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Occupational and Environmental Hygiene Friday Seminars

Friday afternoons, 12:30 to 1:30 pm.


Hybrid Format: Interact with Live Seminar Broadcast in Room SPPH 349, Teaching Lab, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, B.C. and on ZOOM. If you wish to attend a seminar via zoom, please send a request to oeh.seminar@ubc.ca

The best of current research in the Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (OEH) field is presented at these seminars, which run weekly during the academic year. Attendance is mandatory for MSc OEH students. View Certification Maintenance Points information.

Important Note – Presentations may contain provisional unpublished information and must NOT be distributed without explicit permission of the presenter.




Term 2 starts on January 8, 2024


2023-2024 Term Two 

January 12, 2024

January 19, 2024


Eric Coker speaking IN-PERSON in room SPPH  349
January 26, 2024
Linh Nguyen
Research Associate, Occupational Cancer Research Center (OCRC), Ontario Health


February 2, 2024
Christopher MacDonald
PhD Candidate, University of Toronto

Impact of COVID-19 on the risk of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder among Canadian paramedics

Paramedics are considered a high-risk occupation for the development of mental health disorders during non-outbreak conditions. During COVID-19, paramedics were responsible to undertake exposure-prone procedures as part of their everyday job, despite uncertainty regarding the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This seminar will leverage the COVID-19 Occupational Risks, Seroprevalence and Immunity among Paramedics (CORSIP) study data to characterize factors associated with meeting the screening risk criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Canadian paramedics working in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

February 9, 2024
Jeavana Sritharan
Scientist, Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Ontario Health
Nancy Carnide
Scientist, the Institute for Work & Health

Opioids-related harms among Ontario workers in the Occupational Disease Surveillance System

The opioid crisis continues to grow in Canada, however current health surveillance systems that monitor opioid-related harms have limited or no employment information. The Occupational Disease Surveillance System (ODSS), designed to detect work-related disease in a large cohort of formerly injured Ontario workers, was recently expanded to identify opioid-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits. In this presentation, Dr. Nancy Carnide and Dr. Jeavana Sritharan will share findings from analyses of these data, including the occupational groups found to be a highest risk for opioid-related harms and the results comparing rates of opioid-related harms among workers in the ODSS to those in the general Ontario population.

February 16, 2024
Cheryl Peters Senior
Scientist, Cancer Prevention, BCCDC & BC Cancer

Changing activity patterns since the COVID-19 pandemic began and increased radon gas exposure for some workers

Radon exposure is determined by location, characteristics of the built environment, and human activity patterns, and an unintended consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been more time spent at home. This webinar will discuss the results of an analysis of participants in the Evict Radon study, which demonstrated radiation dose to the lungs has increased since the start of the pandemic, with the biggest increases among urban, younger people with jobs that can be done from home.

March 1, 2024
Jillian Ashley-Martin
Research Scientist, Health Canada

The Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals Research Platform: Key Findings from 10+ Years of Research

In this presentation, Dr. Ashley-Martin will provide an overview of the study design and key research findings from the MIREC Research Platform. The primary goal of MIREC is to understand levels of exposure to and potential health effects of environmental chemicals in pregnant people and children. The Research Platform comprises an initial pregnancy cohort study of approximately 2000 participants and three follow-up studies during infancy, early childhood, and adolescence. 

March 15, 2024
Ariane Adam-Poupart
Scientific Advisor, Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec

Impacts of climate change on the health and safety of workers and adaptation of workplaces

The objectives of this talk are to present 1) an overview of the impacts of climate change on the health and safety of workers in Canada and 2) examples of workplace adaptations to the effects of increased temperature due to climate change..

March 22, 2024
Hugh Davies
Professor, University of British Columbia
Susan Arnold
Associate Professor, University of Minnesota

Hazardous Drug Exposure Prevention Program (HazDEPP): A new approach to reducing risk to healthcare workers

This seminar will describe a study in progress in BC hospitals and cancer care centers aimed at investigating novel ways of reducing the risks from inadvertent exposure to antineoplastic drugs. The study (HazDEPP for short) implements a sampling strategy developed by the investigators that will be used to generate target “hygienic guidance values” for exposure risk assessment purposes. Also, the study will implement/augment communications channels within and between health authorities to encourage sharing of risk mitigation information and exposure data. It is hoped this will help clinics understand where and when exposure risks are increased, to identify best control practices, and to help to continually reduce exposures in the absence of OEL’s. We’ll discuss the study motivation, objectives, design, and progress to date.

April 5, 2024
Rivkah Gardner-Frolick
PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia

Adapting and Applying Air Quality Modeling to Environmental Justice Questions in Canada

Traditional air quality estimation methods can often be ill-suited to environmental justice applications due to a variety of factors. The talk will give examples of fit-to-purpose ways to adapt and apply methods to novel environmental justice questions in Canada and will present results from multiple projects in Canada, including a local study in Vancouver. 


Zoom Address

2023-2024 Term One 

September 8, 2023
Marshall Chester
Occupational Hygienist, Vancouver Coastal Health


An evaluation of occupational health and safety changes to eye lens dose in lower mainland medical imaging

The lens of the eye is one of the most radiosensitive tissues in the body. After approved amendments to the provincial occupational exposure limit in 2022, this prospective cohort study followed high-priority medical departments within lower mainland British Columbia for a period of two years.



September 15,



Mona Shum
Principal Industrial Hygienist, Aura Health and Safety Corporation

Hot and Smoky – A new normal


Mona will discuss how heat stress and wildfire smoke have affected the entertainment industry in BC and highlight case examples of what film productions have done to assess and control exposures to cast and crew.



September 22, 2023


Erin Shellington
Research Associate,
Legacy for Airway Health

When the Smoke Clears: how to optimize wildfire smoke messages

Using an integrated knowledge translation approach, Legacy for Airway Health has undertaken a series of projects to 1) understand public desires for communication, 2) share this with relevant government organizations, 3) identify strategies for optimization, 4) evaluate efforts towards optimization. In the context of extreme weather events associated with climate change, there is a clear need for effective public health advice that meets the needs of diverse audiences and addresses adaptation and resilience in our communities.



September 29, 2023


Paul Villeneuve
Professor, Carleton University

The Newfoundland Fluorspar Miners Study: Updated Findings on Exposure to Radon Progeny and Lung Cancer

Join Paul Villeneuve speaking IN-PERSON in room SPPH B151

The underground mining of fluorspar started in the 1930s in St. Lawrence, Newfoundland well before radon was a recognized lung carcinogen. These miners were exposed to concentrations of radon that vastly exceeded contemporary occupational limits. This talk will provide an overview of past studies of these miners that found increased risks of lung cancer in this cohort of approximately 2,000 miners, and present findings from a recently updated mortality linkage.

October 6, 2023
Daniel Rainham
Professor, Dalhousie University

Development of the Canadian Environmental Quality Index (Can-EQI): Development and calculation of an index to assess spatial variation of environmental quality in Canada’s 30 largest cities

Multiple characteristics of the urban environment have been shown to influence population health and health-related behaviours, though the distribution and combined effects of these characteristics on health is less understood. The objective of our work was to develop an index of environmental quality for Canada’s largest urban areas and to assess the influence of population size on index values. We identified and selected nine datasets across five domains (outdoor air pollution, natural environments, built environments, radiation, and climate/weather). Datasets were chosen based on known impacts on human health across the life course, complete geographic coverage of the cities of interest, and temporal alignment with the 2016 Canadian census. We selected 30 cities with a population of more than 100,000 people which included 28,026 DAs and captured approximately 55% of the total Canadian population. Can-EQI scores ranged from 21.1 to 88.9 out of 100, and in Canada’s largest cities were 10.2 (95% CI: −10.7, −9.7) points lower than the smallest cities. Mapping the Can-EQI revealed high geographic variability within and between cities.


October 13, 2023
Melanie Gorman Ng
Health and Exposure Scientist, BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA)
Adjunct Professor, UBC SPPH

Occupational hygiene in the BC construction industry

Join Melanie Gorman Ng speaking IN-PERSON in room SPPH B151

Health traditionally gets less attention than safety in the construction industry. This presentation will discuss research and resources from the BC Construction Safety Alliance that aim to increase awareness of occupational hygiene and protect worker health in the industry.



