require a more robust public health response to contain the spread and impact of COVID-19 due to economic and social divisions within them.

Arijit Nandi and Erin Bresnahan were interviewed by Gonzalo Moreno of the Montreal Gazette in the article:

Opinion: Paid sick leave is a powerful public health tool

As a result of Canada’s patchwork system, fewer than half of Canadian workers currently have access to paid sick days. That should change.

Published on September 25th, 2020.

Mylène Riva co-authored an article in the Canadian Journal of Public Health:

Schiff, R., Buccieri, K., Schiff, J.W. et al.

COVID-19 and pandemic planning in the context of rural and remote homelessness

Can J Public Health. 2020 Sep 24;1-4.

Johri M, Chandra D, Kone KG, Sylvestre MP, Mathur AK, Harper S, Nandi A

Social and Behavior Change Communication Interventions Delivered Face-to-Face and by a Mobile Phone to Strengthen Vaccination Uptake and Improve Child Health in Rural India: Randomized Pilot Study

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2020;8(9):e20356
DOI: 10.2196/20356 PMID: 32955455 PMCID: 7546625
Published September 21, 2020

Arijit Nandi co-authored an article in the Journal of Social Policy:

Jahagirdar D, Dimitris M, Strumpf E, et al.

Balancing Work and Care: the Effect of Paid Adult Medical Leave Policies on Employment in Europe.

Journal of Social Policy, 2020, pp. 1–17.
Published September 20, 2020

Ma, R.; Fu, Y.; Deng, M.; Ding, X.; Baumgartner, J.; Shan, M.; Yang, X.

Measurement of Personal Experienced Temperature Variations in Rural Households Using Wearable Monitors: A Pilot Study

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6761;
Published September 16, 2020

McGill researchers honoured by the Royal Society of CanadaCongratulations to the IHSP's faculty member, David Wright, who is one of ten McGill researchers honoured by the Royal Society of Canada. Read More!

Congratulations to Gilla Shapiro, a former IHSP GAP intern, who has been awarded the Alice Wilson Award (CIHR)! Read more HERE!

ISQOLS Webinar Flyer for Chris Barrington-Leigh's talkIf you missed Wellbeing, sustainability, and progress: what's needed to help governments be accountable to human experience with Chris Barrington-Leigh, you can view it HERE!

Bilsback, K.R., Baumgartner, J., Cheeseman, M., Ford, B., Kodros, J.K., Li, X., Ramnarine, E., Tao, S., Zhang, Y., Carter, E. and Pierce, J.R.

Estimated Aerosol Health and Radiative Effects of the Residential Coal Ban in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region of China

Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 2020; 20 (11): 2332–2346.
Published September 4, 2020

Maduro, A., Elgar, F., Demchenko, I. et al.

Methodological restrictions within a birth cohort study examining maternal mood symptoms and postpartum depression

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2020; 55(11), 1547–1548.
Epub September 1, 2020

Daniel Weinstock

A Harm Reduction Approach to the Ethical Management of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Public Health Ethics, phaa026,
Published: 30 August 2020

Jill Baumgartner co-authored an article in BMJ Open

Clark SN, Alli AS, Brauer M, et al.

High-resolution spatiotemporal measurement of air and environmental noise pollution in Sub-Saharan African cities: Pathways to Equitable Health Cities Study protocol for Accra, Ghana

BMJ Open. 2020;10(8):e035798.
Published 2020 Aug 20.

Nandi A, Agarwal P, Chandrashekar A, Harper S

Access to affordable daycare and women’s economic opportunities: evidence from a cluster-randomised intervention in India

Journal of Development Effectiveness. 2020; 12(9):1-21
DOI: 10.1080/19439342.2020.1773898
Published August 13, 2020

Language Ethics book coverLanguage Ethics

Edited by Yael Peled and Daniel M. Weinstock
Published by McGill University Press
ISBN 9780228001591
August 2020


Nazif-Munoz JI, Puello A, Williams A, Nandi A.

Can a new emergency response system reduce traffic fatalities? The case of the 911-emergency response system in the Dominican Republic

Accident; Analysis and Prevention. 2020 Aug;143:105513.
DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2020.105513

Smith‐Greenaway, E., Koski, A. and Clark, S.

Women's Marital Experiences Following Premarital Fertility in Sub‐Saharan Africa

J. Marriage Fam. First Published 27 July 2020

Ravitsky V, Weinstock D.

Are Immunity Licenses Just?

Am J Bioeth. 2020 Jul;20(7):172-174.
doi: 10.1080/15265161.2020.1779408. PMID: 32716785.
Published online July 27th, 2020

Jill Baumgartner co-authored an article in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology

Loo, R.L., Lu, Q., Carter, E.M. et al.

A feasibility study of metabolic phenotyping of dried blood spot specimens in rural Chinese women exposed to household air pollution

J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol (2020).
Published July 24, 2020

Christopher Barrington-Leigh co-authored an article in People and Nature (July 23, 2020)

Chan K.M.A. et al.

