Dr. Margot Parkes

Margot Parkes (MBChB, MAS, PhD)
Professor, School of Health Sciences, UNBC; Cross Appointed, Northern Medical Program, UBC.

Co-Lead: Environment, Community Health Observatory Network: ECHO

Canada Research Chair in Health, Ecosystems and Society (2009-2019).
Honorary Associate Professor, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. 

Contact Information

Phone: 250-960-6813
Fax: 250-960-5744
Email: parkesm@unbc.ca

My research orientation originated during training and work as a medical doctor in New Zealand and subsequently in public health, human ecology, and the emerging field of ecohealth, or ecosystem approaches to health. My interest in water-related determinants of health began with a focus on watershed management and public health in rural river catchments in New Zealand and has developed through work in Europe, Hawaii, Ecuador and Canada. My current research focuses on the impacts of ecosystem change on social determinants of health especially in the context of watersheds in rural, remote and Indigenous communities. Another focus includes the design of education, research and governance options to address the converging objectives of health, social equity and ecosystem sustainability. Informed by the intersectoral, interdisciplinary and boundary-crossing nature of this work, I have specific interests in the collaborative and multi-stakeholder processes required to address complex issues at the interface of health and sustainability.

My ongoing commitment to developing and expanding the emerging field of ecohealth is reflected in my involvement as founding board member and past President of the International Association for Ecology & Health, as a co-founder of the Canadian Community of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Health (CoPEH-Canada) and as founding Managing Editor (2003-2007) of the international peer-reviewed journal EcoHealth published by Springer.

News and Updates

September 4 - 6, 2019
Stanford University, California

Planetary Health Annual Meeting

As a breakout session leader, alongside her colleagues, Margot Parkes presented "Communities, Justice, and Living Systems: Connections for a Healthy and Thriving Future". Community involvement with, and commitment to, the living systems of which they are part is a powerful driver of change, and a source of connections that provide inspiration and momentum for a healthy, just and thriving future. Combined drivers of social and ecological change (from globalization and climate change, to deforestation and resource extraction) exacerbate existing health inequities, impacting those who already bear the brunt of existing local and global injustices. At the same time, frontline communities continue to find ways to connect and reflect their reciprocal relationship with and their future, creating collective action with repercussions from local to global scales. This session will explore examples from communities who, fuelled by the imperatives of social and ecological justice, have turned potential vulnerabilities into power by mobilizing collective action for health, ecosystems, and society. To learn more about this breakout session, please click on the link below.

June 11 - 13, 2018
Annapolis, Maryland

National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) 

Margot Parkes was invited to the international symposium Boundary Spanning: Advances in Socio-Environmental Systems Research.  The focus of the conference discussed the current state of socio-environmental systems, recent advances, and the unique nature and challenges of this research field. Dr. Parkes presented "Integrative approaches to health, ecosystems & society: New tools and processes to address the cumulative determinants of health impact, and the land-water-health nexus" as part of the symposium talk with the guiding theme of Socio-Environmental Systems under Stress Co-Lead by Dr. Brian Allan. A short video describing the guiding theme can be found here: Socio-Environmental Systems under Stress

May 8, 2017
Prince George, BC

ECHO Network Launch

Margot Parkes and a team of researchers and partners from across Canada have secured a five-year research grant focused on working together across sectors to prevent adverse impacts from resource development, with specific emphasis on rural, remote and Indigenous communities. The study will receive $2 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

December 3 - 7, 2016
Melbourne, Australia

One Health Ecohealth 2016 Conference

Margot Parkes recently attended the One Health Ecohealth 2016 conference in Melbourne, Australia. To view highlights from the conference check out the #oheh and #ohehstudents2016 twitter accounts. Be sure to check out the Aspiration Statement for the Next Generation, prepared by Emerging Scholars and Practitioners on behalf of multiple communities of inquiry and practice working at the converging intersection of human, animal, environmental and planetary health.