October 20, 2023
Anya Keefe
Occupational & Public Health Consultant

Don’t just shrink it and pink it: addressing the gender gap in PPE

Join Anya Keefe speaking IN-PERSON in room SPPH B151

Significant numbers of women report that their PPE does not fit properly, it is uncomfortable to wear, and the selection of women-specific PPE is inadequate. Despite evidence that anthropometric differences exist between the sexes, PPE continues to be designed for “all workers” based almost entirely on male anthropometry. This is problematic as research on the gendered and sexual division of labour – and its impact on occupational health and safety – reinforce the need to pay attention to sex and gender differences in exposures and hazards as well as the unique needs of each sex in mitigating those hazards and risks.

Watch Recording

October 27, 2023

Kiffer Card
Assistant Professor, Simon Fraser University

Understanding Climate Related Ecological Distress and Resilience: A multi-phase, community-based mixed methods evaluation of the mental health effects of climate change

This seminar reviews results from research exploring climate-related ecological distress and resilience to improve our understanding of the mental health effects of climate change and what we can do to mitigate and prevent these effects.

November 3, 2023
Sahar Derakhshan
Assistant Professor of Geography, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Travis Longcore
Adjunct Professor of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA

Extreme heat exposure dynamics and heat-refuge strategies: what can we learn from smartphone users?

Extreme heat is the most deadly of weather disasters and individual exposure depends on individual location through the day and night. Anonymized location data from smartphone users makes possible investigations of individual-level extreme heat exposure patterns and heat-refuge strategies that were previously unimaginable. Using a two-month dataset of smartphone locations in Los Angeles County during the record-breaking summer of 2017, we explore exposure and refuge-seeking strategies surrounding cooling centers, parks, and pedestrian shade use to gain insights on adaptation and mitigation strategies to protect public health in communities facing extreme heat events.


November 10, 2023
Anne-Marie Nicol
Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University

Climate Resiliency in Action: helping communities to help themselves during Firesmoke events.

This talk presents research conducted during the Summer of 2023 with communities at-risk from firesmoke and the agencies who help support them in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.


November 17, 2023
Bianca Malouf
Manager of Industrial Hygiene, Canadian National Rail

 Industrial Hygiene in the Rail Industry

We have heard them from afar, we have seen them up close and we have even sometimes felt them rumbling past us. Locomotives are everywhere, instrumental to our society’s delivery of goods and economic health. The railway industry is a vast one. In Canada, between 2017 and 2021, the average number of employees in Canadian railway companies ranged between 28,000 to 31,000. These employees covered an average of 100,000,000 train kilometres as well as worked an average of 2,400,000 total train hours per year. This session will cover elements of the railway industry in Canada as seen through the eyes of a hygienist.

November 24, 2023
Sonja Senthanar
Partnership for Work, Health and Safety

Workers’ compensation system experiences of immigrant workers in British Columbia, Canada

Workers’ compensation claims data indicate that immigrant workers experience a longer time to return to work following a work injury or illness compared to their Canadian-born counterparts. Extending from this work, we employed in-depth, semi-structured interviews with immigrant workers to explore the contextual reasons for these differences and to gain insights into key areas where changes can be made to improve their work disability experience and reduce inequities.



Decemeber 1, 2023
Shuai Xie
Postdoc Fellow, National Institutes of Health

Occupational exposure to organic solvents and risk of bladder cancer

Bladder cancer has been linked to several occupations including those with solvent use. In this project, we evaluated occupational exposure to solvents by integrating a job-exposure matrix with exposure-oriented modules capturing within-job, respondent-specific details about tasks conducted on the job and chemicals handled. Using these data, we found that lifetime, cumulative exposure to benzene, toluene and xylene as a group (or BTX) may increase the risk of bladder cancer.



Past OEH Seminars 

2022-2023 Term 2



Jan 13, 2023
Arif Jetha
Scientist, Institute for Work & Health
Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
How will the future of work shape the work-health interface?
The future of work reflects the dramatic transformation of all aspects of the working world. Drawing from a program of research at the Institute for Work & Health, this presentation will describe key trends that are driving change to the nature and availability of work and discuss how they can impact the health, safety and well-being of workers.

Recording unavailable


Jan 20, 2023


  Dan Sarkany
Sr. Lead Occupational Hygienist
Teck Coal Limited

Occupational hygiene for large surface mining operations – challenges, solutions and success with identifying and controlling silica exposure


Teck Coal has focused much effort on real-time dust monitoring to target implementation of engineering and administrative controls. This presentation will review the current applications of real-time exposure monitoring in use at Teck Coal, interpretation of real-time bigdata, key findings to identify controls and lessons learned.





Jan 27, 2023


Michael Lee
Environmental Health Services, BC Centre for Disease Control

We don’t need a better rat trap: Reconceptualising municipal rat management.


This seminar will present on a project designed to understand the current state of municipal rat management with a view towards providing recommendations for cities seeking to improve or develop their own management strategies


Feb 3, 2023


Ezra Yu
Research Coordinator
School of Population and Public Health, UBC

Early Child Development and the impact of noise on language development


Recording not available
Feb 10, 2023
Brian Ng
Medical Advisor, WorkSafe BC

Olivia Sampson
Manager Clinical Services, WorkSafe BC

Occupational Dermatitis

This presentation will review common causes of occupational dermatitis and other skin-related occupational issues. We will focus on irritant and allergic contact dermatitis, in particular, and discuss common causes of these skin conditions in the workplace and by industry.


Recording not available
Feb 17, 2023
Imelda Wong
Occupational Hygienist/Epidemiologist
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

From UBC to CDC: (Almost) All I really need to know, I learned in SOEH

A brief glimpse of the endless possibilities following your OEH degree, and the valuable lessons from our small (but mighty!) school.


Feb 24, 2023
No Speakers

Reading Break

March 3, 2023

Juliette O’keeffe
Environmental Health & Knowledge Translation Scientist
National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health

Climate change and opportunistic pathogens in the built environment

This presentation explores some of the ways that climate change could influence the occurrence of, and exposure to, opportunistic pathogens such as Legionella in our urban centres, and some of the measures that can be taken to reduce the risks.

March 10, 2023
No Speakers

No Seminar (AIHA meeting)


March 17, 2023
Victoria Arrandale
Assistant Professor
University of Toronto

Towards healthier and safer nail salons: Perspectives from Toronto, Ontario

In recent years, discount nail salons have proliferated. Despite the caring and artistic nature of the work, nail technicians are exposed to a variety of workplace hazards including chemicals and ergonomic stressors. Additionally, nail technicians in these salons are often women, recent immigrants and precariously employed, all of which impact their work and health. In this seminar I will describe results from several projects conducted in Toronto, Ontario that focus on better understanding health and safety in the context of discount nail salons.


March 24, 2023
Gavin McDonald
Research Specialist
University of California, Santa Barbara

Shining light on forced labor in fisheries using satellite data and responsible machine learning

Forced labor in fisheries is an increasingly recognized global problem. This seminar will go over recent advances that could help better understand and address it by combining responsible machine learning, satellite-based fishing vessel monitoring data, and expertise from human rights practitioners.


March 31, 2023
Sahil Bhandari
Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellow
Mechanical Engineering, UBC

Odour, Air Quality, and Well-Being: Understanding Urban Smellscape Using Crowd-sourced Science

Odour exposure can adversely impact health and quality of life. As a part of the Smell Vancouver project, quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted on a 12-month data set from a web application collecting crowd-sourced odour reports in Vancouver, Canada. Results from this project provide evidence that human-centered approaches can enrich understanding of the impacts of odorous emissions on health and well-being.


April 7, 2023
No Speakers

No Seminar (Good Friday)


Please see list of past OEH Seminars below;

2022-2023 Term one

Term 1 starts on September 6, 2022

Sep 9, 2022

Chris McLeod
OEH Division Head

Towards the future: Updating our learners, alumni, and stakeholders on renewal and expansion of the OEH teaching and training.