Levers and leverage points for pathways to sustainability

People and Nature. 2020;2:693-717

Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry contributed to the book

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and DisabilityThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability

Edited by Adam Cureton and David T. Wasserman
Published by Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190622879

Part One -  Concepts, Models, and Perspectives of Disability
Chapter One - Theoretical Strategies to Define Disability

IHSP Blog Launch Announcement and ScheduleOn July 13th, 2020 the IHSP will launch its new blog entitled, Learning from COVID: Perspectives on health & social policy - COVID and beyond. It is a space for weekly commentaries on health, social, ethical, legal and environmental policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Our first post is CHSLDs in Court: Thoughts on Government’s and Managers’ Liability by Lara Khoury, Associate Professor and Co-Convenor of the McGill Research Group on Health and Law, Faculty of Law, and Associate Member of the IHSP and BMEU (McGill).

Blogs will be posted weekly on Mondays at

Please click the following link to view the full-sized Launch Announcement or to see the Blog Summer Schedule.

Life satisfaction and sustainability: a policy framework

by Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh

Jan 2020; Revised July 2020

Kristin Voigt

Relational Egalitarianism

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics
Published online June 30th, 2020

June 16, 2020 - article by Christopher Maskell, Communications Officer, Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives

Young brains on cannabis: Making science accessible

New website offers a layperson's guide to neuroscience studies on cannabis and the developing brain.

Read the McGill Reporter article HERE!

Richardson, R., Nandi, A., Jaswal, S. et al.

The effect of intimate partner violence on women’s mental distress: a prospective cohort study of 3010 rural Indian women

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 55, 71–79 (2020).
Published June 8th, 2020

Hansen CB, Larsen CVL, Bjerregaard P, Riva M.

The effect of household crowding and composition on health in an Inuit cohort in Greenland

Scand J Public Health. 2020 Jun 7;1403494820929496.
doi: 10.1177/1403494820929496.

Frank Elgar co-authored an article in the Journal of Adolescent Health

Dierckens M, Weinberg D, Huang Y, et al.

National-Level Wealth Inequality and Socioeconomic Inequality in Adolescent Mental Well-Being: A Time Series Analysis of 17 Countries

Journal of Adolescent Health. 66(6). S21-S28. June 01, 2020


Frank Elgar co-authored an article in the Journal of Adolescent Health

Gariepy G, Dannna S, Gobina I, et al.

How Are Adolescents Sleeping? Adolescent Sleep Patterns and Sociodemographic Differences in 24 European and North American Countries

Journal of Adolescent Health. 66(6). S81-S88. June 01, 2020

Frank Elgar co-authored an article in the Journal of Adolescent Health

Craig W, Boniel-Nissim M, King N, et al.

Social Media Use and Cyber-Bullying: A Cross-National Analysis of Young People in 42 Countries

Journal of Adolescent Health. 66(6). S100-S2108. June 01, 2020

Baron M, Fletcher C, Riva M

Aging, Health and Place from the Perspective of Elders in an Inuit Community

J Cross Cult Gerontol. 2020 Jun;35(2):133-153.
doi: 10.1007/s10823-020-09398-5.

Arsenault C, Harper S, Nandi A

Effect of vaccination on children’s learning achievements: findings from the India Human Development Survey

J Epidemiol Community Health 2020 (June);74:778-784.

McGill University's Law School and the McGill University Faculty of Arts are delighted to announce that Professor Daniel Weinstock has been appointed to the Katharine A. Pearson Chair in civil society and public policy, effective June 1, 2020.

Announcement text on a clickable imageJune 1, 2020 - Funded by the Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives initiative, a team of researchers based at the Departments of Psychiatry and Philosophy, Institute for Health & Social Policy and the Montreal Neurological Institute have launched Led by Dr. Suparna Choudhury, the Cannabis & Adolescent Brain Development (CABD) website will post summaries of the latest published research on cannabis and the adolescent brain to help policy-makers, journalists, educators and parents engage directly with neuroscience. The website aims to increase neuroscience literacy and translation of neuroscience to policy by presenting critical, accessible research digests which pay attention to methodologies, context, analyses and interpretations.
Please click the link to view the full-sized Launch Announcement!

The work of Christopher-Barrington Leigh was discussed in an article in Wired:

Want to Fix Urban Sprawl? Ditch the Cul-de-Sac

Streets arranged in grids, with few dead-ends, encourage walking and transit. But in developing countries, growing cities are taking the opposite route.

by Flavie Halais on May 31st, 2020.

Lara Khoury Alana Klein M-E Couture  May 21, 2020 Webinar on Power, people and the pandemic: the legal sides of COVID-19 with speakers: Lara Khoury, Associate Member of the Institute for Health and Social Policy, Associate Professor at the McGill Faculty of Law and the co-convener of the McGill Research Group on Health and Law; Alana Klein, Associate Member of the Institute for Health and Social Policy, Associate Professor at the McGill Faculty of Law and co-convener of the McGill Research Group on Health and Law; and Marie-Eve Couture Ménard, Associate Professor at Faculty of Law of Université de Sherbrooke and affiliated with the Centre de recherche sur la régulation et le droit de la gouvernance (CrRDG).

