Dean's Update - September 2019


Lili LiuDear AHS staff, faculty, and graduate students,

Climate change is a real threat to our future. As we watch, support or participate in the climate change action taking place this week, it is worth acknowledging how climate change affects health and what our researchers are doing about it. True change comes from raising awareness through education using information backed by science, and many of our faculty members are contributors to this conversation. For example:

  • Extreme weather poses increased risk for vulnerable populations, and George Heckman has written about the effects on older adults and the precarious position it puts them in.
  • Kelly Skinner and her team are studying the effects of climate change on the food systems of Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories.
  • Plinio Morita is investigating what happens to older adults living independently when heatwaves strike. He also is working on an air pollution monitoring project in Mongolia using IoT sensors. By quantifying the exposure that children receive, health authorities can intervene.
  • Another overseas example is the research performed by Craig Janes on the impact of climate change on rural households in Central Asia and, most recently, in rural Africa.

As it is not possible to mention every example of research we conduct on the effects of climate change on health here, please check out the Climate change and health research web page.

As members of the Applied Health Sciences community, we are all committed to protecting health and well-being. During momentous events such as the climate change action taking place this week, let us consider what role we can all play to help address this serious challenge of our time.

Lili Liu

AHS this monthEvents I Tips and reminders


Posters promote benefits of recreation

You have probably noticed three new posters featuring AHS students in BMH and the AHS Expansion foyer. They are part of a larger campus campaign, led by the Department of Athletics and Recreation, which highlights students who are involved in a recreational activity and what their engagement has meant for their overall wellness during their undergraduate years. The idea is to promote the positive benefits that physical activity can have on academic performance, social engagement, as well as the individuals’ overall mental health. You can find the other campaign posters in residences, the Student Success Office, dining locations and elsewhere.

CIHR team grant to Kelly Skinner

Kelly SkinnerKelly Skinner from the School of Public Health and Health Systems (SPHHS) just received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) team grant worth $1.5 million over four years to study climate change and food security in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The team includes co-lead investigators from two other universities, co-investigators from SPHHS and three other universities, and partners at the NWT government, six communities from the NWT, as well as other collaborators and knowledge users.

Michael Barnett-Cowan wins Early Researcher Award

Michael Barnett-CowanMichael Barnett-Cowan in Kinesiology is one of 11 University of Waterloo researchers to receive an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario government to advance Ontario’s knowledge-based economy. His work will focus on neural mechanisms of multisensory processing and aging. The Early Researcher Awards program recognizes promising new researchers with $140,000 each to build a team.

Teaching Assistant Award winners

We would like to congratulate Kalsha Diaguarachchige De Silva (Kinesiology), Faith-Anne Wagler (Recreation and Leisure Studies), and Candice Dimock (School of Public Health and Health Systems) for winning AHS Teaching Assistant Awards. All three winners did an outstanding job that was noticed by undergraduate students and instructors.

Climate Change Conference funding

COP25 logoGraduate students who are active and committed to climate change action are invited to apply for an accredited spot on the UWaterloo delegation to this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP25, in Santiago, Chile (December 2-13). Applications are due by Thursday, October 3 at 1 p.m. on the IC3 website. IC3 is able to provide each student up to $2,000 to offset travel costs.


Hallman Lecture with David O'Toole: October 8

David O'TooleDavid O'Toole, president and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Health Information, will speak on "Maintaining Relevance in an Era of Artificial Intelligence" on Tuesday, October 8 at 2:30 p.m. in Davis Centre, room 1302. All are welcome.

How To Create an International Online Course: October 10

Swedish and Canadian instructors and pedagogical supporters will share their experiences of setting up a course that spanned two Swedish universities and UWaterloo. October 10, 2 to 3:30 p.m., AHS 1686. Contact Ellen MacEachen for information.

Keeping Well @ Work Day: October 16

Keeping Well logoKeeping Well @ Work is a full day of wellness programs and activities for employees across campus. Everyone is encouraged to be part of this experience, either for the full day or portions that fit with your work. For registration and event information, please visit the Healthy Workplace event page.

Nutrition and big data lecture: October 17

Benoit LamarcheBenoît Lamarche from Université Laval will speak on "New cohorts to study diet and health? Why not! The case of NutriQuébec." He will present preliminary findings from this initiative, which evaluates Quebec's ambitious health policy. October 17, 3 p.m., LHN 2703.

AHS Convocation: October 25

Hope to see you at the AHS Fall Convocation. This year, AHS Alumni Awards will be presented at the ceremony, which starts at 10 a.m. in the PAC.

AHS Speed Networking: October 28

Student at table speaking with alumnaAHS Speed Networking is a popular student-alumni bridge event that will take place October 28 in Fed Hall. Since 2011, more than 120 AHS alumni have participated. Alumni share their experiences, offer career insight and speak with current AHS students about what to expect once they have graduated from Waterloo. Please encourage your students to attend.

Teaching Fellows Monthly Meet-up: October 30

The Teaching Fellows would like to invite you to the Monthly Meet-up on Teaching Technologies Showcase that will be held on October 30, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Outlook invitation will be shared soon so you can indicate your availability and dietary preferences for lunch.

LGBTQ2S+ faculty and staff lunch: October 30

Pride flagThe Gender and Sexual Diversity Working Group invites you to this informal lunch to get to know each other and build connections. October 30, 12:30 to 2 p.m., in the MC 5501. Please RSVP using this Google form so that we can get a sense of numbers for catering.

Fall Open House: November 2

If you know any high school students interested in any of our programs, have them register for and check out Fall Open House. They can come for specific sessions, or make a day of it (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Research ethics questions: October 2 - December 18

Question mark in chalkResearch Ethics is offering drop-in sessions every Wednesday until December 18 to answer questions related to the ethics process, including submitting, renewing and amending an application. All sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Dana Porter Library (study booth on the main floor). Come prepared with your questions and a laptop.


Instructor training fund

A reminder that if you are planning to attend a teaching-related training or a conference, a new AHS teaching training fund is available. This funding can be used to cover the price of training and/or attendance at teaching-related conferences and is intended for faculty or staff members who cannot subsidize these activities with other funding sources.

Final call for HeForShe Writing Contest

HeForShe logoIf you are planning to submit a piece of writing for the HeForShe Writing Contest, the deadline is fast approaching: October 1. Top submissions in each category (poetry, creative non-fiction, and fiction) will receive $500, and be included in a UWaterloo anthology on gender equity. The contest is open to all Waterloo students, faculty, staff and alumni. Submissions can be made through the HeForShe submission form.

Instructor training through the CTE

Jordan Rettinger, the new Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) liaison for AHS, reminds instructors to visit the CTE workshop site for sessions such as Pebble Pad instruction and workshops on experiential learning. Register on the Training and Development Registration System.

Pizza boxes sustainability tip

Stacked pizza boxesDid you know that pizza boxes can’t be recycled if they have any grease on them? However, they can be composted -- so throw them in the organics bin after your event and they won't end up in landfills.

Do you have a wellness tip or a news item to share? Please email it to Eugenia Xenos Anderson.