In this kick-off talk, Dr. Mcleod will present the highlights of the renewal process of the OEH division at UBC SPPH, and discuss the launch of new professional development initiatives.
Sep 16, 2022
Melissa Friesen
Senior Investigator, National Institutes of Health
Impact of the specificity of exposure metrics in epidemiologic studies: Lessons learned over 2-3 decades

A common theme in Dr. Friesen’s research, from her masters and doctoral degrees at UBC through to her role as a tenured investigator at the US National Cancer Institute, has been the necessity for using more refined and proximal exposure measures in epidemiologic studies to detect exposure-disease associations. Dr. Friesen will discuss several case studies demonstrating how improved exposure assessment approaches have improved our understanding of occupational health risks, including her recent work on exposure to metalworking fluids and solvents in a case-control study of bladder cancer.
Sep 23, 2022
Sarah Henderson
Scientific Director, Environmental Health Services, BC Centre for Disease Control
Review of a mass casualty event: Mortality during the 2021 heat dome

The 2021 heat dome was the deadliest weather event in Canadian history, with an estimated 740 excess deaths in British Columbia (BC). These deaths were not uniformly distributed across the population; they were concentrated in areas with higher deprivation and lower green space. They also occurred disproportionately among people with conditions such as schizophrenia and substance use disorder. This presentation will review the epidemiologic evidence generated by the BC Centre for Disease Control and the evolving public health response to extreme heat in the province.
Sep 30, 2022
No Speakers
Truth & Reconciliation Day
Oct 7, 2022
Lucy Guo
Industrial Risk Specialist, Risk Analysis Unit, WorkSafeBC
Kimiko Banati
Occupational Hygiene Officer, Risk Analysis Unit, WorkSafeBC
Risks Related to Cannabis Extraction and Processing

Over the last few years, there have been dynamic changes in the cannabis industry. In this presentation, we will discuss WorkSafeBC’s Risk Analysis Unit’s project on cannabis extraction and processing (Phase II). This project highlighted the risks to workers in cannabis extraction/processing and how employers can control these risks.
Oct 14, 2022
Naman Paul
Data Scientist, BC Centre for Disease Control
The Canadian Optimized Statistical Smoke Exposure Model (CanOSSEM)

Biomass smoke is associated with a wide range of acute and chronic health outcomes. CanOSSEM estimates daily mean PM2.5 concentration resulting from biomass smoke across Canada. It is a large-scale model that integrates data from multiple sources. CanOSSEM quantified PM2.5 from wildfire and residential wood heating smoke. It is a useful tool for epidemiologic studies, PM2.5 estimates are publicly available.
Oct 21, 2022
Geoffrey Clark
Occupational Hygienist
WorkSafe BC (Retired)
Confined Spaces in BC – What does the Future Hold?

Confined spaces are not the type of places in which people normally work. The risk of an accident is greater and minor mistakes can have major consequences. Eighteen workers have died in confined spaces in B.C. since 2000 and many others have been injured. There are many hazards that can be encountered including engulfment or immersion, exposure to toxic gases or vapours, oxygen deficiency, and flammable atmospheres. Come to this session and learn about the types of confined spaces found in commercial and industrial facilities and the hazards within them. WorkSafeBC is currently reviewing Part 9 of the regulation, which covers confined spaces.
Oct 28, 2022
Élyse Caron-Beaudoin
Assistant Professor
University of Toronto
Communities’ observations to inform environmental health research in Northeastern British Columbia, Canada.

Unconventional natural gas operations can release volatile organic compounds and trace elements naturally occurring in the rock formation: many of these chemicals are known or suspected reproductive and development toxicants. During this seminar, Dr. Caron-Beaudoin will present community-based research regarding the gestational exposure to contaminants associated with unconventional natural gas operations and maternal and birth outcomes in Northeastern British Columbia.
Nov 4, 2022
Robin Van Driel
Owner & Occupational Hygienist, VOHS Consulting Group
The Adventures of an Industrial Hygienist (IH)


The challenges, learnings and victories of being an IH. Taking a little bit of experience, lots of education and going into workplaces as a practicing IH can be full of surprises and is a lifelong learning process. This presentation will involve sharing some real-world scenarios and stories of personal encounters that were memorable experiences. Robin will share some tips and strategies she used to work through challenges that maybe useful to early career professionals. The variety never ends… and the adventure continues.
Nov 11, 2022
No Speakers
Reading Break
Nov 18, 2022
Katie Hayes
Senior Policy Analyst, Health Canada
The Impacts of Climate Change on Mental Health and Well-being


In this session, the audience will have an opportunity to learn from the latest findings on the impacts of climate change to mental health in Canada. Dr. Hayes will be present research published in the 2022 Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate Report.
Nov 25, 2022
Catherine Trask
Professor, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
A foot on each horse: merging perspectives and frameworks for a healthy work environment

Ergonomics and occupational health are inherently interdisciplinary, and OSH professionals regularly combine and integrate multiple perspectives in their practice. This presentation reflects on some of the knowledge bases (and ways of knowing) that contribute to this (sometimes precarious) dance, and considers what perspectives could be useful for future practitioners.


Dec 2, 2022
Jaclyn Parks
Methodologist, BC Cancer Research Centre
Evaluating the impact of built-environment factors on sleep disruption

The quality of your sleep depends on many things, but one overlooked and potentially modifiable influence is where you live. Using a dataset of ~25,000 adults from the BC Generations project (BCGP) cohort, we assessed self-reported sleep duration in relation to the built environment. Built environment metrics included light-at-night, greenness, road proximity, and air pollution (PM2.5, NO2, SO2), as linked to our BCGP participants’ postal codes by the Canadian Urban Environmental Research Consortium. Single and multi-exposure analysis results will be discussed.


2021-2022 Term one and two

Term 2 starts on January 10, 2022

Jan 14, 2022
Richard Neitzel
University of Michigan
Finding meaning in the noise: the Apple Hearing Study

The Apple Hearing Study is a prospective cohort study that is collecting data on environmental and headphone sound exposures and hearing, stress, and cardiovascular outcomes among tens of thousands of adult participants across the United States. The results of our analyses of these complex and highly variable exposures and associated health impacts will help guide public health policy and prevention programs designed to protect and promote public health.
Jan 21, 2022
Kerry Buschel
Director, Experience, Marketing and Insights
WorkSafe BC
Engaging workers and employers in BC about COVID

Designing awareness and education outreach for workers and employers in BC through the pandemic meant having a close relationship with the data around the evolving way people use communication and engagement channels, and with changing perceptions, biases and needs around information related to the pandemic. At WorkSafeBC we have relied on biweekly secondary research updates on changing perceptions and needs, as well as perceptional and operational measurement of the messages we are sharing and the information and tools being used in workplaces with changing health and safety needs. This presentation is a discussion of our engagement design and evolution through the pandemic as a result of the changing needs of the people we serve.

Recording not available

Jan 28, 2022
Christopher Simpson
University of Washington
Occupational Health Hazards in the Cannabis Industry

Over the past decade there has been a dramatic expansion of the Cannabis industry. Although thousands of new employees are joining the workforce each year, very little is known about the occupational hazards and potential health effects for workers involved in Cannabis cultivation. In this presentation I’ll discuss the occupational exposure experienced by cannabis workers, with a focus on respiratory exposures and associated adverse health effects.
Feb 4, 2022
Darryl Quantz
Consultant in Public Health
Fraser Health
A Public Health Response to the Climate and Ecological Crisis

The climate and ecological crisis represent unprecedented threats to population health and governments around the world have declared climate emergencies. Health and social care providers have a crucial role to play in the transformation required to address these threats and this presentation provides an overview of these efforts from a public health perspective recognizing the wider leadership role of health systems as change agents in this agenda.
Feb 11, 2022
Katherine White
PhD Student
University of British Columbia
A comparison of greenspace metrics and measurement methods, and the relationship with neighbourhood walkability and deprivation in Metro Vancouver

Along with other environmental exposures, neighbourhood greenspace and walkability have been linked to numerous health behaviours and health outcomes. There are several different metrics and methods commonly used to quantify neighbourhood exposure to greenspace. This project compares the use of four greenspace metrics and two different measurement methods (circular and network buffers) using 6-digit postal code level data from Metro Vancouver. This project also looks at whether neighbourhood walkability is associated with greenspace exposure, and how these neighbourhood characteristics relate to local area social and material deprivation.
Feb 18, 2022
Lorraine McIntyre
Food Safety Specialist
BC Centre for Disease Control

Marine biotoxin illness concerns in BC


Increasing paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and other biotoxin illnesses linked to shellfish consumption and marine recreational activities may be linked to our changing climate. This talk will review toxins associated with PSP, DSP and ASP, emerging marine toxins, vectors and marine organisms linked to illness.
Feb 25, 2022
No Seminar
Reading Break
Mar 4, 2022
Anita Minh
Post Doctoral Fellow
University of British Columbia
Youth mental health and early adult education and employment
Although adolescence precedes working life, mental health during this period may have a particular influence on the working life course because adolescence is a sensitive period. This research explores the following questions: What is the relationship between young people’s mental health trajectories and their transition to the labour market in young adulthood? How does the influence of adolescent mental health differ across similar but different educational and cultural contexts such as the United States and Canada?
Mar 11, 2022
No Seminar
AIHA Meeting
Mar 18, 2022
Bojosi Gamontle
Client Partner, Exposure Prevention
Fraser Health

Hanchen Chen (Phil)
Client Partner, Exposure Prevention
Fraser Health

Roles of Occupational Hygienist in Healthcare during COVID Pandemic

The presenters will talk about the successes and challenges in managing Occupational Health and Safety programs during the COVID pandemic, as well as the roles and support the occupational hygienists can bring to healthcare industry.