Arijit Nandi co-authored an article in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health:

Nazif-Muñoz JI, Batomen B, Oulhote Y, et al

State or market? How to effectively decrease alcohol-related crash fatalities and injuries

J Epidemiol Community Health. 2020; 74(6):502-509.
Published online on May 10, 2020

Riva M, Perreault K, Dufresne P, et al.

Social housing construction and improvements in housing outcomes for Inuit in Northern Canada

Housing Studies. 2020 May 4.
DOI: 10.1080/02673037.2020.1739233

Christopher Barrington-LeighMay 4, 2020 Blog post in Psychology Today on Happiness and the CoVid Pandemic by economist Chris Barrington-Leigh, Associate Professor jointly appointed by McGill's Institute for Health and Social Policy and the School of Environment.

Daniel WeinstockProfessor Daniel Weinstock was interviewed by Neale McDevitt of the McGill Reporter on April 28th, 2020 about ethics, social distancing and reopening elementary schools. Read the interview.

April 20, 2020 Webinar on High Compliance Policies and their Pitfalls by Daniel Weinstock, IHSP Director and Professor in the McGill Faculty of Law:

April 19, 2020 Philodio interview with Daniel Weinstock, IHSP Director and Professor in the McGill Faculty of Law

Chai Y, Nandi A, Heymann J

Association of increased duration of legislated paid maternity leave with childhood diarrhoea prevalence in low-income and middle-income countries: difference-in-differences analysis

J Epidemiol Community Health 2020;74:437-444.
Published April 15, 2020

Hendriks, A., Bartels, M., Stevens, G., Walsh, S., Torsheim, T., Elgar, F., & Finkenauer, C.

National Child and Adolescent Health Policies as Indicators of Adolescent Mental Health: A Multilevel Analysis of 30 European Countries

The Journal of Early Adolescence, 40 (April 2020), 537 - 565.
DOI:10.1177/0272431619858413 Corpus ID: 198704825

The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was discussed in an article in Axios:

Why city planners are killing the cul-de-sac

by Kim Hart on March 4th, 2020.

Zaman M, Koski A

Child marriage in Canada: A systematic review

PLoS One. 2020; 15(3): e0229676.
Published online 2020 Mar 3.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229676

Roman L. G., del Pieve Govvi R., Beaudry JS, Blackbridge P.

Rippling excesses: A/r/tography becoming dis/a/r/tography

International Journal of Education Through Art, Volume 16, Number 1, 1 March 2020, pp. 63-82(20)

Jill Baumgartner co-authored an article in Indoor Air

Lai, AM, Clark, S, Carter, E, et al.

Impacts of stove/fuel use and outdoor air pollution on chemical composition of household particulate matter

Indoor Air. 2020; 30: 294– 305.
Published online February 26, 2020

The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was discussed in an article in Master Geonum:

L’étalement urbain, en OSMose avec l’anthropocène

by Pierre Niogret on February 26, 2020.

The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was discussed in an article in IndiaSpend:

India’s Disconnected Urban Roads Lead To Longer Commutes, Higher Emissions

by Jameela Ahmed on February 25th, 2020.

Baumgartner, J., Brauer, M. & Ezzati, M.

The role of cities in reducing the cardiovascular impacts of environmental pollution in low- and middle-income countries

BMC Med 18, 39 (2020).
Published February 24, 2020

A postdoctoral fellow of D. Weinstock's, Mary Bartram published the following article:

Bartram, M.

'It’s Really About Wellbeing’: a Canadian Investigation of Harm Reduction as a Bridge Between Mental Health and Addiction Recovery

Int J Ment Health Addiction (2020).
Published February 20, 2020

The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was discussed in the following article in Scientific American:

Reducing Street Sprawl Could Help Combat Climate Change

Building more disconnected thoroughfares might lock cities into a dependence on greenhouse-gas emitting cars

by Jen Monnier on February 12, 2020

The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was discussed in the following article in Archinect:

Urban street-network sprawl is trending globally, new study finds

by Alexander Walter on February 11, 2020.

The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was discussed in the following article in City Lab:

Across the Globe, Urban Sprawl Is Spreading

Satellite images dating back to 1975 allow researchers to map how millions of cul-de-sacs and dead-ends have proliferated in street networks worldwide.

by Laura Bliss on February 5, 2020.

The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was discussed in the following article in Mercury News:

Urban sprawl is on the rise, but not in the Bay Area

A global study of urban sprawl shows mixed results in the Bay

by Jerimiah Oetting on February 3rd, 2020.

Elgar FJ, Gariepy G.

42. Early-Life Income Inequality and Adolescent Mental Health and Bullying

Journal of Adolescent Health. Research Poster Symposia: Food & Housing Insecurity. 66(2). S23
February 01, 2020
PDF icon sahm_poster_2020.pdf

MacNeil, Allison & Dirks, Melanie & Elgar, Frank.

