• Thursday, November 18th - Friday, November 19th, 2021

    McMaster Public Health Student-Led Conference

  • What is the MPHSLC?

    McMaster Public Health Student-Led Conference (MPHSLC) is an annual conference held by students in the Masters of Public Health graduate program at McMaster University. The conference is an opportunity for students to showcase their research, network with public health professionals, and acquire new skills and knowledge through breakout sessions and presentations.


    The 2021 MPHSLC seeks to explore social protection from a social determinants of health perspective, both in Canada and internationally. We are conceptualizing social protection as it intersects with public health and their shared goals to prevent disparities (e.g. in income and health) and support those who face vulnerabilities.The theme of this year’s conference is public health perspectives on social protection, with a focus on three main areas: 1) child and youth policies; 2) housing; and 3) caring for our ageing population. Indigenous perspectives on social protection will be integrated across the focus areas.


  • Conference Components

    In addition to conference sessions, the 2021 MPHSLC will also include poster presentations and a practicum and thesis symposium to foster student engagement. Please register for the events you plan to attend.

     Photos by Cindy Cui, MPHSLC 2019. 

    Canadian Master's Student Practicum & Thesis Symposium

    November 18th, 6 - 7:30pm EST

    Students in MPH or related program (e.g. Global Health, Health Evaluation, e-Health etc.) who participated in a practicum or are working on a thesis are invited to showcase their projects for public health students, faculty and professionals across Canada. This event provides the opportunity for students to present their work, network, and to learn more about practicum and thesis opportunities taking place across Canada. Please note, you do not need to present to attend this event however you will still need to register.


    Click here to register!




    Deadline for submission:

    Friday, November 12th, 2021

    (Registration due Monday, November 8th, 2021)

    Conference Sessions

    November 19th, 10am - 3pm EST

    MPH students from across Canada, international partners, academics, and public health and allied professionals are invited to attend panel and breakout conference sessions delivered by experts in the field. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Andrew Boozary, MD, and closing remarks by Dr. Peter Singer, Advisor to Director General of the World Health Organization. The conference will foster collaboration, innovation, knowledge sharing, and networking.


    Click here to register!


    Deadline to register:

    Tuesday, November 16th, 2021

    Poster Presentations

    November 19th, 12:20 - 1pm EST

    Students conducting research have the opportunity to present their work in a poster competition. Presentations are not restricted to the conference theme of social protection.


    Click here to register!




    Deadline for submission:

    Friday, November 12th, 2021 (Abstract due Monday, November 8th, 2021)

  • Conference Day Agenda

    Zoom | November 19th, 2021 10:00 AM - 3:05 PM


    10:00 AM to 11:00 AM - Opening Remarks & Keynote Address

    11:05 AM to 12:00 PM - COVID-19 Panel Discussion

    12:00 PM to 12:20 PM - Lunch Break

    12:20 PM to 1:00 PM - Poster Presentations

    1:00 PM to 1:40 PM - Breakout Sessions

    1:45 PM to 2:40 PM - Housing Panel Discussion

    2:45 PM to 3:00 PM - Closing Remarks

    3:00 PM to 3:05 PM - Thank you



  • Keynote Address

    Dr. Andrew Boozary

    Primary care physician and Executive Director, Population Health and Social Medicine at the University Health Network

    Dr. Andrew Boozary holds academic appointments as an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto and as an adjunct faculty member at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Dr. Boozary is the founding editor-in-chief of the Harvard Public Health Review and has published in top academic journals including JAMA, BMJ and Health Affairs. Dr. Boozary completed his medical training at the University of Toronto and health policy training at Princeton University (Master in Public Policy) and Harvard University (Master of Science). He has maintained active research as a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is a Senior Fellow at the Wellesley Institute.


    At UHN, Dr. Boozary is working to develop, evaluate and scale new models of healthcare delivery for patients with complex health and social needs. During this pandemic, Dr. Boozary also serves as co-lead of the Ontario Health Toronto Region COVID-19 Homelessness Response and is a member of the Canadian Medical Association's Post-Pandemic Expert Advisory Group. Prior to joining UHN, Dr. Boozary served in senior advisory roles in the provincial and federal government on public policy issues ranging from primary care reform to the implementation of pharmacare.


  • COVID-19 Panel Discussion

    Dr. Thomas Piggott, MD MSc CCFP FRCPC

    Dr. Thomas Piggott is the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) of Labrador-Grenfell Health (2019-present). He is additionally the executive lead for population health and rural and remote health in the region.