Mar 25, 2022
Melissa Glier
Research Scientist
BC Centre for Disease Control
Using wastewater to test for SARS-CoV-2 and variants as a supplementary COVID-19 surveillance tool
Wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2 in Metro Vancouver has become a vital surveillance tool providing information on community transmission that can be used to initiate interventions and policies to minimize the disease spread as part of the pandemic response. A powerful community-based tool that is independent of healthcare seeking behaviours (i.e., clinical testing, vaccine status) and one that builds on existing COVID-19 surveillance programs.
The presentation will provide an update on the progress pertaining to using wastewater testing as 1) a population-level COVID-19 surveillance tool in Metro Vancouver communities 2) a targeted building-level COVID-19 surveillance tool at UBC residences, and 3) leveraging lessons learned to apply to new projects beyond COVID-19.
Apr 1, 2022
Avi Biswas
Associate Scientist, Institute for Work & Health
Assistant Professor (status), University of Toronto
Physical activity and worker health: what role do working conditions play?
Even with the best of intentions, many workers do not exercise as much as they should. The spillover of strenuous working lives on exercise participation is a reality for many people. Furthermore, increasing evidence suggests that physically strenuous jobs can also be harmful. This presentation will explore research on the relationship between working conditions and exercise and recommend strategies to support more Canadian workers getting the health benefits of exercise.

Speakers for Term 1 (2021-2022)

(Click Date for ICS file)

Mike Brauer

Professor UBC School of Population and Public Health

Sarah Henderson

Associate Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health

Annalee Yassi,

Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health

Highlights of work on COVID-19 pandemic response from OEH faculty members

Description: To kick start the new OEH seminar series, we invited a panel of faculty members from the OEH divisions to talk about their work that contributes to the COVID-19 pandemic response. There will be a 10-minute presentation from each faculty member, followed by a facilitated discussion.

Watch Recording

Stephanie Cleland
ORISE Research Participant, US Environmental Protection Agency

Lauren Wyatt
  Environmental Health Scientist, US Environmental Protection Agency

The Impacts of Short and Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance

Description: Using cognitive performance data from the Lumosity brain training platform, we investigated the cognitive effects of short and long-term exposure to PM2.5, ozone, and wildfire smoke in the contiguous United States (US) for 2017-2018. We found that daily and sub-daily exposure to PM2.5 and smoke was negatively associated with Lumosity performance, with the greatest impacts in the western US and in older adults and males. Annual PM2.5 and O3 was associated with reduced cognitive performance in young adults.

Watch Recording

September 24, 2021

 Cancelled Faculty Retreat
Faraz Vahid Shahidi
Associate Scientist
Institute for Work & Health 

Does receiving unemployment benefits reduce mortality following job loss?

Description: Unemployment insurance is hypothesized to play an important role in mitigating the adverse health effects of joblessness. In this presentation, I test that hypothesis by asking whether receiving unemployment benefits reduces mortality following job loss.

Watch Recording

Chris Harley

UBC Department of Zoology

Be glad you’re not a barnacle: impacts of the 2021 heat dome on seashore life and beyond

Description: The extreme temperatures at the end of June, 2021, triggered an unprecedented die-off of seashore life along the coast of British Columbia. All told, billions of animals – crabs, sea stars, snails, mussels, barnacles – died during the heatwave, and the ecological consequences are still unfolding. Chris will discuss the future outlook for the marine environment, and draw parallels between how people and ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change.

Watch Recording
Glen Kenny
University of Ottawa

Understanding the limits of heat tolerance in vulnerable populations in the face of rising global temperatures

Description: By 2050, average summer temperatures in many areas across Canada will exceed 30°C (humidex equivalent exceeding 40°C). This will be paralleled by a near 5-fold increase in the number of extremely hot days from current levels. In response to this threat to population health, we must advance our understanding of the impacts of heat stress so that we can help Canadians adapt to the impacts of rising temperatures, which includes protecting workers in Ontario’s vital industries. In this presentation, we will examine the unique transformational research conducted by the Human and Environmental Research Unit of the University of Ottawa to define the human physiological tolerance to heat stress and how this practice-changing research is used to generate heat protection solutions to safeguard the health and well-being of all Canadians.

Watch Recording
Anya Keefe
Occupational and Public Health Consultant
Paul Demers
Occupational Cancer Research Centre

Asbestos Management in Canada: Assessing the Need for a National Standard

Description:  Effective management of asbestos is contingent on accurately identifying its location and condition, assessing the risk of exposure to workers and the public, and selecting an appropriate strategy to eliminate or control the risk. This presentation will highlight the findings of a recent research project undertaken for the Canadian Standards Association to explore potential gaps and best practices in asbestos management in Canada and to determine if there is a need for the development of a national standard. Our research identified important gaps and inconsistencies in how asbestos is currently managed in Canada – in particular, in the regulations governing personnel qualifications and competency, thresholds for what constitutes asbestos-containing materials, and the disposal of asbestos-containing materials – and confirmed that there is an appetite for a national asbestos management standard. Such a standard could benefit regulators, employers, workers, and the public alike by creating a transparent and uniform playing field throughout Canada, helping to ensure that asbestos exposure is minimized regardless of where you call home.

Watch Recording
Ivan Kamurasi
MSc Candidate – UBC Experimental Medicine

Assessing exposure to Antigens and Endotoxins in First Nations housing

Description: In collaboration with Carrier Sekani Family Services, we under took a study to determine the presence of common pulmonary antigens and endotoxins in a number of First Nations housing and communities in North Central British Columbia.

Recording not available

November 5, 2021

Karen Bartlett
UBC School of Population and Public Health

Chris Mcleod
Associate Professor
UBC School of Population and Public Health
OEH alumni survey Watch Recording

November 12, 2021


November 19, 2021

Scott Weichenthal
Assistant Professor McGill University

Recent Innovations in Air Pollution Exposure Science: Deep Learning, Alternative Data Streams, and Beyond Particle Mass Concentrations

Description: Health and productivity effects of working from home for Fraser Health employees

Watch Recording

November 26, 2021

Leah Thomas-Olson

Client Partner – Ergonomics, Health and Safety, Fraser Health Authority

Chris Mcleod
Associate Professor
UBC School of Population and Public Health

Health and productivity effects of working from home for Fraser Health employees Watch Recording

December 3, 2021

Cheryl Peters

Research Scientist Alberta Health Services

 The impact of sex and gender on occupational exposure

Description: A vast shift in the Canadian labour force occurred in the 1970s as women increasingly moved into the paid work force, though the types of jobs they took on were narrowly defined. There is a general perception that the gendered division of labour has lessened over time, but has it? Additionally, sex and gender both have influences on the ways in which men and women and gender-nonconforming people experience occupational hazards, but until very recently, safety standards and indeed occupational epidemiology were by and for men only.
This presentation will provide a brief history of the gendered division of labour in Canada and describe the ways that both sex (biology) and gender (social constructs) can influence occupational exposures and disease, using recent and relevant Canadian examples.


Watch Recording
2020-2021 Term one and two

Access past OEH seminar recordings below;

January to April 2020-2021


(Click Date for ICS file)

View Seminar Online

 January 8

No Seminar
January 15

Kate Smith

PhD Candidate

UBC Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Honey, let me tell you about this city! Honey as a biomonitor for lead distribution in urban environments 

Description:  A look at city, regional, and global-scale applications of honey as a record for lead distribution in the environment. Lead isotopes in honey elucidate source-apportionment and distribution of Pb in a range of urban settings: from very young cities (e.g., Vancouver, BC) to cities with millennia-scale history of lead use (Paris, France), and this approach is applicable in both chronic/diffuse pollution settings and after acute lead pollution events.

January 22


Robert Macpherson

Research Associate

Partnership for Work, Health and Safety



Determining hazard management changes in workplaces following workplace safety inspections by WorkSafeBC   

Description: Workplace safety inspections are an important tool for occupational health and safety agencies to ensure compliance with regulation and promote safer workplaces.

This presentation will explore the latest findings from the WorkSafeBC Inspection Experience and Impact Survey to identify what factors best determine hazard management changes following workplace inspections conducted by WorkSafeBC.