45. Food Insecurity and Adolescent Mental Health in 156 Countries

 Journal of Adolescent Health. 66(2). S24-S25.
February 01, 2020

Riva M, Fletcher C, Dufresne P, et al.

Relocating to a new or pre-existing social housing unit: significant health improvements for Inuit adults in Nunavik and Nunavut

Can J Public Health. 2020 Feb;111(1):21-30.

Karine Perreault & Mylène Riva & Philippe Dufresne & Christopher Fletcher

Overcrowding and sense of home in the Canadian Arctic

Housing Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals. 2020; 35(2): 353-375, February.
DOI: 10.1080/02673037.2019.1602720

Barrington-Leigh C., Millard-Ball A.

Global trends toward urban street-network sprawl

PNAS. 2020; 117(4):1941-1950
Published January 28th, 2020

The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was mentioned in an article in Radio-Canada:

De moins en moins de routes connectées sur la planète

Une tendance qui décourage l'utilisation des transports en commun.

by Alain Labelle on January 27, 2020.

Cooper JE, Benmarhnia T, Koski A, King NB.

Cash transfer programs have differential effects on health: A review of the literature from low and middle-income countries.

Soc Sci Med. 2020 Jan 25;247:112806.
doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112806.
Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32086171.

The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was discussed on CBCListenLet's Go with Sabrina Marandola on January 22, 2020.

The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh was discussed in the following article in La Presse:

L’avenir inquiétant de l’étalement urbain

L’étalement urbain nuit au transport en commun à très long terme, selon une nouvelle étude montréalaise. Les villes qui poussent comme des champignons en Inde, en Amérique du Sud et en Afrique ont des rues où introduire des lignes d’autobus sera très difficile.

by Mathieu Perreault on January 17th, 2020.

Jill Baumgartner co-authored an article in Energy and Buildings

Ma, Rongjiang et al.

Diverse heating demands of a household based on occupant control behavior of individual heating equipment

Energy and Buildings 207 (2020): 109612. January 15, 2020

Maurice A, Lavoie M, Hamel D, and Riva M

Adoption of municipal bylaw legislating mandatory helmet use for cyclists under the age of 18: impact on cycling and helmet use

Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can. 2020 Jan;40(1):11-17.
doi: 10.24095/hpcdp.40.1.02.

Jill Baumgartner co-authored an article in Nature Sustainability

Carter, E., Yan, L., Fu, Y. et al.

Household transitions to clean energy in a multiprovincial cohort study in China

Nat Sustain 3, 42–50 (2020).

King NB, Koski A

Defining global health as public health somewhere else

BMJ Global Health 2020;5:e002172.

News and Publications from 2019

What we were up to in 2019

Greg Marchildon interviews David Wright of McGill University on his book SickKids: The History of The Hospital for Sick Children (University of Toronto Press) which won the Champlain Society’s Chalmers Award in 2016. This podcast was produced by Hugh Bakhurst in the Allan Slaight Radio Institute at Ryerson University.

The 2019 Dr. Patricia Canning Memorial Lecture will be delivered on October 24th by Dr. Frank Elgar, Institute for Health and Social Policy and Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Canada Research Chair in Social Inequality in Child Health. He will be speaking on Health Inequality in Children and Youth and the Wealth of Nations. More details:

September 24th, Mylene Riva, Institute for Health and Social Policy, Department of Geography, and Canada Research Chair in Housing, Community and Health at McGill University presented a project on “Improving community well-being through housing” to the Band Council of the Cree Nation of Eastmain. Dr. Riva is the academic lead on this initiative that is led by the Cree Nation of Eastmain and funded by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

SEPTEMBER 19th: IHSP Faculty member Alissa Koski presents new research on child marriage in Canada to the federal Interdepartmental Working Group on Harmful Practices. For more information on Alissa’s work please visit her research page at

Anthony Bossis standing next to event posterAnthony Bossis, PhD, NYU School of Medicine
Psychedelic Research: Implications for Palliative Care and End-of-Life Existential Distress
September 12, 2019 from 18:00-19:00
McIntyre Medical Building
Palmer Auditorium, 6th floor
3655 Promedade Sir William Osler

Hosted by the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy. Co-hosted by Palliative Care McGill, the Divison of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, and the Culture, Mind and Brain program.

To view full sized poster, please click HERE!


Christopher Barrington-LeighIncreasing numbers of governments worldwide are recognizing the importance of happiness and well-being as top policy priorities. Life satisfaction can now be measured and evidence is providing clear direction to policymakers in where to focus new and effective public policies for raising societal well-being. Using data on happiness from around the world over the last 13 years, new research by Chris Barrington-Leigh, faculty member at the IHSP and the McGill School of the Environment, with Eric Galbraith from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: “What is the feasible range of changes in life satisfaction by 2050?” and “What kind of policies might be responsible for those changes?”. Results clearly show that "policies in the future can only make a modest difference in our happiness if they are focused on increasing material outcomes. By contrast, policies that affect our social engagement, belonging, and community have the potential to radically determine our future quality of life". For more information, please visit Prof. Barrington-Leigh's website: and this video summarizing his research

