Presentation at 9th Annual CUGH Conference

I presented on behalf of the 'Summer of Smoke' research team at the 9th Annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health Conference in New York, New York on March 16. Additionally, the abstract for our presentation was published in the Lancet Global Health as part of the conference proceedings.

Citation:                                                                                                                                                              Dodd, W., Howard, C., Rose, C., Scott, C., Scott, P., Cunsolo, A., Orbinski, J. (2018) The Summer of Smoke: Ecosocial and Health Impacts of a Record Wildfire Season in the Northwest Territories, Canada. The Lancet Global Health, 6, S30. 

New Publication on MGNREGA and Migration in Tamil Nadu

Our new publication exploring the complementary potential of MGNREGA and internal labour migration in Tamil Nadu was recently published online in the European Journal of Development Research

Dodd, W., Wyngaarden, S., Humphries, S., Patel, K., Majowicz, S., Little, M., & Dewey, C. (in press). The relationship between MGNREGA and internal labour migration in Tamil Nadu, India. European Journal of Development Research. doi:10.1057/s41287-017-0122-3


India’s constitution contains provisions for the ‘right to work’ and the ‘right to movement’
for all citizens. Established in 2005, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is broadly considered to operationalize this ‘right to work’. At the same time, a public discourse persists that views MGNREGA as a substitute for internal labour migration. Drawing on the results from 300 household surveys in three panchayats in the Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu, we test the validity of this discourse in this setting. We find that households that rely exclusively on MGNREGA have different demographic and socioeconomic characteristics compared to households that rely exclusively on remittances from internal labour migration. Furthermore, 20 per cent of households surveyed use
both MGNREGA and internal labour migration as complementary livelihood strategies. We argue that there is a need for better understanding and recognition of the complementary potential of MGNREGA and internal labour migration.

Webalogue: Wildfires and ecosocial determinants of health

I recently contributed to a webalogue hosted by the Western node of the Community of Practice in Ecosystem Approach to Health (COPEH-Canada). The webalogue explored wildfires and the ecosocial determinants of health in the context of the NWT and British Columbia. Dr. Courtney Howard and I presented on behalf of the 'Summer of Smoke' team on our findings from our research into the health impacts of the 2014 wildfire season in the NWT. 

Howard C, Dodd W, Fumerton R, Pillsworth L, Okey T, Parkes MW. (2017). “Wildfires and ecosocial determinants of health: Reflections on the experience in the NWT and BC”. Ecohealth in Action Webalogue Series. Available online at:

Also see the video at:

New Publication on Migrant Health in South India

Our new publication on the determinants of internal migrant health in South India was recently published in BMC International Health and Human Rights. A link to the open acess paper can be found here.

Dodd, W., Humphries, S., Patel, K., Majowicz, S., Little, M., & Dewey, C. (2017). Determinants of internal migrant health and the healthy migrant effect in South India: a mixed methods studyBMC International Health and Human Rights, 17(23). 


Background: Internal labour migration is an important and necessary livelihood strategy for millions of individuals and households in India. However, the precarious position of migrant workers within Indian society may have consequences for the health of these individuals. Previous research on the connections between health and labour mobility within India has primarily focused on the negative health outcomes associated with this practice. Thus, there is a need to better identify the determinants of internal migrant health and how these determinants shape migrant health outcomes.

Methods: An exploratory mixed methods study was conducted in 26 villages in the Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. Sixty-six semi-structured interviews were completed using snowball sampling, followed by 300 household surveys using multi-stage random sampling. For qualitative data, an analysis of themes and content was completed. For quantitative data, information on current participation in internal labour migration, in addition to self-reported morbidity and determinants of internal migrant health, was collected. Morbidity categories were compared between migrant and non-migrant adults (age 14–65 years) using a Fisher’s exact test.

Results: Of the 300 households surveyed, 137 households (45.7%) had at least one current migrant member, with 205 migrant and 1012 non-migrant adults (age 14–65 years) included in this study. The health profile of migrant and non-migrants was similar in this setting, with 53 migrants (25.9%) currently suffering from a health problem compared to 273 non-migrants (27.0%). Migrant households identified both occupational and livelihood factors that contributed to changes in the health of their migrant members. These determinants of internal migrant health were corroborated and further expanded on through the semi-structured interviews.

Conclusions: Internal labour migration in and of itself is not a determinant of health, as participation in labour mobility can contribute to an improvement in health, a decline in health, or no change in health among migrant workers. Targeted public health interventions should focus on addressing the determinants of internal migrant health to enhance the contributions these individuals can make to their households and villages of origin.

CIHR-IPPH Starting Investigators Workshop

     Touring Parliament with CIHR-IPPH Starting Investigators Group

    Touring Parliament with CIHR-IPPH Starting Investigators Group

Between June 11-14, I attended the Starting Investigators Workshop in Ottawa hosted by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Institute for Population and Public Health. I had the privilege of meeting and learning from starting investigators from across Canada who conduct research in population and public health. As a group, we also received training and tips on grant writing, media relations, and the policy making process.