January 29

Anne Trudel

Environmental Health & Safety Manager



Occupational and environmental health at a nuclear facility

Description:  TRIUMF is a Class IB nuclear facility and is regulated under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act administered by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The three most significant EHS aspects to operation of TRIUMF’s 520 MeV Accelerator Facility are personnel dose management, emission and environmental monitoring, and plans for site decommissioning. This presentation will review the radiological hazards and mitigation measures at TRIUMF and highlight the challenges in each of the significant areas.

February 5

Stacey Fisher

CIHR Health System Impact Fellow

Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto


Artificial intelligence and machine learning for environmental public health

Description:  Increases in the type, size and complexity of health-related data has presented new opportunities for artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve public health. In this presentation I will provide a general introduction to artificial intelligence and machine learning methods and discuss opportunities and challenges associated with their use in the public health context. Examples will be discussed, including the application of these technologies for prediction of childhood lead poisoning and real-time detection of foodborne illness.


February 12

Ela Rydz

Associate Analyst

CAREX Canada


CAREX Canada: Estimating occupational exposure to pesticides among agricultural workers in Canada.

Description: Certain pesticides have been associated with adverse health outcomes including cancer and reproductive harms. However, little is known about the prevalence of occupational pesticide exposure in Canada. In this seminar, I will present on CAREX Canada’s new estimates of occupational exposure to three commonly used, potentially carcinogenic pesticides (chlorothalonil, 2,4-D, and glyphosate) in Canada’s agricultural industry.

February 19 Reading Break

No Seminar 

February 26

Andrea McCormick

Home & Garden Program Manager

Trail Area Health & Environment Program

Meghan Morris

Public Health Nurse

Interior Health Authority

Clare North,

Superintendent, Environmental Remediation, Teck Metals Ltd



Trail Area Health & Environment Program: Reducing children’s exposure to lead and other smelter metals in the community

Description: The community of Trail has developed around Teck Trail Operations, one of the largest lead and zinc smelters that has been operating for more than a century. Living next door to a smelter has created unique challenges in terms of minimizing exposure to lead in the environment.  The program team will share the comprehensive program in place to improve air quality, support family health and keep homes, gardens and parks healthy and safe (https://thep.ca/).

March 5

Sharon Provost

PhD Candidate

UBC Interdisciplinary Studies


How does it make a difference? A realist evaluation of violence prevention education in healthcare

Description:  This session presents the findings and practical recommendations from a realist evaluation of the education for BC healthcare workers to prevent violence from patients and visitors. Data from interviews and focus groups conducted in nine emergency departments was used to identify explanations of how, why, and in what contexts the education is effective.

Meeting ID:

935 381 5254




March 12 AIHA AGM

No Seminar

March 19

Hao Yin

Postdoctoral Fellow

UBC School of Population and Public Health


Global health economic cost of air pollution: Disproportionate burden on the ageing population

Description:  While all people are exposed to air pollution, older individuals tend to be disproportionally affected. As a result, there is growing concern about the public health impacts of air pollution as many countries undergo rapid population ageing. We investigated the spatial and temporal variation in the health cost of deaths attributable to ambient air pollution, and its interaction with population ageing from 2000 to 2016 at global and regional levels.


Meeting ID:

935 381 5254




March 26

Ingrid Jarvis

PhD Candidate

UBC Faculty of Forestry



The association between cumulative exposure to natural environments and early childhood development – is the relation mediated by reduction in harmful exposures?

Description: This session will present latest research findings from the Born to be Wise project. This project examines the effect of prenatal and early life exposure to natural environments on early childhood health and development. It includes mediation analyses to explore potential indirect health benefits of nature exposure through reduction of air pollution and noise.


Meeting ID:

935 381 5254




April 2 Good Friday

 No Seminar


The best of current research in the Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (OEH) field is presented at these seminars, which run weekly during the academic year. Attendance is mandatory for MSc OEH students. View Certification Maintenance Points information.

Important Note – Presentations may contain provisional unpublished information and must NOT be distributed without explicit permission of the presenter.

Term One September to December 2020-2021


(Click Date for ICS file)

View Seminar Online
September 11

Michael Brauer


UBC School of Population and Public Health

Global projections of potential lives saved from COVID-19 through universal mask use

Description: We conducted a meta-regression to estimate the reduction in respiratory virus transmission from the use of non-medical masks by the general population. We combined this estimate with daily survey data from nearly all countries on the proportion of people reporting always wearing a mask when outside their home as inputs into a deterministic transmission dynamics model to estimate deaths and infections under reference and universal mask use scenarios.

September 18

Angela Eykelbosh

Knowledge Translation Scientist

National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health

Role of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and technologies in the public health response to COVID-19

Description:  As we return to indoor public spaces, there has been intense interest around both the role of ventilation systems in spreading COVID-19, as well as the use of ventilation to reduce transmission. This session will discuss what is known regarding SARS-CoV-2 in the environment, where and how outbreaks are occurring, and will discuss current ventilation recommendations for indoor environments.

September 25

Bronwyn McBride

Research Associate

UBC Centre for Gender and Health Equity

Harms of criminalization of sex work: How Canadian sex work laws shape occupational conditions and labour rights among indoor sex workers.

Description:  As sex work remains criminalized in most countries, sex workers remain excluded from the labour rights and protections extended to workers in other industries. This presentation will explore the implications of criminalization on sex workers’ occupational conditions in the Canadian context.

October 2

Varun Kelkar

PhD Candidate

Environmental Health Engineering

Arizona State University

Microplastics: Ubiquitous and persistent

Description: Fragmentation of day-to-day plastics leads to formation of microplastics. With our ever increasing dependency on plastic products, the threat due to microplastics is now greater than ever. This presentation will describe microplastics, their sources, where they can end up, and their possible health implications

October 9 

Matty Jeronimo

Occupational and Environmental Hygiene Lab Manager

UBC School of Population and Public Health

Ensuring a supply of respiratory protection: Occupational hygiene and development of solutions.

Description: In order to address an urgent PPE shortage, the OEH Laboratory worked with interdisciplinary teams to develop solutions to ensure the ongoing protection of workers. This included testing of decontamination methods for traditionally single-use PPE, developing a novel product to adapt other materials to be used as an elastomeric half-mask respirator cartridge, as well as the commissioning of a new laboratory within Vancouver Coastal Health to test PPE products. Engagement with a wide variety of expertise, including occupational hygiene researchers and local health and safety leaders proved to be essential in this process.

October 16

Catherine Trask


Ergonomics Division

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Sows and cows: Musculoskeletal risk factors in livestock agriculture and large animal veterinary tasks.


Large animal veterinarians are clinical professionals who often perform work literally ‘in the field’, on farms. Their work tasks can be physically demanding, and they have very high rates of upper limb musculoskeletal disorders.  This presentation outlines prevention strategies based on survey and worksite assessments.

October 23

Dany Doiron

Research Associate

McGill University

Urban environmental exposures and deprivation: exploring intersections using CANUE data.

Description:  The Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE) distributes urban environmental exposures to Canadian researchers free of charge. This talk explores the intersections and spatial patterns of nationally standardized walkability, nitrogen dioxide air pollution, greenness and material deprivation data within Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. These analyses allow identification of areas in each city with health-promoting environmental characteristics as well as areas with a confluence of characteristics potentially detrimental to health and demonstrate the potential for environmental data platforms such as CANUE to address questions important in the quest for more equitable and healthier cities.

October 30

Paul Demers


Occupational Cancer Research Centre


Chris McLeod

Associate Professor

UBC School of Population and Public Health

The changing face of mesothelioma in Canada.


We banned asbestos in Canada at the beginning of 2019, but it’s sad legacy will be with us for many years to come. The clearest example of this is mesothelioma, where the number of cases diagnosed annually continues to rise, although the rates appear to have peaked in BC and some other areas of the country. This seminar will examine the changing patterns and trends in the incidence of mesothelioma in Canada.

November 6 

Chris Buse

Postdoctoral Fellow

UBC Centre for Environmental Assessment Research

Cumulative environmental, community and health impacts of multiple land-uses in British Columbia.


Resource development is a principle driver of economic and community development across British Columbia, and new developments interact with past, present and future land-uses in ways that leave lasting legacies for ecosystems, communities and human health. This presentation uses a novel quantitative analysis of cumulative impacts based on the CalEnviroScreen method—a relativistic analysis tool that quantifies environmental pollution, environmental exposures, socioeconomic marginalization and population sensitivity into a single measure of cumulative impacts. Challenges and opportunities will be discussed, drawing on feedback from 10 community engagement sessions organized in resource dependent communities in the north.