GLOBE AND MAIL - June 19th, 2019

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY - June 17, 2019


Alissa KoskiAlissa Koski, faculty member at the IHSP and the McGill Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, is conducting new research on child marriage across Canada. Preliminary results show that "child marriage is legal and on-going in Canada", with Ontario sanctioning the most child marriages with 1,353 since 2000, then Alberta with 791, Quebec with 590 and British Columbia with 429. The vast majority are girls; and compared to boys, girls marry at younger ages and to substantially older spouses. Professor Koski adds that her results likely “underestimate the true extent of the practice", and that “child marriage is associated with poor health and economic outcomes, particularly for girls”. For more information, please visit Prof. Koski's website:



Radio Interview on John Gormley Live (Saskatoon/Regina) -  June 18
Listen to the interview here  Audio icon koski_gormley_interview18june2019.mp3

Article in Le Devoir by Magdaline Boutros - 10 septembre 2019

Book cover for High TimeMontreal launch of the much awaited volume, High Time: The Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada, edited by Daniel Weinstock and Andrew Potter. Event is free of charge and open to the general public on April 11, 2019 at 17:00-18:30 at Librarie Paragraphe Bookstore. For more details please click here.

Dr. Chris Barrington-Leigh's research on Understanding Human Well-Being was discussed in an article on McGill Newsroom - Media Relations Office on February 4, 2019. Visit the link below for more details.
Global well-being in coming decades hinges on non-material factors

Dr. Chris Barrington-Leigh's research on Understanding Human Well-Being was discussed on February 4, 2019 on CBC Listen Radio Noon Montreal with Shawn Apel - Would you be happier living in the city or a small town?

Christopher Barrington-Leigh, "Feasible future global scenarios for human life evaluations'' (With Eric Galbraith), Nature Communications, Volume 10, Number: 161, doi:10.1038/s41467-018-08002-2, January 2019.
What does recent research into the human happiness tell us about life in the future? We use trends that account for differences in happiness across countries and over time to project what life could be like in 2050, in good and bad scenarios. Our findings highlight the critical role of non-material factors such as social supports, freedoms, and fairness in determining the future of human well-being.
Published PDF / 2-minute video introducing this work

Christopher Barrington-Leigh, "How Happy are Your Neighbours? Variation in Life Satisfaction among 1200 Canadian Neighbourhoods and Communities'' (with John F. Helliwell, Hugh Shiplett) PLoS ONE, 14(1): doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0210091, January 2019.
The first high-resolution map of life satisfaction across Canada
Interactive map

Sentenac, M., Lach, L. M., Gariepy, G., & Elgar, F. J. (2019). Education disparities in youth with neurodisabilities in Canada. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 61, 226-231.

News and Publications from 2018

What we were up to in 2018

Dr. Alissa Koski was interviewed in a recent article:
Child marriage in the USA: persistent but little understood
by Bryant Furlow
Published: November 02, 2018
The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health - Volume 2, Issue 12, December 2018, Pages 849-850.

The US Government advocates an end to child marriage, but in 48 of 50 states, legal exceptions to minimum marriage ages allow those younger than 18 years to be married. The District of Columbia and territories like Puerto Rico also allow child marriage.

The article refers to her research on child marriage in the following: Koski, Heymann J. Child Marriage in the United States: How Common Is the Practice, And Which Children Are at Greatest Risk? Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2018 Jun;50(2):59-65.

Global project to reduce health inequalities in cities around the world - McGill University News and Events, February 6, 2018

Beaudry, J.-S., The Vanishing Body of Disability Law: Power and the Making of the Impaired Subject, Canadian Journal of Family Law, (2018) vol. 31, p. 7-56

Christopher Barrington-Leigh, "Informing policy priorities using inference from life satisfaction responses in a large community survey'' (with Jan Wollenberg), Applied Research in Quality of Life, doi:10.1007/s11482-018-9629-9, April 2018.
Analysis of life satisfaction data in Connecticut from Datahaven's survey.
PDF manuscript, with Supplemental Information

Christopher Barrington-Leigh, "Measuring progress and well-being: A comparative review of indicators'' (with Alice Escande), Social Indicators Research, doi:10.1007/s11205-016-1505-0, Volume 135, Issue 3, pp 893–925, February 2018.
We provide a new database sampling well-being and progress indicators implemented since the 1970s at all geographic scales. We assess in particular the roles of subjective well-being and of sustainability metrics in the evolution of attempts to better measure progress and the broadest social outcomes.
Springer-Nature's free online version / PDF manuscript / Our full database of indicators is available under the Creative Commons license.

Chai Y, Nandi A, Heymann J. Does extending the duration of legislated paid maternity leave improve breastfeeding practices? Evidence from 38 low-income and middle-income countries. BMJ Global Health 2018; 3:e001032.

Nandi A, Jahagirdar D, Dimitris MC, et al. The Impact of Parental and Medical Leave Policies on Socioeconomic and Health Outcomes in OECD Countries: A Systematic Review of the Empirical Literature. The Milbank Quarterly September 2018; doi: 10.1111/1468-0009.12340.