October 17, 2016
Kaitaia, New Zealand

Tiakina te Taiao, Tiakina te lwi, Te Hiku o Te Ika Environmental Research Symposium

Margot Parkes co-facilitated a session titled "Te Hiku environmental vision/strategy: getting in the zone körero (all).

October - December, 2016
Wellington, New Zealand

Visiting Scholar

Margot Parkes is a visiting scholar at Massey University's College of Health SHORE & Te Ropu Whariki Research Centre.

May - June, 2016
Honolulu, HI

Visiting Scholar

Margot Parkes is a visiting scholar at the East-West Center's Research Program.

November 17, 2015
Edmonton, AB

Public Health WORKS

Dr. Margot Parkes will be a guest speaker at Alberta Health Services' monthly video conference series Public Health WORKS. Dr. Parkes will be discussing how climate change and economic transitions affect water resources, how they will affect our health and well-being and how we can govern water resources to reflect their fundamental importance for the social, environmental and economic determinants of health.

November 18, 2015
Camrose, AB

Book Launch

Dr. Margot Parkes will join Dr. Lars Hallström at the University of Alberta Augustana Campus for the launch of the new book Ecosystems, Society and Health: Pathways through Diversity, Convergence and Integration. Dr. Parkes co-edited the book along with Dr. Hallström and Nicholas Guehlstorf.

Information on the event can be found at the Augustana Campus News and Events. Information on the book can be found by visiting the McGill-Queen's University Press site.

November 13, 2015
Prince George, BC

HRI Theme Development Meetings

UNBC faculty, researchers and students are invited to the Health Research Institutes' (HRI) theme development meeting series taking place from October 19th to November 13th. Dr. Parkes will be co-facilitating the session on Social & Environmental Determinants of Health along with Dawn Hemingway. More information on the HRI and the theme development meetings can be found on the HRI website.

July 7, 2015
Vancouver, BC

IMGS 2015

Dr. Margot Parkes participated as a co-facilitator in a workshop at the 16th International Medical Geography Symposium. Lead by Dr. Sue Pollock with the Interior Health Authority, "How to Construct Climate Change and Health Narratives" explored the basics of narrative development and how participants can bring climate change and health narratives into their own roles. Visit the Climate Health Policy Group for more information.

October 16 - 17, 2016
Charlottetown, PEI

6th Global Forum on Health Promotion

Margot Parkes delivered a presentation via distance titled "Health Promotion, Sustainable Development, Climate Change: Lessons in Reciprocal Maintenance (from Te Hiku-o-te-Ika) during the Global Health Forum on Health Promotion conference. The theme of the conference was "Health Promotion at the Very Heart of Sustainability".

September 16, 2016

Dr. Margot Parkes is a co-editor and co-author of the new book “The Integration Imperative: Cumulative Environmental, Community and Health Effects of Multiple Natural Resource Developments". Focused on the interaction between cumulative resource developments and the well-being of the environment, communities and human health, the book includes a large number of voices in the form of contributions from 29 UNBC faculty, adjunct faculty, researchers, and other collaborators.

January 2016 - December 2016

Dr. Margot Parkes is on sabbatical leave. She will be travelling and working in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Hawai'i and other parts of the Oceania region.

October 21 - 22, 2015
Prince George, BC

NWR Launch

On October 21 the Integrated Watershed Research Group (IWRG) at UNBC along with partners hosted an open house to commemorate the official launch of the Nechako Watershed Roundtable (NWR).

September 9, 2015
Vanderhoof, BC

IWRG Research Presentations

Formed in 2012, the Integrated Watershed Research Group (IWRF) at UNBC conducts research in the biophysical, chemical, ecological, community and health dynamics within watersheds. On September 9th three students working with lead IWRG Researchers presented their work to community members in Vanderhoof, BC.

August 12, 2015
Depok, Indonesia

Conference of the Pacific Basin Consortium

Dr. Margot Parkes participated in a plenary session at the 16th International Conference of the Pacific Basin Consortium hosted at the University of Indonesia. Dr. Parkes' presentation was titled "Pacific connections for health, ecosystems and society: New approaches to the land-water-health nexus".