November 13 

David McVea

Canadian Field Epidemiology Program

Public Health Agency of Canada

BC Centre for Disease Control


Melissa Glier

Research Associate

BC Centre for Disease Control, Public Health Laboratory​

Measuring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater to supplement COVID surveillance in BC communities


People infected with SARS-CoV-2 shed it via stool, and it can be detected in wastewater systems of municipalities with COVID outbreaks. We discuss whether this presents a risk to wastewater workers and how SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater can be used detect and monitor COVID outbreaks.

November 20

Gary Mallach

Air Effects Scientist

Health Canada

In-vehicle air filtration and acute changes in cardiopulmonary and cognitive function among healthy adults.


We measured commuters’ exposure to air pollutants in rush-hour traffic and evaluated whether this exposure could be reduced by cabin air filtration. Also, we looked at effects on cardiopulmonary health, as well as cognition (mental processing and judgement), examining whether cabin air filtration reduced exposure to traffic related air pollutants and improved short term cardiopulmonary and cognitive function. Results will provide information about air pollution’s effects on cognition, an area of growing concern, while testing a potentially valuable and economical means of reducing exposure to traffic related air pollution in a commuting environment.

Recording not available
November 27

Eric Lavigne

Senior Epidemiologist

Health Canada

The burden of heat-related mortality attributable to recent climate change.

Description:  The aim of this presentation is to present latest research conducted in Canada and across the globe on the human health impacts that have already occurred due to climate change. The presentation will focus on empirical data from 732 locations in 43 countries that estimated the mortality burdens associated with the additional heat exposure that has resulted from recent (1991-2018) warming.

The best of current research in the Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (OEH) field is presented at these seminars, which run weekly during the academic year. Attendance is mandatory for MSc OEH students. View Certification Maintenance Points information.

Important Note – Presentations may contain provisional unpublished information and must NOT be distributed without explicit permission of the presenter.

2019-2020 Term one and two

Term Two  –   January to April 2020

View Seminar Online
Jan 10  NO SEMINAR Cascadia Conference 2020: For more information, click here N/A
Jan 17 Cancelled


Jan 24 Sonja Senthanar

Postdoctoral Fellow        School of Population and Public Health

Effects of work injury and RTW on family of precariously employed workers

The impact of work injury and the return to work process on family members of injured workers has often been characterized in the context of standard than precarious jobs. Drawing on 19 in-depth interviews with precariously employed workers and employers, we identified three areas where workers’ compensation policy and employer processes did not fit well with the situations of precarious workers in Ontario. Consequently responsibility fell on family members to provide instrumental and financial support while

Click here to view the webinar
Jan 31 Patrick Baylis

Assistant Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Understanding Defensive Health Behavior: Evidence from Pollution Masks in Delhi.

Air pollution in Delhi, India is among the highest in the world, but few residents choose to self-protect using particulate filtering masks. In this project, results were documented from two field experiments designed to understand the factors influencing mask use. In the first, differences in income levels and experimental variation in information, experience with masks, and perception of social norms were found to affect respondents’ likelihood to purchase masks, but demand remained low relative to other highly polluted cities. The second intervention took advantage of a public intervention of unprecedented scale: the Delhi municipal government distributed 5 million masks during the 2018/2019 pollution season. Mask effectiveness and social acceptance beliefs did not seem to change in this intervention.

Click here to view the webinar
Feb 7  Trevor Peckham

PHD Student, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington

Precarious Employment and Health in the United States

The dramatic changes in the organization of work over the last several decades—including the general shift toward more flexible and competitive employment practices—have not been adequately examined from a public health perspective. To do so, traditional models of work and health research need to be expanded beyond a sole focus on work tasks or physical and social environments to include the relational and contractual aspects of employment that may also impact health. Here we examine the association between the multidimensional construct of employment quality (EQ)—defined as the terms and conditions of the employment relationship, such as contract type, wage/benefit levels, and employee representation—and workers’ health in two nationally representative U.S. surveys. Using cross-sectional data from the General Social Survey and a latent class analysis measurement approach, we identify eight disparate patterns of EQ.

Click here to view the Recorded Seminar
Feb 14  Michael Brauer

Professor, UBC

Health and the built environment: Looking to the future

Just over 50% of the global population is urbanized, with cities expected to absorb all future population growth. In general, urban populations are healthier, with improved access to services and healthcare. Densely populated cities also play a key role in efforts to reduce emissions related to global warming. Yet, cities face significant challenges, especially those in the rapidly developing megacities of low and middle income countries. Urban design and management and the ways that we interact with this “built environment” can profoundly impact health. Air pollution, noise, mobility options and land-use, among others, play a role and interact in multiple, complex ways.  Understanding these interactions and using this knowledge to shape our cities as they grow has the potential improve population health and build resilience to climate change.  In this presentation I will review a number of analyses using cohorts and linked administrative data combined with geospatial estimates of environmental exposure to examine built environment-health linkages, describe emerging trends, and discuss implications for population health

Click here to view the Recorded Seminar
Feb 21  No Seminar  Reading Week (Feb 18 – 21) N/A
Feb 28 Emily Gummell

MPH, School of Population and Public Health, UBC

Anxiety, Access and Trust: Communicating with new mothers about infant vaccination

Information use in vaccination decision-making has evolved with the movement toward patient activation coupled with the arrival of online and social content sharing. Effective risk communication requires understanding the information seeking, assessment and use of specific vaccine-hesitant populations. This study applied ethnographic research methods to identified communities of low vaccine uptake in order to improve public health communication with new mothers at risk for vaccine hesitancy.

Click here to view the webinar
Mar 6  Pierre Tanquay

Health, Safety and Advisor, UBC Faculty of Medicine

Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees at UBC Vancouver – then and now.

This presentation explores WorkSafeBC requirements regarding workplace Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees – and how the systems for meeting these requirements have evolved at UBC.

click here to view the webinar
Mar 13 No Seminar AIHA AGM Meeting
Mar 20  Matilda van den Bosch Urban natural spaces and public health: a matter of challenges or common sense?

Over the last decade, research on human health impacts of urban natural spaces has rapidly developed. An increasing number of epidemiological studies demonstrates direct and indirect health benefits by exposure to urban green and blue spaces. While these studies have significantly contributed to confirming associations between nature exposure and various health outcomes, a number of challenges remain before evidence on mechanisms and causality can be established. These challenges range from uncertainty about optimal exposure measures to what physiological effects can be expected from nature contact. Nevertheless, the side effects of “urban green interventions” occur limited. By taking also co-benefits, such as increased biodiversity and climate change mitigation from urban natural spaces, into account there seems to be little to lose from a policy perspective by advocating for more natural spaces in our cities, although the evidence is still insufficient. This presentation will provide an outline of the current evidence level and present research challenges in on-going studies around urban nature and human health. It will also discuss the prevailing discourse around pathways and mechanisms. Finally, the goal is to initiate a debate around opportunities and risks with taking a “nothing-to-lose” approach to urban green initiatives across the world.

Click here to view the webinar
Mar 27 Hugh Davies Advancing surveillance protocols for antineoplastic drug exposures in health care settings

Abstract: The number of people receiving antineoplastic drug treatment for cancer is increasing as the population ages and more people are diagnosed with cancer. While these drugs are powerful tools in the fight against cancer exposure to these drugs can also cause genetic damage miscarriages and cancer in otherwise healthy people. Despite the dissemination of safe handling practices, healthcare workers and others such as veterinarians continue to be exposed through surface contamination. Guidelines such as USP Chapter 800 call for routine workplace surveillance but do not provide detailed guidance on how this should be done  or how to interpret surface wipe samples.  The SURveillance For AntiCancer drugs Exposure Study (SurFACES) sampled up to 20 different surfaces monthly at nine facilities in the US and Canada for one year, and obtained 2000 samples, each tested for 11 antineoplastic drugs.  In this presentation we will characterize exposures found at the sites, discuss spatial and temporal patterns and determinants of exposures, and discuss how the findings can be used to provide improved AD surveillance guidance to practitioners.

Click here to view the webinar
View Seminar Online
Sept 6 Chris McLeod
Associate Professor and Head, Occupational and Environmental Health Division
Towards a vision on the future of occupational and environmental health in British Columbia: Beginning the conversation

As incoming head of OEH division Dr. McLeod will outline his thoughts and ideas on current and future training and research needs in the area of occupational and environmental health. This will be an interactive presentation using online polling technology and social media to start a conversation to identify and stimulate action around this important topic.