Batomen Kuimi, BL, Oppong-Nkrumah, O, Kaufman, J et al. Child labour and health: a systematic review. International Journal of Public Health January 2018; doi:10.1007/s00038-018-1075-9.

Su, Q., Chen, Z., Li, R., Elgar, F. J., Liu, Z., & Lian, Q. (2018). Association between early menarche and school bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health, 63, 213-218.

Elgar, F. J., Donnelly, P., Gariepy, G., Riehm, K., & Pickett, W. (2018). Bans against corporal punishment and physical fighting in adolescents in 88 countries and regions. BMJ Open, 8, e021616.

Gariépy, G., Sentenac, M. Jannsen, I., & Elgar, F. J. (2018). School start time and the healthy weight of adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 63, 69-73.

Elgar, F. J., Canale, N., Wohl, M., Lenzi, M., & Vieno, A. (2018). Relative deprivation and disordered gambling in youths. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 72, 589-594.

Vieno, A., Altoè, G., Kuntsche, E., & Elgar, F. J. (2018). Do public expenditures on health and families relate to alcohol abstaining in adolescents? Multilevel study of adolescents in 24 countries. Drug and Alcohol Review, 37, S120-S128.

Chzhen, Y., Bruckauf, Z., Toczydlowska, E., Elgar, F. J., Moreno-Maldonado, C., Stevens, G. W. J. M., Sigmundová, D., & Gariépy, G. (2018). Multidimensional deprivation among adolescents in 39 countries: Evidence from the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) 2013/14 study. Child Indicators Research, 11, 729-753.

Lian, Q., Su, Q., Li, R., Elgar, F. J., Liu, Z., & Zheng, D. (2018). The association between chronic bullying victimization with weight status and body self-image: a cross-national study in 39 countries. PeerJ, 6, e4330.

News and Publications from 2017

What we were up to in 2017

Delaying school start times gives students better chance of success: study - The Globe and Mail, January 23, 2017

News and Publications from 2016

What we were up to in 2016

Canada well on its way to a renewable-energy future - The Globe and Mail, December 24, 2016

News and Publications from 2015

What we were up to in 2015

Géographie du bonheur - L'actualité, 31 juillet 2015

Le professeur de l'IPSS Christopher Barrington-Leigh est l'un des économistes cités par le magazine L'actualité pour leurs recherches sur le bonheur et ses causes.

How rule of law can prevent child marriage - The Globe and Mail, July 31st, 2015

MACHEquity PI and IHSP Faculty member Arijit Nandi, MACHEquity Project Manager Gonzalo Moreno and past MACHEquity Doctoral Fellow Belinda Maswikwa have contributed an Op-ed in the Globe and Mail discussing how stopping child marriage can empower women and improve their health and social well-being.

OPINION: Des arguments fumeux - La Presse +, 22 juillet 2015

La Pr. Lara Khoury, membre associée de l'IPSS, examine les arguments soulevés par les fabricants de cigarettes condamnés à verser plus d'un milliard comme premier versement suite aux recours collectifs contre l'industrie du tabac.

'Not everyone can be a Gandhi’: South Asian-trained doctors immigrating to Canada, c. 1961–1971 - Ethnicity & Health, July 20, 2015

In their latest collaboration, IHSP Historian David Wright and Visiting Professor Sasha Mullally examine through directories and interviews the migration of South Asian-trained doctors who were first licensed in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia between 1961 and 1971.

Neighborhood socioeconomic conditions and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis - Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, July 12, 2015

IHSP members Geneviève Gariepy, Nichole Austin and Arijit Nandi have contributed on this systematic review of articles linking socioeconomic conditions to depression in teens and adults.

Health justice after the social determinants of health revolution - Social Theory and Health, July 8th, 2015

IHSP Director Daniel Weinstock signs a article that examines the claim that the distribution of social goods such as income, housing and education, has as great or greater an impact on health outcome than does health care.

Antonia Maioni presents her work in Italy - July 2-4, 2015

Dr. Maioni presented two papers con the Canadian and US healtcare systems at the latest International Conference on Public Policy held in Milan, Italy, in early July 2015:

Economic downturns and suicide mortality in the USA, 1980–2010: observational study - International Journal of Epidemiology, June 16, 2015

Thomas Charters, and Arijit Nandi of the IHSP and associate member Erin C Strumpf have contributed to a novel way to study the possible influence of Economic activity and suicide rates in the United States.

A century of sprawl in the United States - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, June 15, 2015

IHSP Faculty member Christopher Barrington-Leigh used the degree of connections between streets as a measure of urban sprawl over time. With Adam Millard-Ball of UC Santa-Cruz, he discovered that the phenomenon has peaked in the 1990s and new developments have already turned the corner toward less sprawl.

Town hall meeting to tackle topic of meeting seniors' health-care needs - Montreal Gazette, June 9, 2015

In June, Dr. Maioni took part in an public information session on health-care access for senior citizens in the context of an aging population.

