• Friday, November 19, 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.

    Conference Sessions

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    Practicum and Thesis Symposium

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    Poster Presentations

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  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/cindyxcui/albums/72157711909892036/with/49113540562/

  • Conference Day Agenda

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


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

    11:00 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

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

    2:40 PM to 3:00 PM - Closing Remarks


  • Keynote Address

    Dr. Kerry Bowman

    Kerry Bowman, PhD, is a Canadian bioethicist and conservationist. He teaches at the University of Toronto and currently holds an academic appointment with Department of Family and Community Medicine. He also serves with The University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics and the University of Toronto Centre for Environment. Dr. Bowman has previously served for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) as author for the Global Environment Outlook in 2007 and as an expert reviewer in 2012. He was also involved in the Global Environment Outlook 6, which examined the connection between human health and the environment. Dr Bowman is presently working on two major conservation projects in the Western Amazon and the Eastern Congo. Focusing on the intersection of human health with factors such as deforestation, biodiversity loss and emerging zoonotic diseases . Dr. Bowman will be speaking on the interrelationship between climate health and human health, with a focus on the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study.

    To learn more about Dr. Bowman, read his full biography here.

  • Breakout Session Speakers

    Attendees will have the opportunity to attend a breakout speaker sessions from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.

    Marsha Walton

    Journalist Perspective on Climate Change and Health

    Marsha Walton is a science and environment reporter and broadcast producer. She is series producer for “This American Land,” now in its ninth season on most PBS stations. The show explores landscapes, waters, and wildlife, and the people taking risks and using innovation to protect these national treasures. She also works part time for CNN International. Marsha spent 16 years at CNN, most as a producer for the science and technology unit and writer for CNN.com. As a freelancer she produced more than 100 “Science Nation” video features for the National Science Foundation (NSF). And she writes profiles of scientists and engineers for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She’s done energy and climate change pieces for Mother Nature Network, (now part of Treehugger.com): and medical investigations on disparities in maternal health care suffered by women of color for Women’s E-News. Marsha has a BS in journalism from Northwestern University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

    Dr. Dawn Martin-Hill

    Six Nations Water and Food Security in an Era of Climate Change

    Dawn Martin-Hill (Mohawk, Wolf Clan) holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology and is one of the original founders of the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster University. Her primary research over two decades is working with women and youth in Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Her research includes access to clean water. She is the PI of Co-Creation of Indigenous Water Quality Tools and Ohneganos, which are Indigenous-led projects investigating water insecurity through the integration of Western Science and Indigenous Knowledge. She is also a Canada and U.S. Fulbright scholar and holds both a Fulbright community grant and NSERC developing grant. She is the recipient of a US-Canada Fulbright award, Outstanding Teaching Award from the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium, and she has received grants from SSHRC, CIHR and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.Her work includes PI of CIHR-IIPH Development Grant, Akwe: kon tewatahtonokwe (we are all related), CIHR –IIPH titled, Tehtsitehwa: kenrotka: we (together we pull it from the earth again) – The Ohero:kon youth Health Intervention”, focused on rites of passage for youth as a (suicide) prevention strategy and currently, Ohe’n:ton Karihwate’hkwenis ‘giving greeting to [the] natural world’ both are all female Mohawk female led team.

    Dr. Christine Wekerle​

    Six Nations Water and Food Security in an Era of Climate Change

    Dr. Wekerle is an Associate Professor in Pediatrics and an Associate Member of the Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University. She obtained her Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology) in 1995 from The University of Western Ontario, an American and Canadian Psychological Association accredited program, and conducted her accredited internship at McMaster, in Pediatrics. She is Editor-in-Chief of the premier international journal, Child Abuse & Neglect, and founding editor of the open-access journal, International Journal of Child and Adolescent Resilience.

    Dr. Wekerle has been an active scientist, publishing in peer-reviewed journals since 1987. Her research focuses on youth who have had adverse childhood experiences and their current mental health and resilience. She led the Maltreatment and Adolescent Pathways (MAP) Research Study partnered with Canada’s largest child welfare agencies to track youth outcomes across adolescence. The research-to-action video on this study was runner up in the CIHR IHDCYH Video Talks competition. Her team grant (#CIHRTeamSV) focuses on the impact of sexual violence victimization among male youth and young adults, seeking to understand components of resilience and developing intervention innovations. The #CIHRTeamSV research-to-action video won a special commendation prize in the CIHR Video Talks contest for 2017. This work is ongoing with ECPAT International as a key partner. Dr. Wekerle and team have developed a youth resilience app, JoyPopTM, to support day-to-day resilient functioning. Her new book with colleagues, Child Maltreatment (2nd Edition), is targeted to those whose practice engages them in the issues of child maltreatment. All communications should be directed to: wekerc@mcmaster.ca.

    Dr. Adrianne Xavier​

    Six Nations Water and Food Security in an Era of Climate Change

    Professor Xavier is the Contract Lecturer and the acting Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology here at McMaster, her MA at Royal Roads University, and is currently completing her PhD in the Social Science doctoral studies program at Royal Roads University.She teaches in the areas of Contemporary Indigenous Issues, Indigenous Food Security and Food Systems, Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Methodologies.Professor Xavier’s research interests include Indigenous food security, Indigenous land connections and rematriation, Indigenous food ways, and Indigenous ways of knowing. In 2020, she was awarded the new McMaster Indigenous Research Institute “Indigenous In-Community Scholar Fellowship.” The project will work within Adrianne’s community of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory to grow the understanding and capacity around food security and sovereignty.

