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Canadian Public Health Association

Ecological Determinants Group on Education (EDGE)


The Ecological Determinants Group on Education (EDGE) aims to bring together public health and allied professionals, researchers and educators with interest and expertise in the ecological determinants of health (EDH) to promote the integration of EDH with public health education, training, and professional development, attending to issues of content as well as issues of pedagogy (and the alignment between these). The audiences targeted include partner agencies (e.g. Community of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Health-Canada, Canadian Public Health Association, Public Health Agency of Canada, National Collaborating Centres for Public Health, Network of Schools and Programs of Population and Public Health), Public Health professionals, practitioners and educators, policy makers and students in Canada and internationally. 

The Ecological Determinants of Health

The term ecological determinants of health (EDH) is meant to be inclusive in terms of perspectives, theoretical orientation, and respect for diverse knowledge cultures. A focus on EDH is intended to be complementary to the near-ubiquitous use of social determinants of health (SDH) in public health research, education and practice and the need for increased emphasis on the ecological factors and dynamic (eco)systemic influences on health in combination with social, cultural, political and related factors. The attention to EDH is also in keeping with the rapidly emerging and populated conceptual space that includes, but extends beyond, ecohealth, ecosystem approaches to health, planetary health, healthy settings, ecosyndemics, one health, healthy parks healthy people, landscapes and health etc. An EDH approach is also informed by holistic, Indigenous perspectives on health and wellness.

About EDGE

The Ecological Determinants Group on Education (EDGE), is a direct response to CPHA’s 2015 discussion document Global Change and Public Health: Addressing the Ecological Determinants of Health. Key features of our initial phase of work are summarized in documents below and in a 2019 Commentary in the Canadian Journal of Public Health:

Parkes, MW., Poland, B., Allison, S., Cole, D., Culbert, I., Gislason, MK., Hancock, T., Howard, C., Papadopoulos, A., Waheed, F. (2019) Preparing for the future of public health: The ecological determinants of health and the call for an eco-social approach to public health education. Canadian Journal of Public Health. DOI: 10.17269/s41997-019-00263-8.

Steering Committee

A steering committee meets, virtually, three to four times per year, with the intention to meet in person annually, if possible, often at CPHA's annual conference. The Steering Committee includes representation from CPHA, the Network of Schools and Programs of Population and Public Health (NSPPPH), the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH), the Canadian Community of Practice in Ecosystems Approaches to Health in Canada (CoPEH-Canada), and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE).

Initial Steering Committee Membership: Margot Parkes (co-chair), Blake Poland (co-chair), Sandra Allison, Donald Cole, Ian Culbert, Maya Gislason, Margo Greenwood, Trevor Hancock, Courtney Howard, Sarah de Leeuw, Andy Papadopoulos and Faiza Waheed.


The following areas of emphasis were selected as an initial focus for the work of EDGE: graduate curriculum development; continuing professional development for those working in public health; and training/education for health care professionals. A provisional working group structure was created to reflect these initial areas of emphasis. Some groups have been more active than others, and all this remains a work in progress. Membership is not closed, and is subject/open to change over time.

Graduate curriculum development (for MPH and related graduate programs) & core competencies (Working Group 1)

Working Group 1 advises on the development and delivery of core curriculum regarding EDH to be considered ‘minimum standard’ for MPH programs related to graduate public health training. The group also identifies needs and opportunities for the future development of mechanisms and approaches to building public health competencies related to the EDH and works to enhance practice through creation of spaces for collective deepening of education and training practice (content and pedagogy) for those ready to move beyond minimum standards.

  • Co-Leads: Andrew Papadopoulos & Maya Gislason 
  • Members: Donald Cole, Susan Cox, Warren Dodd, Lindsay Galway, Craig Janes, Lesley Johnston, Charlotte Lombardo, Wanda Martin, Jeff Masuda, Lindsey Vold, Lauren Wallar, Annalee Yassi, Mary-Jane Yates

Continuing professional development for those already working in public health (Working Group 2)

Working Group advises on the development and implementation of continuing professional development activities on EDH for public health practitioners already in the field.

  • Co-Leads: Sandra Allison & Faiza Waheed
  • Members: Jason Cabaj, Charles (Chuck) Gardner, Andre LaPrairie, Shannon Majowicz, Margot Parkes, Jane Parmley, Johanne Saint-Charles

Targeted training & education for health care professionals (Working Group 3)

Working Group 3 advises on the development and implementation of curriculum development, training, degree and post-degree continuing professional development activities on EDH for health care and health sector professionals.

  • Co-chairs: Courtney Howard
  • Members: Shona Lalonde, Claudel Petrin-desrosiers, Ashley Bowering, Serena Gaiga, Tanys Latham, Marg Sanborn, Yassen Tcholakov, Dulcie Thomson, Bob Woollard,  and HEART group members Finola Hackett and Willow Thickson

A Brief History of the foundations of EDGE (2015-2018)



  • During 2016, a group interested in carrying forward a specific "education committee" focused on teaching, training, continuing professional development dimensions of this work. Blake Poland (University of Toronto) and Margot Parkes (University of Northern British Columbia) agreed to co-chair this. Trevor Hancock remains actively involved.    
  • On June 12, prior to Public Health 2016 in Toronto, the inaugural meeting of EDGE was held. During the conference there were several key activities: 
    • A pre-conference workshop focused on the teaching and training implications of the report. This event was co-hosted by the CPHA Ecological Determinants of Health Working Group; CoPEH-Canada; and the Network of Schools and Programs of Population and Public Health (NSPPPH). This event had 80 registrants and yielded clear interest from participants in working on key components.
    • A presentation to the Network of Schools of Population and Public Health, by Trevor Hancock, Blake Poland and Margot Parkes regarding ongoing collaboration with NSPPPH on this topic; Continuation of interactions with Sarah de Leeuw and Margo Greenwood (who was in Europe during the conference) about the importance of NCCAH being actively part of this initiative.


  • In August 2017, EDGE members undertook the development of a discussion document on EDH education in Canada, outlining needs, challenges and assets. The document presents the results of a preliminary scan of needs and capacity in relation to Ecological Determinants of Health in the context of Teaching and Training in Public Health in Canada. 


  • In February 2018, EDGE launched its web page hosted on CPHA's website. The web page aims to refer audiences to learn more about EDGE and direct them to other resources relevant to education and training relevant to the EDH. 
  • Following Public Health 2018, EDGE released the discussion paper: Ecological Determinants Group on Education (2018) “Ecological Determinants of Health in Public Health Education in Canada: A Scan of Needs, Challenges and Assets.” Parkes M.W., Poland, B (Lead Authors); Allison S, Cole, D., Culbert I., de Leeuw S., Gislason M., Hancock T., Howard C., Koropeski, J., La Prairie, A., Greenwood, M., Papadopoulos, A., Naeem, A., Waheed F (Contributing Authors).


Contact us

Have questions? Interested in learning more about EDGE? Contact the co-chairs, Blake Poland at or Margot Parkes at

External Resources and Links

EDGE seeks to profile and leverage from existing efforts, external resources and other educational initiatives that are congruent with the EDGE mandate, with a particular interest in resources relevant to the Canadian public health community. This is by no means a comprehensive list. We plan to update this section as new resources become available. If you have suggestions resources or links you think would be relevant to this site, please contact the EDGE Co-Chairs (see above).

For a more comprehensive listing of resources, including international-oriented organizations, please see Appendices B and D in the document Ecological Determinants of Health in Public Health Education in Canada: A scan of needs, challenges, and assets, under Documents (above).

Canadian Educational Offerings

Courses and Summer Schools

Relevant Initiatives