    Dr. Piggott is a public health and preventive medicine specialist, and practicing family physician who completed his Masters in Public Health Economics at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and residency training at McMaster University. He has worked at various levels of public health and has worked clinically in Canada and internationally with a focus on under-served populations.

    Dr. Piggott worked as a field doctor with Médicins Sans Frotières in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2018. He is actively involved in research and teaching public health at McMaster University and Memorial University and is the author of the book Under-Served: Health Determinant of Indigenous, Inner-City, and Migrant Populations in Canada (2018).


    Follow Dr. Piggott on Twitter!


    Dr. Shannon McDonald

    Dr. Shannon McDonald, proudly Metis/Anishinabe with deep roots in the Red River Valley of Manitoba, is the Acting Chief Medical Officer at the First Nations Health Authority. Dr. McDonald is a trained physician, with post-graduate medical training in Community Medicine and Psychiatry, and has worked for over 25 years in the area of First Nations and Aboriginal Health. Dr. McDonald has extensive experience both in the federal and provincial government contexts. As an influential leader, Dr. McDonald was awarded BC’s Physician Champions of Change award by the Doctors of BC for her leadership and advocacy for physician services in BC’s rural and remote First Nations communities.

    Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, MD MSc FCFP FRCPC

    Dr. Delli Pizzi is a Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories (2019 - present). He completed his family medicine residency at the University of Manitoba and practiced as a family physician in Manitoba between 1999 and 2015. During that time he worked 7 years in a multidisciplinary community health centre practice. Dr. Delli Pizzi also provided family physician coverage in rural and northern settings, worked as a hospital in-patient physician, and spent 10 years with the University of Manitoba Department of Continuing Professional Development. In 2018, he completed a Public Health and Preventive Medicine residency at the University of Calgary and M.Sc (Public Health) with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Public health practice in NWT includes communicable disease control, pandemic response, environmental health, health promotion, epidemiology and surveillance, health policy, and health protection.

  • Breakout Session

    Caring for an Aging Canada

    Laura Tamblyn Watts​

    President and CEO of CanAge

    Laura Tamblyn Watts is a highly sought-after expert regarding matters involving older adults in Canada and around the world. She currently teaches at the University of Toronto, where she is also a Fellow of the Institute for Life Course and Aging.


    Laura is an Executive Member of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Elder Law section and a Board member of the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly. She is also a board member of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada’s (IFIC) committee on Seniors and Vulnerable Investors, PACE Independent Living, Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario, and a member of the Investment Industry Regulators Organizations of Canada (IIROC).


  • Breakout Session

    Child and Youth

    Nicholas Simons

    Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and the vice-chair of the Cabinet Committee on Social Initiatives​

    Nicholas Simons was first elected MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast in 2005, and was re-elected in 2009, 2013, 2017, and 2020. He is also a member of the Cabinet Working Group on Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness. Nicholas previously served as Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth.


    Nicholas spent over 15 years working in the areas of health, justice, social services and child welfare. He served as the director of health and social development for the Sechelt Nation from 1997 until his election in 2005.


    In his role as director with the Sechelt Nation, he oversaw public health, child welfare, alcohol and drugs, financial assistance, and justice programs. He negotiated funding for innovative preventative health and social services which led to a dramatic reduction in adversarial child welfare intervention, and improvements in health outcomes in all age groups.


    Prior to his employment with the band, he worked as a child-protection social worker for the Ministry for Children and Families in Sechelt and North Vancouver. He has worked as researcher and consultant for the federal, Northwest Territories, British Columbia and First Nations governments in areas including law reform, child welfare, legal education and crime prevention.


    Nicholas has also taught criminology, in which he has a bachelor's degree from the University of Ottawa and a master's from SFU,and has taught child protection to social workers based in First Nations communities.


    Nicholas has been active in the arts community as a cello teacher, performer, and session musician. He has played with local, national and international artists and ensembles and has two gold records. He is a former president of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council, and the founder and editor of the Lower Langdale Tattler, a limited-circulation satirical newspaper.


    Nicholas has served as the chair of the Social Policy Committee of Caucus amd on the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. Nicholas has also served as the Opposition critic for tourism, sport and the arts; human rights, immigration and multiculturalism; the Ministry for Children and Family Development; and Community Living B.C.