    Sarah Duignan​

    Six Nations Water and Food Security in an Era of Climate Change

    Sarah Duignan completed her B.Sc Honours at Trent University with a specialization in biological anthropology, and completed her MA in anthropology at the University of Manitoba in 2015. Sarah's doctoral work focuses on medical anthropology, working with community partners at Six Nations of the Grand River to explore water quality and security in connection to emerging public and environmental health concerns. Her research works to co-create knowledge with Indigenous community partners to build more holistic understandings of health and wellbeing. Additionally, she is the host and producer of AnthroDish podcast, made in partnership with the American Anthropological Association.

  • Posters

    Check out this year's posters!


    Our google site allows attendees to browse through this year's poster submissions. Please take the time to appreciate the effort each presenter put in their work. We welcome you to browse through the posters, read each abstract description, and listen to each speaker discuss their work in more detail.


    Please note: participating in the best poster vote is only open to those who registered for the conference!



  • 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 2020 Conference Planning Team

    Zil Nasir


    Zil is a second year Master of Public Health student and holds an honours Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University. Her interests are primarily in applied health research and evaluation including assessments of public health programs, tools, and interventions. Currently, Zil is completing a Master’s thesis evaluating the effectiveness of the GRADE adolopment framework for the adoption and adaptation of WHO-issued global Tuberculosis recommendations. As co-chair, Zil is excited to foster relationships between Canadian leaders in various fields and to grow her understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of public health.

    Elissa Morgan


    Elissa Morgan is a second year Master of Public Health student at McMaster University and a graduate of the University of Toronto Honours Bachelor of Science program. She recently completed a practicum placement at Labrador-Grenfell Health (LGH) where she was mentored by the Medical Officer of Health. She assisted with a wide variety of projects, including carrying out an evaluation of the LGH virtual care strategy. Her interests include public health program planning and evaluation, particularly around primary healthcare reform. She believes that climate change should be at the forefront of public health academia and is excited to be co-chairing the MPHSLC this year.

    Leena AlShenaiber

    Promotions Coordinator

    Leena is a second year Master of Public Health student and holds an honours Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University in Integrated Science. She worked with Dr. Gina Agarwal and the Vulnerable Individuals in Primary Care (VIP) Research Lab at McMaster’s Department of Family Medicine for her summer 2020 practicum. Her academic and professional interests include chronic disease prevention, social determinants of health, health systems research, and evidence-based medicine. As the Promotions Coordinator, Leena is excited to be a part of the MPHSLC team for this year’s conference and is very passionate about the topic of climate change especially within the context of public health.


    Saman Iftikhar

    Finance Coordinator

    Saman is a second year Master of Public Health student who completed her Bachelor of Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is excited to take on her role as Finance Coordinator for this year's MPHSLC. Her goal as a public health student is to apply foundational knowledge in public health and research methods to tackle health disparities by engaging in meaningful research, program implementation and communication activities focused on chronic and infectious disease prevention and management. She is especially excited to virtually connect with like-minded individuals to create meaningful discussion around the short and long-term impacts of climate change in a public health context.

    Kapeena Sivakumaran

    Logistics Coordinator

    Kapeena is a second year Master of Public Health Student who completed her undergraduate degree in Health Sciences at McMaster University. She has completed her summer practicum with the Evidence Foundation, where she assisted in developing guidelines for the management of COVID-19, as well as working with the University of Maryland on literature reviews for FDA substances. Kapeena’s interests include health policy, social determinants of health and addressing inequities. As the logistics coordinator for this year’s conference, she is excited to collaborate with the MPSLC team to provide a meaningful experience for students to engage and discuss about the public health perspectives of climate change.

    Jasmine Dzerounian


    Outreach Coordinator

    Jasmine Dzerounian is a Master of Public Health student and holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts & Science degree from McMaster University. She completed her summer public health practicum with Dr. Gina Agarwal and the Vulnerable Individuals in Primary Care (VIP) Research Lab under McMaster's Department of Family Medicine. Among many other interests, Jasmine is interested in interventions, research, and policies that work to improve the health of vulnerable populations. She is also interested in knowledge translation, accessibility, health promotion, health behaviour, and research informed by the needs and wants of the community. As outreach coordinator for this year's conference, Jasmine is excited to facilitate connections between professionals and students from different disciplines and backgrounds through the conference. She hopes to help foster a conference environment where learners from all backgrounds feel they can make a contribution as well as gain new understandings of climate change as an immediate and pressing public health issue.

    Jacqueline Rintjema

    First Year Representative

    Jacqueline is a first-year Master of Public Health student who recently completed her Bachelor of Arts in Health Studies from McMaster University. From her relevant work and volunteer experience in government, academia, the not-for-profit sector, as well as international experience in Sydney, Australia, she was introduced to the health inequities facing marginalized and underserved groups both in her community and abroad. This developed her interest in non-communicable disease prevention, the social determinants of health, patient engagement, and advancing health equity through policy. As the First Year Representative, Jacqueline is looking forward to facilitating the engagement of first-year students in the MPHSLC and creating an open communication channel between first-year students and the planning committee. She is excited to engage with students, faculty, and community members in discussions around the complexities of climate change through a public health lens.