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Climate Change and Mental Health: Pathways to Increased Awareness and Adaptive Capacity

Climate Change and Mental Health: Pathways to Increased Awareness and Adaptive Capacity

Date: October 26, 2021 – 1:30–3:00 pm EST

Location: Virtual 

This policy dialogue, Climate Change and Mental Health: Pathways to increased awareness and adaptive capacity, will convene leading voices in the study of health and climate change to explore the relationship between mental health and disrupted social, economic, and environmental determinants of health resulting from climate change.  The Dialogue will aim to highlight the unequal distribution of risks, the increased vulnerability associated with factors such as gender, socio-economic status, education, and pre-existing mental health conditions, and identify practical strategies to enhance awareness and improve adjustment and mitigation approaches.

Watch the October 26 recorded session


André Picard

Award-Winning National Health Writer and Author

André Picard is one of Canada’s top health and public policy observers and commentators. He has been a health reporter and columnist for The Globe and Mail, where he has been a staff writer since 1987. He is also the author of five bestselling books. André is an eight-time nominee for the National Newspaper Awards, Canada’s top journalism prize, and past winner of the prestigious Michener Award for Meritorious Public ServiceJournalism.

He was named Canada’s first “Public Health Hero” by the Canadian Public Health Association as a “Champion of Mental Health” by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health. He received The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his dedication to improving healthcare.

André is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University and has received honorary doctorates from six universities, including UBC and the University of Toronto. He is a seasoned communicator who employs a conversational style to reach his audience. He enlivens his research and commentary with personal stories to provide context for his audience, including anecdotes from patients and health professionals on the front lines.

Fluently bilingual, André will enlighten and pique a sense of curiosity of audience members from all educational backgrounds. Behind the calm exterior lies an inquisitive, perceptive and industrious scribe for whom the work only begins with the official story.

The University of British Columbia recently announced André Picard as one of the Asper Visiting Professors at the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media for the 2020-2021 academic year, winter session.

In 2020, Picard was awarded The Owen Adams Award of Honour. This award is the highest CMA award available to a non-physician.


Dr. Vincent Agyapong

Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University

Chief of Psychiatry for the Central Zone at Nova Scotia Health Authority

Dr. Vincent Agyapong is a Professor of Psychiatry and Global Mental Health and the Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University. He is also the Chief of Psychiatry for the Central Zone at Nova Scotia Health Authority. He was the Inaugural Director of the Division of Community Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Alberta and also served as the Alberta Health Services’ Edmonton Zone Clinical Section Chief for Community Mental Health for five years prior to taking up his current appointment.

Dr. Agyapong holds two Doctorate degrees; a Research MD in Clinical Psychiatry and a PhD in Global Mental Health, from the University of Dublin Trinity College in Ireland. He holds multiple Fellowships from the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, Royal Society of Medicine in the UK, the Royal Academy for Medicine in Ireland, the American Psychiatric Association, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK, and he is a member of the International College of Psychosomatic Medicine. He has served as Mental Health Expert on Disaster Medicine with the Canadian Institute for Health Research Communications and Media Relations Department.

Dr Agyapong has over 120 publications in international peer review journals and has made over 65 presentations at national and international conferences in 18 countries across 5 continents. His research focuses primarily on health innovations that expand access to quality mental health care and he has had over 80,000 subscribers to his various supportive text message interventions, including his Text4Hope program, launched in Alberta during the COVID-19 pandemic, which had over 30,000 subscribers in just one week. Learn more about Dr. Agyapong’s national and international work and awards.

Anne-Catherine Bajard 

Interim Executive Director

British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC)

Anne-Catherine Bajard is the Interim Executive Director of the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation, a network of organisations and individuals that engage in sustainable development and social justice.  She has lived and worked in countries affected by collective trauma that is most often ignored in favour of direct humanitarian aid or development programing.  She has accompanied sectors of population affected by trauma, among them that of journalists working in hostile environments, the long-term multi-generational trauma of indigenous populations in Bolivia and their strategies for governance, and the multi-faceted trauma of domestic workers in Bolivia as well as their successes. Her experience in Liberia and in Haiti have provided her with further experience that shape her views, with a new understanding as well as many questions about populations’ resilience during and after wars, epidemics (Ebola), natural disasters (2010 earthquake), and decades of political oppression, inequity and violence. 

She moved to Vancouver in 2019, shortly before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Anne-Catherine is a Human Geographer, a feminist, with a focus on equity, justice and decolonisation, continuously seeking to discover-uncover and unsettle invisible biases and relearn with new lenses.Anne-Catherine currently resides on the unceded Indigenous territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish peoples.  She has also lived, played, worked and raised her children in the equally unceded territories of the Aymara, Quechua, Chiquitano and Guarayo nations, and lived five years in the land of the Kpelle, Bassa, Grebo, Sapo, Krahn, Mandingo, Fulani, Gio and Mano.

Dr. Corinne Schuster-Wallace

Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Saskatchewan

Associate Director, Global Institute for Water Security

Dr. Corinne Schuster-Wallace is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Saskatchewan and the Associate Director for Global Water Futures, a multi-university research program with core funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.  She is co-Chair of the Climate Change and Health Working Group at the Canadian Association for Global Health. 

She is a transdisciplinary researcher, rooted in Geography, with a research focus on linkages between water, environment, and health. Her research program has emerged over the past decade to encompass impacts of global environmental change and local water security as they pertain to rural, remote, and marginalised communities, including Indigenous communities and women. Dr. Schuster-Wallace works at the interface of human and physical systems employing an ecohealth approach. 

Dr. Courtney Howard 

Emergency Physician; Clinical Associate Professor at Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary

Dr. Courtney Howard is a nationally and globally recognized expert on the impacts of climate change on human and planetary health.  She has advanced policy and advocacy on active transport, ecoanxiety, movement-building, plant-rich diets, fossil fuel divestment, carbon pricing, coal phase-out, hydraulic fracturing, and integrating health impact assessments into environmental assessments. She led the 2017-2019 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Briefings for Canadian Policymakers and was the 2018 International Policy Director for the Lancet Countdown. 

Dr. Howard is on the steering committee of the Planetary Health Alliance and the editorial advisory board of the Lancet Planetary Health.  She sits on the boards of the Canadian Medical Association, Health in Harmony, the Global Climate and Health Alliance, as well as the Steering Committee of the Planetary Health Alliance, and the Editorial Advisory Board of the Lancet Planetary Health.  As Co-chair of the advocacy subcommittee of the WHO-Civil Society Working Group on Climate Change and Health, she helped launch a call for G20 leaders to target a #Healthy Recovery initiative which gained the support of 40 million healthcare professionals worldwide.

Dr. Howard is a part-time emergency physician who lives and plays with her family in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, traditional homeland of the Yellowknife Dene Nation in Canada’s subarctic.

Dr. Shannon Waters

Assistant Clinical Professor, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, School of Population and Public Health & Medical Health Office for the Cowichan Valley at Vancouver Island Health Authority

Dr. Shannon Waters is Coast Salish and a member of Stz’uminus First Nation on Vancouver Island. She initially worked in her home territory as a family doctor but became frustrated with seeing people mostly when they were unwell. Wanting to focus on keeping people healthy in the first place Shannon completed her specialty training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine. Shannon has worked in public health and preventive medicine federally, provincially and at First Nations organizations. She is currently honored to have come full circle and to be working in her home territory as the local Medical Health Officer for the Cowichan Valley at Vancouver Island Health Authority. Her priorities in her work are connection to the environment, mental wellness, and maternal/child/family health.