May 26, 2015
Vancouver, BC

Convergence: A celebration of ecohealth and climate change actions

Timed with the 2015 CPHA Conference, the Western Node of CoPEH-Canada planned an event to celebrate a multitude of converging ecohealth and climate change initiatives.

January 28 - 29, 2015
Smithers, BC

Telling Stories About Storytelling Workshop

Dr. Margot Parkes, Dr. Sarah de Leeuw and team gathered in Smithers to engage in a workshop focused on exploring the utility of storytelling, narrative and new media for health promotion and programming in Aboriginal communities in Northern BC. Funding for the project provided by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).

October 2 - 3, 2015
Prince George, BC

CIRC Launch

The Cumulative Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) held its launch event on October 2nd at the UNBC Prince George campus. Dr. Margot Parkes is a member of the CIRC Steering Committee, which is tasked with providing strategic oversight to all of CIRC's research projects and engagement activities.

May 25, 2015
Vancouver, BC

Public Health 2015

Dr. Margot Parkes was one of the opening plenary speakers at the Canadian Public Health Association’s Annual Conference. Moderated by Dr. Trevor Hancock, the plenary session was titled “Public Health in the Anthropocene: Responding to the Ecological Determinants”.

December 3 - 4, 2014
Richmond, BC

2014 PHABC Conference

Dr. Margot Parkes and colleagues presented both a pre-conference workshop and oral presentation at the Public Health Association of British Columbia 2014 conference, “Shared Prosperity for Health and Well-Being: A Collaborative Dialogue between Business and Public Health”. The pre-conference workshop had 21 participants from various disciplines and sectors and involved an experiential tour of Richmond, B.C. The oral presentation was titled “Enriching linkages between public health, ecosystems and social equity through ecohealth training and capacity building” and presented along with Dr. Maya Gislason and Dr. Robert Woollard.

September 10, 2014
Prince George, BC

Northern Health Leadership Forum

Dr. Margot Parkes delivered a keynote presentation at the Northern Health Leadership Forum. The presentation was titled “Telling Stories about Storytelling: Lessons about health, ecosystems & society from the ‘spaces in between’ in northern BC”.

July 17, 2014

University Achievement Award

Health Sciences Professor Margot Parkes was named this year's recipient of the University Achievement Award for Professional Practice, Mentorship or Stewardship. Dr. Parkes is recognized for her work in the emerging field of ecohealth and for both mentoring others and providing stewardship in new areas of research.

May 29 - June 11, 2014
Toronto, ON

CoPEH-Canada Field School

CoPEH-Canada hosted its seventh annual, intensive, short course entitled Ecosystem Approaches to Health (Ecohealth) at York University from May 29th to June 11th, 2014. Margot Parkes is a member of the teaching and facilitation team that includes faculty from nine Canadian universities.

May 6, 2014
Guelph, ON

Guelph Development Symposium

Margot Parkes made a keynote presentation at the Guelph Development Symposium: Critical links between Human and Animal Health on May 6th, 2014. The title of her keynote was Critical links and a commitment to the whole: Reflections on learning together about the ‘spaces in between’.

January 30, 2014

BC Healthy Communities, Northern BC Citizen Series Webinar

Ecohealth Knowledge to Action Research Group members, Margot Parkes and Vanessa Sloan Morgan were guest presenters along with Sandra Harris (Wet’suwet’en Nation and Steering Committee Member, Ecohealth & Watersheds in Northern BC) for January’s Northern BC Citizen Series Webinar. The session, titled A Drop in the Bucket: Storytelling for Health and Place in the North, featured the digital stories created as part of the EcoHealth and Watersheds in Northern BC Project. To view a recording of the webinar click here.