  • Housing Panel Discussion

    Dr. John Ecker

    Dr. John Ecker is a Research Manager at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, and a Senior Researcher at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness at York University. He received his PhD in Experimental Psychology, Social-Community Stream, and has focused his research and evaluation activities on interventions to support people experiencing homelessness. In particular, he has examined Housing First programs in Canada, levels of community integration among people experiencing homelessness, and supports for 2SLGBTQ+ adults experiencing homelessness.

    Dr Michael Fotheringham

    Dr Michael Fotheringham is Managing Director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. Michael is a research and policy development specialist with in-depth experience in areas including housing and homelessness, urban and community services planning. He has led the Institute since 2014, driving the development of a contemporary and policy-relevant evidence base on housing, homelessness and urban issues. Michael currently serves on a variety of key expert advisory panels including the Australian Government’s Cities Reference Group, the Housing Supply Expert Panel, the Australian and New Zealand School of Government Research Council and chairs the Healthy Housing Centre of Research Excellence’s Impact Advisory Council. He regularly provides expert advice to Commonwealth and State Ministers, as well as testimony and guidance to parliamentary and government inquiries, and is sought for evidence-informed advice by senior policy makers in Australia and internationally. Michael is an in-demand facilitator and conference speaker, and an experienced media spokesperson.

    Dr. Jim Dunn

  • Closing Remarks

    Dr. Peter Singer

    Special Advisor to the Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization

    Dr Peter Singer supports the Director General to transform WHO into an Organization sharply focused on impact at the country level. Dr Singer co-chaired the transition team; was the architect of WHO’s strategy and its “triple billion” target; and supports strategy implementation of WHO’s programme budget, results framework, delivery stock-takes, investment case, innovation framework, innovative finance initiatives, brand strategy, and multilateral partnerships through the SDG3 Global Action Plan. During the pandemic, he has been a passionate advocate for vaccine justice.


    Before joining WHO, Dr. Peter Singer co-founded two innovative, results driven, social impact organizations. From 2008-2018 Singer was Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada. During this period Grand Challenges Canada raised CAN $450M to support 1000 innovations in more than 90 countries, which have the potential to save 450,000-1.6 million lives and improve 11-35 million lives by 2030. From 1996-2006 he was Sun Life Financial Chair and Director of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.


    In 2007, Dr. Singer received the Michael Smith Prize as Canada's Health Researcher of the Year in Population Health and Health Services. In 2011, Singer was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to health research and bioethics, and for his dedication to improving the health of people in developing countries. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (where he was Foreign Secretary), the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).


    As a researcher, Dr. Singer published over 300 articles, received over $50 million in research grants, and mentored hundreds of students. He studied internal medicine at the University of Toronto, medical ethics at the University of Chicago, public health at Yale University, and management at Harvard Business School. He served his community as Board Chair of Branksome Hall, an internationally minded school for girls.


  • Past Conferences

    Check out the itineraries and additional details from previous conferences.

    2018 MPHSLC:

    In Our Community: Public Health Engagement

    In hopes of connecting students, academics, and policymakers with the Hamilton community, this conference created space for thought-provoking and enlightening conversations about how public health can work with different community partners to act on the health disparities in Hamilton, and how to integrate community feedback into the planning and delivering of public health initiatives.


    Please click here to see the delegate package for this conference which includes the full agenda, list of poster presenters, speaker biographies, sponsors, and planning team members.

    2019 MPHSLC:

    Facing the Future: What's Next for Public Health?

    Public health practice in the twenty-first century is in a state of significant flux. The aim of “Facing The Future: What’s Next For Public Health?” was to provide students, professionals, academics, community organizations, and policymakers with a space to come together to critically discuss developments in the field of public health as well as emerging public health issues. The following topics were discussed through keynote address, interactive sessions, and break-out sessions: gun violence, social prescribing, environmental health, youth mental health, artificial intelligence, and health-system changes. In addition, a poster presentation session provided public health researchers a platform to disseminate new knowledge.


    Please click here to see the delegate package for this conference which includes the full agenda, speaker biographies, list of poster presenters and their abstracts, sponsors, and planning team members.

    2020 MPHSLC:

    Current Perspectives on Climate Change and Health

    The 2020 conference theme is “Current Perspectives on Climate Change and Health”. Public health is multidimensional and interdisciplinary in nature. Different perspectives are vital to enrich our understanding of public health and learn about the various environments that impact the state of our health systems. Consequently, we will be discussing the complex role of climate in public health, appreciating the various societies affected by the climate, and delving into how different fields play a role in our understanding of climate change within a public health context.