Click here to view the webinar

For interactive questions and polling app go to https://www.sli.do/

Event code is 9746

Sept 13 Angela Yao
PhD Candidate
Assessing Sub-Daily Exposure to Wildfire Smoke and its Public Health Effects in British Columbia
Inhaling smoke emitted by wildfires can affect human health. This is a growing concern for public health as wildfires will occur more frequently and affect more communities under the changing climate. This research aimed to improve our ability to monitor wildfire smoke exposures every hour at different locations in British Columbia during wildfire seasons, and to study whether more people call the ambulance during hours with more smoke. The findings show that ambulance calls for heart and lung conditions increased within one hour of exposure to smoke, while calls for diabetic conditions increased after 24 hours. These results suggest that the health effects from wildfire smoke can occur soon after exposure, and actions to reduce exposure should be taken promptly.
Click here to view the recorded seminar
Sept 20 Anya Keefe, MSc
Occupational & Public Health Consultant
Determining causation and creating an exposure history for long latency occupational disease claims – challenges and practical tools

Despite studies showing that occupational exposures are responsible for approximately 2 to 10 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer cases, many cancers are not recognized as being work-related and consequently not filed with the workers’ compensation system. This presentation will provide an overview of the challenges and potential solutions in better establishing evidence of exposure that not only shows medical causation, but also meets the test of legal causation. It will discuss the role of epidemiology in determining a general causal link between a disease and an occupational exposure as well as the need to build a comprehensive occupational history to answer the question of whether an individual work developed the disease as a result of their job.

Click here to view the recorded seminar
Sept 27 Cancelled Climate Strike Day
For more info follow link
Oct 4 Andrea Jones
PhD Candidate
Anxiety and Depression disorders among workers with Musculoskeletal injury in British Columbia
Anxiety and depression are leading causes of global disability and frequently co-occur with physical health conditions. The purpose of this research was to describe the occurrence of anxiety and depression disorders among workers with musculoskeletal work injury in British Columbia, and to investigate the impacts of these disorders on work disability outcomes. Approximately 1 in 10 men and 3 in 10 women were found to have a recent or current anxiety or depression disorder at the time of musculoskeletal work injury, and both pre-existing and new onset anxiety and depression disorders were associated with longer work disability. Collectively these results support the inclusion of anxiety and depression disorders as part of the disability management plan for workers with musculoskeletal work injury.
Click here to view the webinar
Oct 11 Erin McDuffie, PhD – Atmospheric Chemistry

Dalhousie University | Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science
Quantifying the burden of disease from major sources of ambient fine particulate matter:   Insights from an atmospheric chemist

Air pollution, specifically fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in outdoor air, is recognized by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) as the leading environmental risk factor for human health, attributable to 7.5% of all deaths in 2016. To reduce exposure to ambient PM2.5, contributions from major emission sources must be quantified. Previous studies have identified coal and residential emissions as dominant sources in polluted regions in Asia and fossil fuel emissions as dominant global sources. These studies, however, have been limited to particular regions or have focused on large, aggregate emission sectors. Here, we expand upon previous work and utilize recent updates to anthropogenic emission inventories and atmospheric chemical transport modeling to quantify the source- and fuel-specific PM2.5 exposure levels for all 195 countries and territories currently included in the GBD. This presentation will focus on methods used to quantify PM2.5 exposure levels and discuss ongoing collaborations to quantify the burden of disease from all major sources.

Click here to view the webinar
Oct 18 Occupational & Environmental Hygiene students to present on their 2019 Summer Practicums 1:00pm           Minal PachchigarDrinking Water Contamination in a Downtown Vancouver Building
A tenant at a downtown Vancouver (DTV) building requested consulting company services for the collection of water samples in response to tenant staff concerns regarding drinking water quality.  Potable water quality tests were conducted over four days to investigate the cause and provide recommendations.
1:15pm           Ehsan Hemmativaghef – Assessment of Occupational Exposures during Laser Engraving
Occupational exposures to total and respirable dust, methyl methacrylate, VOCs, formaldehyde and noise during laser engraving and cutting of acrylic based sheets was evaluated based on NIOSH and WorkSafeBC methods. Personal exposure to formaldehyde was found to have the highest risk rate (3 out of 4) followed by respirable dust and noise (2 out of 4). Recommendations for improvement include establishing a preventive maintenance for ventilation systems as well as provision of ventilation system for the supply and distribution of air in the workplace
1:30pm           Soham ParelkarNoise Sampling at a BC Health Authority
This project examined the noise exposure associated with various occupations through personal noise monitoring at a BC Health Authority
Click here to view the webinar

Click on presenters name below for personal Evaluation Form




Oct 25 Occupational & Environmental Hygiene students to present on their 2019 Summer Practicums 1:00pm  Aaron AgyemanPrevention and FSII officers exposure to TENORM in oil and gas.

Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) in oil and gas processing develop from the pre-concentration and distribution of radionuclides in oil ad gas. Radionuclides continue to undergo radioactive decay causing the release of alpha, beta and gamma radiation which are harmful to human health. Worksafe field officers conduct investigation and inspections in environments contaminated with TENORM. Therefore, to ascertain compliance and the protection of health and safety a study was conducted to investigate the extent of radioactive exposure for officers during their mandated work.

1:15pm      Arthur LeungHealth Hazard Exposure Survey of Workers in Aluminum Pot Lining

A health hazard survey was conducted at the Lining Facility located in an aluminum smelting facility, as no exposure monitoring has been performed in the past. This health hazard assessment aims to accomplish the following:

  • Stratify the workers into Similar Exposure Groups (SEG);
  • Determine compliance with regulatory exposure limits;
  • Identify tasks associated with highest exposures;
  • Recommend appropriate controls.

1:30pm Hongjie Yu – Respiratory silica and noise exposure survey of employees in building product industry”.

During the summer co-op in 2019, industrial hygiene surveys were taken at a large North American building product company. Employees’ respiratory silica and noise exposures were measured. Results suggest that employees working as ground men and tower operators are at risk of silica and noise overexposure.

1:45pm         Sana Javaheri –  Occupational Exposure Limit for Hydrogen Sulphide in British Columbia’s Mines.

The purpose of this project was to propose a new worker exposure limit for hydrogen sulphide (H2S) in Table 2-1 of the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in BC. This was achieved by identifying sources of H2S in BC mines, evaluating the H2S exposures of worker involved in these processes, assessing the accuracy of electrochemical direct reading instruments (DRIs),conducting a literature review of the health effects, reviewing the exposure limits set in other jurisdictions to evaluate their underlying evidence and rationale, and investigating the feasibility of a new limit with regards to practicality of implementation.

Click here to view the webinar

Click on presenters name below for personal Evaluation Form

: Aaron





Nov 1 Dr. Lawrence Frank,
Bombardier Chair Professor Transportation & Health SPPH, UBC
Where Matters:  The Health and Economic Impacts of Where We Live

There is a public health crisis happening right now. Total health expenditure in Canada was estimated to be up to $253.5 billion ($6,839 per person) for 2018. This represents 11% of Canada’s gross domestic product according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. For example, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes place tremendous pressure on our healthcare system.  There is an increasing consensus that the postal code of the neighbourhood where we live is as important as our genetic code. Studies have shown that land-use decisions and transportation investments to enhance neighborhood walkability and access to green space can significantly affect how you travel and your physical activity, and exposure to air pollution, traffic safety and crime, and noise.  Very few studies have examined how transportation investment, neighbourhood walkability and access to green space are associated with less chronic disease and lower health care cost.  To date, existing evidence used to inform major transportation investment decisions have rarely accounted for the potential health impacts and related costs of these factors.

The Where Matters Study aims to incorporate health into local and regional policy-making by examining the multiple pathways linking the way our communities are planned and designed with people’s travel and physical activity patterns, chronic disease risk and health care cost.

Click here to view the recorded seminar
Nov 8 Matt Shupler

4th year PhD Candidate

The PURE Air Study: A multinational examination of household air pollution concentrations & primary fuel switching determinants

Approximately 2.5 billion individuals (~40% of global population), primarily in rural areas of Asia (>1.5 billion), Sub-Saharan Africa (>500 million) and Latin America (>50 million) are exposed to harmful household air pollution (HAP) from cooking and heating with polluting fuels (e.g. wood, crop waste, animal dung, coal) in rudimentary stoves. Exposure to HAP was the second highest environmental risk factor in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2017, with an estimated 1.6 million attributable deaths annually. Residential combustion of polluting fuels is also a major contributor to outdoor air pollution and emissions of climate-forcing agents, including up to one-third of global anthropogenic emissions of black carbon.

