Meet the Team
PLANETARY HEALTH WEEKLY
Elisabeth is passionate about collaborating with others to address complex systemic issues to improve the lives of marginalized populations. She is currently a Project Officer for the Green Spaces programme at the United Nations Association in Canada. In the past, she has worked for not-for-profit organizations such as Community Innovation Lab, Stephen Lewis Foundation and Médecins Sans Frontières. She holds a Master of Science in Global Health from McMaster University. Her thesis focused on the facilitators and barriers to food security that influence dietary changes among refugees. When she is not volunteering with Planetary Health Weekly or the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research’s Students and Young Professionals Network, you can find her enjoying a good board game with friends, learning a language (currently taking Spanish classes), experimenting with food, or jogging around town.
Quebec City, QUE
Beware, diversity is addictive! Gaël has fallen in this potion when he was still a young Marseillais. He is currently quenching his thirst in medicine (class of 2022), at Laval University, where he developed an interest for a healthcare that transcends boundaries: global health. He confirmed his interest while on the executive board of a student international NGO. Because he wanted to know more about global health (and planetary health) and to share it with others, he joined the Planetary Health Weekly team in 2019. Gaël is currently in charge of the PHW website, and may be working on it as you are reading these lines—but he could also be curiously attending some optional classes in school, forgetting the outside world as he opens a book in the library, suffering (but smiling) while completing a triathlon, being amazed by a new culture somewhere far away… In any case, don’t hesitate to reach out to him to share your thoughts on global health or to make suggestions for our website. Enjoy your reading, and thank you for wanting to know more than you did yesterday!
To complete my introduction, I want to add that I am not just into medicine (and global health); I enjoy literature (both reading and writing), psychology (my true love—everyone’s mind is such a rich, complex, unique treasure!), philosophy, triathlon, environmental issues, social justice… Maybe that will resonate with some of you. I’ll read your blurbs with interest when uploading them on the website.
Giacomo Di Donato
Jay D. Kravitz
During his 22-year professorial tenure as a practitioner and advocate for global health education, Dr. Kravitz sought to teach about the interdependence of public health and medical practice in more austere global settings. He also served as a county Public Health Officer for 11 years in the state of Oregon, USA.
His overriding philosophy emphasizes major influences that affect health – and the origins of many diseases: integrating the multiple “environments” in which we live. In stressed or impoverished settings the means to sustain health may be severely limited. Solutions may not have a medical model; but rather based on social determinants of health, including equitable access to culturally responsive health care and quality education.
He earned degrees in economics and medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans and then attended The London School of Economics and Political Science. Early in his career, as an emergency physician, he worked in refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border in 1979-80 during the Khmer Rouge period; in displaced persons centers during the 1985 Ethiopian famine; and conducted a needs assessment in the aftermath of the catastrophic 1985 Mexico City earthquake.
These experiences inspired Dr. Kravitz to change careers because while he understood the challenges of acute care medicine, he desired to comprehend and integrate the bigger picture, clinical medicine being only part of the story. With Public Health his calling, he earned a Masters of Public Health (MPH) at the University of Washington, while conducting health services research in Zimbabwe. He was also co-investigator of a comprehensive, environmental and health research project in Lesotho in the early 1990s.
His curiosity regarding self-sufficiency mechanisms led him to design and build homes, both on and off the grid, gaining insight about environmental systems that might be beneficial overseas.
And he believes that everyone should ride a bicycle! 🙂
David is a somewhat retired professor of global health and ecology. Having worked in several Canadian and overseas universities (Toronto, McGill, Alberta & Ryerson and now back at UofT as an Adjunct Professor) and in some 45 countries on global health related research and development. He has also led a Canadian NGO, Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief, and at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC in Ottawa) and the Canadian Public Health Association, as well as Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, as director of global health and a WHO collaborating centre for international nursing development. His PhD research in organization behaviour and health services management was carried out in Mexico related to Community Participation in Primary Health Care. A similar MSc was done in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Mexico. He also relies much on his Master of Environmental Studies from York University and BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Saskatchewan. In addition to founding, editing and publishing the Planetary Health Weekly he works on R&D projects in Mozambique, Uganda, Niger and Laos, and teaches a fourth year global health course at York University, Toronto.