PhD Public Health and Health Systems candidate

Lesley Johnson on a camel in Mongolia 

Making a difference

Working towards sustainability by protecting the planet, ending poverty and reducing inequality have been identified as critical priorities by community groups, leaders and countries all over the world.

Through her research, Lesley is working to address these issues. Her work is investigating the ways in which community well-being in Mongolia and Zambia are affected by Canadian-sponsored mining operations. By identifying gaps in capacity and opportunities for improving authentic participatory processes, she’s putting together a model framework – one that integrates community perspectives, addresses capacity challenges and historical relationships, and provokes the states’ responsibility for mining company practice.

Lesley’s interest in this area was directly affected by her relationship with Professor Craig Janes during her Master’s at Simon Fraser University. An opportunity to conduct research in Mongolia sparked the inspiration to investigate how climate change, extractive industries, and traditional livelihoods intersected to impact the social and environmental determinants of health.

Professor Janes taught the very first class I took in my Master’s program and forever changed the way I look at the world.

Creating student resources 

With some fellow graduate students, Lesley helped create the Network for Environment and Health Initiatives.

Working to get more planetary content into courses across campus.

Lesley also helped initiate the Meatless Mondays campaign for the Faculty. By encouraging plant-based choices, one day each week the initiative brings awareness to the the impact of our eating patterns on the environment and our health.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo, School of Public Health and Health Systems