Sociology of Development Research Cluster Graduate Student Paper inaugural prize - Canadian Sociological Association, June 9, 2015

Congratulations to IHSP Doctoral Fellow Amm Quamruzzaman for winning 2015 best Graduate Student Paper for the article: “Economic Growth or Good Governance: What is More Important to Reduce Poverty and Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa?”

Paternalism and Equality (Book Chapter) - New Perspectives on Paternalism and Health Care, June 2015

IHSP Faculty Member Dr. Kristin Voigt discusses reasons paternalistic interventions may contribute to better equality in a context where many philosophers do not support such interventions.

Les médecins s'organiseront seuls pour désengorger le système de santé - Ici Radio-Canada Première, May 26, 2015

La Dre Antonia Maioni de l'IPSS a été invitée à commenter la récente entente entre le gouvernement du Québec et les médecins de famille à l'émission "C'est pas trop tôt".

Patterns of Socioeconomic Inequality in Adolescent Health Differ According to the Measure of Socioeconomic Position - Social Indicators Research, May 22, 2015

IHSP's Faculty member Frank Elgar and Postdoctoral Fellow Britt McKinnon have looked at health inequalities in teenagers of seven European countries to see if these inequalities were affected by perceived socioeconomic status.

The View From the Bottom: Relative Deprivation and Bullying Victimization in Canadian Adolescents - Journal of Interpersonal Violence, May 18, 2015

In this study, IHSP Graduate student Anthony Napoletano (supervisor: Frank Elgar) has looked at the possible links between disparity in affluence in teens and bullying risk.

Quebec reforms: necessary or overkill? - Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 11, 2015

IHSP Faculty member Dr. Antonia Maioni is one of the experts asked to comment on the impacts of Bills 10 and 20 on the work of Quebec physicians and access to healthcare in the province.

Money Is Driving a Wedge in Teen Health - Scientific American, April 14, 2015

Dr. Frank Elgar's study on on the impact of socioeconomic inequalities on adolescent health is featured in the latest issue of Scientific American.

Integrating Intermediate Goods to Theories of Distributive Justice: The Importance of Platforms - Res Publica, April 10, 2015

In his latest paper, IHSP Director Daniel Weinstock discusses what lessons should be drawn from the body of work done on the social determinants of health.

First phase of 'la révolution Barrette' takes effect - Montreal Gazette, April 7, 2015

Dr. Maioni is cited in this Gazette article detailing the impacts of Bill 10 on the Quebec Healthcare system.

Chris Barrigton-Leigh discusses the economics of Happiness - (Video in French) RDI Economie, April 2, 2015

Le Dr. Chris Barrington-Leigh, de l'IPSS, est l'un des experts consultés sur les moyens de quantitifier le taux de bonheur d'un pays et sur la position du Québec selon ces critères. (Le reportage commence à 19:00)

IHSP Faculty member Chris Barrington-Leigh is one of the experts weighing in on how happiness in a nation can be measured and where the province of Quebec stands according to these criterias. (Segment begins at 19:00)

Healthcare Policy Reform in North America - The Palgrave International Handbook of Healthcare Policy and Governance, March 2015

Antonia Maioni is the co-author of a chapter that aims to compare and contrast the Canadian and U.S. Healthcare systems and how each country's political structure has influenced the evolution of both.

The Social Determinants of Health: Why Should We Care? - The American Journal of Bioethics, March 2015

Faculty member Kristin Voigt and past Montreal Health Equity Research Consortium fellow Adina Preda co-authored a paper looking at the assumptions influencing policy conclusions and calling for a better understanding of how social factors shape health outcomes.

Montreal Diary: New app helps disabled kids 'Jooay' - Montreal Gazette, March 20, 2015

IHSP Associate Member Keiko Shikako-Thomas co-led the development of a new application for disabled children to find appropriate leisure activities and for their parents to connect with other families of children with disabilities.

Canada’s universities need to connect themselves to their students and the world - The Globe and Mail, March 18, 2015

In her latest op-ed, IHSP Faculty member Antonia Maioni discusses how teaching in Canadian universities must evolve to keep pace with an increasingly complex world.

HSI’s new research initiative on Quebec’s child care policies

The Healthier Societies Initiative (HSI) has recently received funding from CIHR for a two-year project on Quebec’s childcare policies! The research program will be led by Professors Daniel Weinstock (IHSP Director) and Seungmi Yang (Assistant Professor in McGill’s Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health) and will assess the impacts on health and health equity of two of Quebec’s distinctive childcare policies: subsidized childcare, and a more generous parental insurance plan than the federal benefit program. Investigating these unique work-family balance policies in Quebec, we will evaluate not only their overall effects on various maternal and child health outcomes but also their impact on socioeconomic health inequalities. Given the recent policy changes in daycare fees in Quebec, we are pleased to be able to contribute to the body of evidence in this important field to inform further policy-making. Stay tuned for potential student internship opportunities!

MACHEquity contributes to the No Ceilings’ Full Participation Report on Women and Girls’ conditions worldwide.