    Please click here to see the delegate package for this conference which includes the full agenda, speaker biographies, list of poster presenters and their abstracts, sponsors, and planning team members.

  • Take a look at our impact report from the first inaugural - 2018 MPHSLC titled "In Our Community: Public Health Engagement."

  • Meet The 2021 Conference Planning Team

    Jacqueline Rintjema (she/her)


    Jacqueline is a second-year student in the MPH program and holds an undergraduate degree in Health Studies from McMaster University. Her master’s thesis is investigating models of integrated primary-care and social-care in Ontario to address the nonmedical determinants of health. As Co-Chair, Jacqueline is excited to bring together public health students and professionals from across Canada to foster knowledge sharing and collaboration during such a pivotal time in the field of public health.

    Genevieve Pinnington (she/her)


    Genevieve is a second-year MPH student at McMaster University and holds an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. She completed her summer practicum with the BC Centre for Disease Control and recently began a second practicum with McMaster’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Genevieve is especially interested in women’s health and bridging communication and access gaps in healthcare. As Co-Chair, she is looking forward to providing opportunities for discussion, knowledge exchange, and networking between students and public health and allied professionals in the McMaster community and across Canada.

    Sarah Lagler-Clark (she/her) ​

    Promotions Coordinator

    Sarah is a second-year student in the MPH program at McMaster University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia. She completed her summer practicum with Evidence Foundation, a US-based non profit organization that collaborates with health agencies to complete health-related systematic reviews. She is currently working with Dr. Emmanuel Guindon on a review that investigates the scope and features of the illicit tobacco market in Canada. Sarah is especially interested in addressing the social determinants of health through policy. As the promotions coordinator, Sarah is excited to expand the reach of the conference and bring together individuals from across Canada who are interested in the intersection of social protection and public health.


    Amelia Keenan (she/her)

    Speaker Coordinator

    Amelia is a second-year MPH student at McMaster University in the practicum stream. She completed her summer work term with the Vancouver Island Health Authority on a proactive community health framework to identify and mitigate risks among community-dwelling individuals. She is currently working with Dr. Gina Agarwal on adapting a chronic disease program for a northern Indigenous community in Ontario. Amelia is especially interested in proactive and preventative health care strategies. As speaker coordinator, Amelia is excited to foster connections and valuable discussions between professionals and students from the many disciplines and lenses that inform social protection and public health.

    Erica Stone (she/her)​

    Logistics Coordinator

    Erica is a second year MPH student at McMaster University who also recently completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Queen’s University. She completed her summer practicum placement with Dr. Emmanuel Guindon at McMaster University where she conducted a systematic review investigating the association between drug insurance and health-related outcomes in Canada. Among many other interests, Erica’s interests include chronic disease prevention, health equity and policy, and the social determinants of health. As one of the logistics coordinators, she is excited to provide meaningful experiences for students, researchers and professionals to collaborate and share their knowledge and ideas with one another pertaining to the intersection of social protection and public health.

    Pauneez Sadri (she/her)

    Logistics Coordinator

    Pauneez is a second-year Master of Public Health student at McMaster University. She completed her summer practicum with Ottawa Public Health’s (OPH) Mental Health Team, contributing to the implementation and evaluation of OPH’s first Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression policy. She is also currently working with Dr. Emmanuel Guindon to evaluate levels and trends of cigarette contraband in Canada, as well as with Dr. Gina Agarwal to evaluate the impact of a community paramedicine app on physician’s ability to screen for chronic diseases. Her research interests include studying health equity, social health, and the social determinants of disease. As this year’s co-logistics coordinator, Pauneez is eager to organize this year’s conference to create a platform where students, educators, and researchers can engage and discuss their interests and passions.

    Sana Mohammad (she/her)​

    Outreach Coordinator

    Sana is a second year MPH student at McMaster University. She is presently working on her thesis examining COVID-19 physical distancing policies and epidemiology in South Africa and Uganda. Sana is especially interested in conducting community-based research. She is currently a Team Lead for McMaster Research Shop through the Office of Community Engagement supporting a local non-profit organization with their research and program evaluation needs. As outreach coordinator, she is excited to ensure that students across Canada will have the opportunity to learn about social protection and public health from prominent professionals in the field.