CNS is Celebrating 10 years!


Nutrition in Diverse Populations

Malek Batal, PhD - Université de Montréal

Malek Batal is professor of public health nutrition at the Nutrition Department at the Université de Montreal’s Faculty of Medicine. He is also member of the Centre for Health Research of the Université de Montréal and the CIUSS du Centre-Sud de l’Île de Montréal (CReSP). His research focuses on the environmental, social, economic and cultural determinants of food choice, including food security, and their relationship to the health of individuals and the ecosystem in several populations, including First Nations adults and children, as well as migrants and refugees in Canada, Indigenous farmers in Ecuador, and rural populations in Haiti. Malek undertakes participatory and transdisciplinary research that strives to trigger policy change. Since September 2014, he has been director of TRANSNUT, the WHO Collaborating Centre on Nutrition Changes and Development with interest in the nutrition transition and related health outcomes.

Rosanne Blanchet, PhD, RD - University of Alberta

Dr. Rosanne Blanchet is a Registered Dietitian with a certificate in Public Health Nutrition from Université Laval and a PhD in Population Health from the University of Ottawa. Her research seeks to understand the determinants of eating habits and the social determinants of health of populations undergoing rapid cultural changes and/or vulnerable for health disparities (e.g., Indigenous peoples, immigrants, refugees, visible minorities, low-income households). Her doctoral research focused on the relationships between acculturation, ethnicity, and nutritional health of school-aged immigrant children of African and Caribbean descent living in Ottawa. Dr. Blanchet is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta with Dr. Noreen Willows. Her postdoctoral research aims to understand the outcomes of an Indigenous food sovereignty initiative that reintroduced sockeye salmon in the Okanagan Basin on Syilx culture, well-being, food security, and diet. Her objective is to eventually develop interventions aiming to help prevent chronic diseases and consequently reduce health inequities affecting Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour in Canada. 

Suzanne Johnson, MSc, RD - Okanagan Salmon and Our Health 

Suzanne Johnson is the Lead Okanagan Researcher for the Okanagan Salmon and Our Health project.  As a graduate student researcher, she served as the community representative of the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) to facilitate the engagement of staff and membership in the development and design of this collaborative community-university project.  As an Indigenous mother, her work is motivated by the need to see equity and justice in the determinants of our well-being, including food security and food sovereignty.  She has recently completed an Interdisciplinary graduate research project (June 2020) that has combined her views shaped by over 25 years of community nutrition experience in First Nations communities with her understanding of Syilx knowledge to explore how the restoration of Indigenous food systems effects well-being. 

Kate Storey, PhD, RD - University of Alberta 

Dr. Kate Storey, PhD, RD is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, Distinguished Researcher - Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, and CIHR New Investigator. Kate is a Centre for Healthy Communities Scientist and Lead for ‘Healthy Schools.’ Dr. Storey’s research program SIRCLE (Settings-based Intervention Research through Changes in Lifestyles & Environments) focuses on school- and community-based strategies to promote wellbeing, prevent chronic diseases, and reduce health inequities. Dr. Storey’s work aims to create a culture of wellness for kids, their families, and their communities by making the ‘healthy choice the easy choice’ where we live, work, learn, and play. She works to create systems-level change through programs that foster resilience and empowerment. An established leader in creating healthy school communities, she has been awarded over $9M (PI/Co-PI) in grants and contracts. She has implemented, evaluated, and scaled healthy living programs in communities with thousands of children and has established partnerships across sectors and levels to facilitate sustainability. Kate is an avid runner and cyclist, and is a mom to two young children who share her passion for adventure, travel, and being active. 

Noreen Willows, PhD - University of Alberta 

Dr. Noreen Willows is Professor, Population and Public Health Nutrition, Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences, University of Alberta. Her research interests are the development and evaluation of community-based nutrition interventions in Indigenous communities in Canada and the impact of household and cultural food insecurity on health and well-being. Her primary research focus is population health intervention research to enhance food access in First Nations communities through school-based, food security and food sovereignty initiatives. Dr. Willows champions a decolonizing community-based participatory approach to research in which community members and academic co-researchers form community-university partnerships to develop culturally appropriate solutions to health issues identified by community members. 

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