MACHEquity’s research and data are featured in the Clinton and Gates Foundations’ Full Participation Report to assess evidence on the gains and gaps in progress for women and girls worldwide. Over the past year, MACHEquity researchers have looked at the evolution of paid maternal leave across the globe. See what they have found on page 30 of the report.
In addition to these results, MACHEquity has collaborated with the WORLD Policy Analysis Center on a series of policy briefs on labor policies, minimum wage, child marriage, and breastfeeding breaks at work.

Liberalism and multiculturalism - The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism, March 2015

IHSP Director Daniel Weinstock has contributed a chapter to this review of the differents aspects of what is considered the main Western political ideology. This chapter gives an overview of the relations between multiculturalism and liberalism and attempts to circumscribe liberal multiculturalism.

Rethinking the Revolving Door: Mental Health Courts in Canada and the US - March 11th, 2015; 4:15PM; Maxwell Cohen Moot Court (New Chancellor Day Hall room 100), 3644 Peel Street, Montreal

IHSP is joining the The McGill Journal of Law and Health, Team VISEV, and the McGill Research Group on Health and Law to invite you to this panel discussing the impacts of mental health courts on people with mental illness and the community.

Estimating the Effect of Intimate Partner Violence on Women’s Use of Contraception: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis - PLoS ONE, February 2015

MACHEquity’s Lauren Maxwell has recently reviewed 23 years of data to find the links between intimate partner violence and use of contraceptives methods and notices implications for family planning and HIV prevention programs.

Cookstoves and cardiovascular health: Jill Baumgartner's latest news:

IHSP Faculty Member and Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grantee Jill Baumgartner will be presenting her latest results at the United States Envirnomental Protection Agency-hosted Cookstove Research Meeting on February 25-26 at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. In addition, Dr. Baumgartner has been named among the World Heart Federation new Emerging Leaders for 2014-15. She will be meeting her fellow Leaders in Peru in March 2015.

Canada's Highest Court Approved Assisted Suicide. Now What? – Vermont Public Radio, February 2015 (audio clip)

Following the Canadian Supreme Court ruling on medical assistance to end of life, McGill University IHSP Director Daniel Weinstock spoke to Vermont Public Radio about the context and implications of this key decision | Suite à la décision de la Cour Suprême du Canada sur l’aide médicale à mourir, le directeur de l’Institut des politique sociales et de la santé, Daniel Weinstock, discute du contexte et des implications de ce verdict avec la radio publique du Vermont (entrevue audio en anglais).

Opinion: McGill must divest its endowment fund of fossil fuels – Montreal Gazette, February 2015 | Campagne de «désinvestissement»: McGill doit sortir des énergies fossiles – Le Devoir, February 2015

Professor Christopher Barrington-Leigh is part of a group of McGill Faculty encouraging the University to distance itself from fossil fuels by ending investments of its endowment fund into the sector in Montreal Gazette and Le Devoir (French) Op-eds.

Le Dr. Christopher Barrington-Leigh fait partie d’un groupe de professeurs de l’université McGill qui encouragent l’institution à prendre ses distances par rapport aux combustibles fossiles en mettant fin à ses investissements de son fond de dotation dans ce secteur dans une lettre d’opinion publiée dans le Devoir et la Gazette de Montréal.

L’aide médicale à mourir légalisée par la Cour suprême

(Daniel Weinstock cited in La Presse Canadienne)

7 février 2015

We haven’t forgotten the long-form census

"Comprehensive data collected reliably over time is essential for ensuring sound, democratic policy-making. It allows us as Canadians to tell our own story, to see clearly who we are, and, ultimately, to decide together who we want to become."

Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Feb. 06 2015

Has the time come to push basic income?

Jurgen De Wispelaere and Sid Frankel

Winnipeg Free Press

Posted: 02/6/2015

Video now available: Manitoba Institute for Policy Research of the University of Manitoba hosted an event entitled “Working towards a Basic Income for Manitoba and Canada

Socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent health 2002–2010: a time-series analysis of 34 countries participating in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study

The Lancet, Feb 3, 2015

Dr Frank J Elgar, Timo-Kolja Pförtner, Irene Moor, Bart De Clercq, Gonneke W J M Stevens,Candace Currie

Adolescence is a formative life stage for adult health, but is often neglected in health policy. Health and health behaviours track strongly from early adolescence to adulthood, and inequalities in health are typically established early in life. Socioeconomic status (SES) is a major determinant of these inequalities. To grow up in impoverished and marginalised socioeconomic conditions shortens the lifespan and contributes to poor mental and physical health. Some research has suggested that socioeconomic differences in health emerge in early childhood and then diminish in early adolescence, only to re-emerge in adulthood. However, most of the evidence in this area shows social class gradients in health at every stage of the life course, including adolescence. This study shows that socioeconomic differences in adolescents' mental and physical health increased from 2002 to 2010 in a large sample of high-income countries. Widening socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent health contrast with improvements seen for children in the early years, with reductions in child poverty and inequalities in child health. Research and policy attention is needed to continue monitoring of these trends and to develop and assess policy approaches to promotion of health and health equity in adolescents.

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