York University appoints internationally renowned global health scholars

As Canada’s progressive university, a York University education shapes the global perspective, and embraces innovation in teaching, learning, and research. York University’s Faculty of Health has announced two important appointments, both demonstrating momentum in one of the University’s emerging areas of academic and research excellence: global health.

Dr. James Orbinski has been named inaugural Director of the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (“The Institute”), effective September 1, 2017. Established in 2015, the Institute provides leadership and innovation to improve global health. This initiative has been made possible with a $20 million transformational donation from Victor Phillip Dahdaleh, a UK-based Canadian business leader and York alumnus.

The Institute reflects York’s commitment to interdisciplinary approaches and draws on research strengths from across the University. A champion of global health and humanitarianism throughout his career, Orbinski is an internationally renowned professor, medical doctor, researcher, author, and passionate advocate. He is the former international president of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders during which he helped launch its Access to Essential Medicines Campaign. He has advised the UN Security Council, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross for his humanitarian leadership in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

“As an institution, York is committed to values that are completely synonymous with my own,” said Orbinski, “It is fundamentally committed to equity and social justice, and to bringing the resources of a university to make the world a better place, through global health. I believe that our world is made by what we do, and what we do is driven by our values. For me, York is a community that I feel deeply privileged to be joining.”

Dr. Steven J. Hoffman, has been appointed as a Professor in the School of Health Policy and Management, effective July 1, 2017. He is cross-appointed to Osgoode Hall Law School and will also be a key contributor to the Institute. The University will be nominating him for a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Governance and Social Innovation. Hoffman is one of Canada's most influential scholars in global health governance, law and policy, having served as an advisor to several national governments, the UN and the WHO. In 2016, Hoffman was appointed the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR’s) Institute of Population and Public Health. With his appointment, York University will serve as the new administrative host of CIHR’s Institute of Population and Public Health.

“Global health challenges don’t fit neatly into one discipline, so I focus on bringing together research from different places to solve real-world problems,” said Hoffman, “York is an exciting place to learn and do research. I am eager to leverage my background as an international lawyer and interdisciplinary social scientist to build bridges across campus.”

“With the historic and generous $20 million gift from Victor Dahdaleh to build on York's growing strength in global health, and with the appointment of Drs. Orbinski and Hoffman, two world leaders in this field, the University is poised to become an international leader in global health research, problem solving and public policy,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice-Chancellor of York University. “The lasting global impact will make a meaningful difference in people’s lives now and in the future.”

“It’s a privilege to welcome two of the world’s most influential thinkers, visionaries, and advocates for global and population health to York,” said Paul McDonald, Dean, Faculty of Health, York University, “James and Steven join a progressive minded community of academics who are contributing to the development of cutting-edge health research that is changing the dynamics of health issues, health care services and health systems in Canada and globally. They will play an important role in helping us build Canada’s first undergraduate degree program in global health.”

Home to Canada’s only global health program, York’s Faculty of Health was founded in 2006 by integrating four academic units with varying perspectives. No university in Canada combines these strengths in equivalent depth.