Few multinational studies have examined multilevel (e.g. household, community, national) factors associated with households switching from polluting to clean (gas, electric) primary cooking fuels. Longitudinal epidemiological studies of HAP exposure are also sparse due to the financial and time intensity associated with such studies. The Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE)-Air study, one of the largest HAP exposure assessments to-date, was carried out among rural communities of eight countries: Bangladesh, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Pakistan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The study design enabled an examination of physical, environmental and contextual determinants of primary cooking fuel switching and household air pollution concentrations. The concentrations measured in the PURE-Air study will be used in one of the largest epidemiological analyses of cardiovascular and respiratory disease burden due to cooking and heating with polluting fuels.

Click here to view the recorded seminar
Nov 15 Seminar Cancelled
Nov 22 Dr Alex Bigazzi

Assistant Professor, UBC Dept. of Civil Engineering and School of Community and Regional Planning

A closer look at energy expenditure and pollution inhalation during urban cycling: Physics, physiology, and travel behaviour

Although urban cycling is widely known and promoted as physically active transportation, the actual physics of utilitarian cycling have been given little attention in transportation engineering and planning. In contrast, the field of sports science has developed detailed data and models of road bicycle performance, but only for sport and racing cyclists. What can we learn about utilitarian cycling by integrating knowledge of the physical attributes of bicycles and cyclists? Findings will be presented from recent and ongoing studies aiming to quantify these relationships and enhance travel analysis tools with an understanding of the physical aspects of cycling.

Click here to view the recorded seminar
Nov 29 Jennie Christensen Can a single strand of hair be used to monitor exposure to toxic metals?

Hair is a growing keratinous tissue comprised of sulfur. As such, the sulfur in the hair can bind the many elements present in circulating blood, including toxic metals. Since hair is metabolically inert once formed, the elements retained in the tissue become locked in, so as the hair grows it can record changes in blood element concentrations over time. Using laser ablation on single strands of hair, exposure histories can be revealed for toxic metals. But, there are some caveats, including external contamination by air, water, and hair treatments. Here we will discuss occupational exposure to lead and other metals, compare hair and blood concentrations, effects of contamination on hair concentrations, examine another growing keratinous tissue (nails) for metal monitoring, and provide forensic case studies from an inadvertent poisoning event, and the historic Franklin Expedition.

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2018-2019 Term one and two
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January 4 No Seminar
January 11 No Seminar Cascadia Conference   https://www.spph.ubc.ca/about/cascadia/
January 18 Dr. Anders Erickson Disease assimilation: the loss of the healthy immigrant advantage over time with exposure to fine particulate matter Click here to view recorded seminar
January 25 Dr Hind Sbihi
The role of microbiome and built environment on asthma development Click here to view the webinar
February 1 Jessica Yu
PhD Candidate
Mapping spatial patterns in vulnerability to climate change-related health hazards Click here to view recorded seminar
February 8 Baytalan Greg

Interior Health – Community Health and Services Centre

Occupational Health & Safety, Common Indoor Radon Levels and the New 2017 International Commission on Radiological Protection, Alpha Radiation to Lung Tissue Effective Dose Coefficient Click here to view recorded seminar
February 15 Dr. Andrew Clarke Psychological Safety in Health Care Workplaces Click here to view recorded seminar
February 22

No Seminar

Reading Week

No seminar
March 1 Emily J. Rugel M.P.H Modeling exposure to natural spaces as a factor in mental health and social interaction across metro Vancouver Click here to view recorded seminar
March 8 Sharon Provost

PhD Candidate

Michelle Naimi

Research Coordinator

Is it making a difference: Why, how, & for whom? A realist review of violence prevention education in healthcare
Click here to view the webinar
March 15 No Seminar AIHABC – Annual General Meeting    for further details click here
No seminar
March 22 Emily S. Acheson, MSc, PhD candidate, Dept of Geography, UBC
Exploring links between deforestation and the 1999 outbreak of Cryptococcus gattii on Vancouver Island Click here to view the webinar
March 29 Kim McLeod, PhD student Workplace Safety inspections in British Columbia Click here to view the webinar

2018-2019 Friday Seminars – Term One – September – December 2018

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September 7 Dr. Brian Ng WorkSafe BC:  How Physicians, Hygiene Officers, and Case Managers work together to manage a claim Click here to view the webinar  
September 14 Dr. Parveen Bhatti A Target for Cancer Prevention Among Shift Workers Click here to view the webinar 
September 21 Dr. Yuhao Lu People and Pixels Click here to view recorded seminar
September 28 Dr. Ben Wheeler Are greener (and bluer) cities really better for health? Interdisciplinary perspectives informing environment and public health policy” Click here to view the webinar
October 5 Dr. Robert MacPherson How does geography matter for return-to-work after work-related injury Click here to view the webinar 
October 12 Brian Campbell Development, programs and initiatives of the BC Federation of Labour Occupational Health and Safety Centre Click here to view the webinar 
October 19 Dr. Ajay Pillarisetti (Candidate for UBC Assistant Professor position in Environmental Health) Postdoctoral Scholar Environmental Health Sciences, University of California, Berkeley Household Energy & Health In India and Beyond: Strengthening the Case for Clean Household Energy with Measurements and Modeling Click here to view the webinar

Please click here for a survey evaluation for the presentation
October 26 Dr. Jana Hirsch (Candidate for UBC Assistant Professor position in Environmental Health) Assistant Research Professor, Urban Health Collective, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia Planning for Health: Constructing Evidence for the Built Environment’s Influence on Health and Health Equity
Click here to view the webinar
Please click here for a survey evaluation for the presentation
November 2 Dr. Kate Weinberger

(Candidate for UBC Assistant Professor position in Environmental Health)  Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Public Health, Brown University

Preventing heat-related morbidity and mortality in a warming world
Click here to view the webinar
Please click here for a survey evaluation for the presentation
November 9 Dr. Lorien Nesbitt Human faces, forest places: Urban forestry in multicultural cities
Click here to view recorded seminar
November 16 Dr. Hugh Davies Surveillance for Occupational Exposures to antineoplastic Drug in Hospital Settings in Alberta and Minnesota Click here to view recorded seminar
November 23 Leela Steiner, PhD Candidate  National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health Growing at Home: Health and Safety Concerns for Personal Cannabis Cultivation
Click here to view recorded seminar
2017-2018 Term one and two
View Seminar Online
September 8 Jesse Cooper The role of hospital toilets in microbial dissemination and the effectiveness of ultraviolet C irradiation Not available
September 15 Chris McLeod Developing an effective occupational health and safety management system. A provincial, national, and international perspective. Click here to view the recorded seminar
September 22 Mieke Koehoorn Does gender matter to occupational health and safety? Not available
September 29 Matthew Wagstaff Monitoring Residential Woodsmoke in BC Click here to view the recorded seminar
October 6 Xibiao Ye Epidemiology of hematologic cancers: the role of environment, occupation, and medications Click here to view the recorded seminar
October 13 Byron Gates Engineered Nanomaterials in the Workplace Environment: A Perspective Not available
October 20 Anders Erickson How low to go? Assessing the health effects of low levels of air pollution. The Mortality Air Pollution Associations in Low Exposure environments (MAPLE) project. Click here to view the recorded seminar
October 27 Karen Bartlett Indoor air quality and health in Canadian First Nations communities Click here to view the recorded seminar
November 3 Carolyn Sparrey The effect of environmental exposure on the performance of fall arrest systems Click here to view the recorded seminar
November 10 Sara Adar From Tailpipe to Windpipe: Characterizing the Health Impacts of Pollution from Motor Vehicles Not available
November 17 Prabjit Barn A Randomized Controlled Trial of HEPA Filter Air Cleaner Use and Fetal Growth in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Click here to view the recorded seminar
November 24 Abigail Overduin Ergonomic Case Studies: Successes & Challenges Click here to view the recorded seminar

Technical Information

System Requirements

Traditional computers:

  • macOS X with macOS X (10.10) or later
  • Windows 11*
    *Note: Windows 11 is supported on version 5.9.0 or higher. 
  • Windows 10*
    *Note: Devices running Windows 10 must run Windows 10 Home, Pro, or Enterprise. S Mode is not supported.
  • Windows: Edge 12+, Firefox 27+, Chrome 30+
  • macOS: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+, Chrome 30+

Mobile devices and tablets:

  •  iOS 8.0* or later:
    • Send and receive video using front or rear camera
    • iPhone 4 or later, iPad Pro, iPad Mini, iPad 2 or later, iPod touch 4th Generation, iPhone 3GS (no front facing camera)
  • iPadOS 13 or later
  • Android 5.0x or later
Technical Issues

We cannot diagnose remote technical issues on the day of the seminar.

However, we are happy to confer with you or your IT support staff regarding our configuration ahead of time. Please contact spph.it@ubc.ca at least three business days before the next seminar.