January 27-29, 2014
Cowichan Valley, BC

Watersheds 2014 Towards Watershed Governance in British Columbia and Beyond

The focus of this conference was how global changes necessitate new forms of water management and governance, which as the event organizers state will involve "reorganizing our decision-making processes to align with the ecological boundaries of watersheds, instead of political boundaries". At the conference, Margot served as moderator of the Big Ideas keynote address “Water as Our Relative: Redefining How We View Water in Governance Processes”. Later, Margot was joined by Wayne Salewski of Nechako Environment Water Stewardship Society, and the pair facilitated a workshop entitled “Learning Together to Address the Health & Well-being Dynamics of Watershed Governance”. Finally, Margot was also involved in the workshop, “Making the Grade: Watershed Report Card & Indicators” with Barbara Veale (Conservation Halton) and Steve Litke (Fraser Basin Council).

November 12, 2014
Dunedin, New Zealand

OIHRN Conference

Dr. Margot Parkes and colleagues presented at the Otago International Health Research Network Annual Conference in Dunedin, New Zealand. The presentation was titled “Capacity-building innovations at the interface of ecohealth and global health research: lessons from the Americas, Oceania and Africa”.

August 11, 2014
Montréal, QC

EcoHealth 2014 Pre-Conference workshop

Dr. Margot Parkes was part of the planning and facilitation team responsible for the EcoHealth 2014 Pre-Conference workshop, "Upstream is a place: Linking health, ecosystems and society for public health". The workshop brought together 30 participants from diverse sectors, disciplines and communities and focused on how ecosystem approaches to health can enhance core competencies in public health. Through dynamic and interactive sessions along with offsite tours of nearby urban Montréal ecosystems, the full-day workshop offered a range of settings within which to consider the links between ecosystems, social systems and the health of humans and other species.

July 15, 2014
Montréal, QC

EcoHealth 2014 Conference

Dr. Margot Parkes and her team are actively involved in the EcoHealth 2014 conference. Dr. Parkes is on the Steering Committee, and also serves as chair of the International Advisory Committee for the conference. Seven members of Dr. Parkes research team will be presenting at the conference.

May 28, 2014

CoPEH-Canada Western Node Webinar Series

As a core committee member of CoPEH-Canada, Margot Parkes and the Western Nodal Advisory Committee have launched a new Ecohealth Webinar Series. The series aims to highlight the diverse ways in which practitioners, professionals, policy-makers, community members and researchers are responding to topical issues at the nexus of health, ecosystems and society. The interactive 90-minute sessions will focus especially on action and practice, and will purposefully profile issues that cut across disciplines, sectors, jurisdictions, species and geographical boundaries.

February 6, 2014

New Grant

Dr. Margot Parkes and Dr. Sarah de Leeuw are the principal applicants on a proposal which was recently awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) planning grant. This grant will be used to facilitate the development of a workshop in Northern British Columbia, to critically engage with narrative and new media for health.

January 10 - 11, 2014
Prince George, BC

Cumulative Environmental, Community and Health Effects of Multiple Natural Resource Developments in Northern British Columbia

This event was hosted by the Health Research Institute, Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute, and the Community Development Institute, and was well attended by researchers, professionals and community members alike. Margot represented the Health Research Institute and spoke on the theme of cumulative health impact assessments, which will form the basis of a chapter of the forthcoming book from the Tri-institute on the subject of Cumulative Effects of Resource Development in Northern BC.

December 9 - 11, 2013
University of Melbourne, Australia

Oceania Eco-Health Symposium and Workshop: Linking Peoples, Landscapes, Health and Wellbeing

This symposium brought together ecohealth researchers to discuss the future of Australasian civil society with a focus on the relationships between peoples, natural environments and social health. Margot present "Lessons from Communities of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Health: Capacity Building for Research, Policy and Practice".

November 21 - 22, 2013
Vancouver, BC

Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions - PICS

This two-day dialogue brought together a diverse range of actors to discuss priority setting within the context of natural gas research.

October 21 - 25, 2013
Suchitoto, El Salvador

Inaugural Meeting of the Community of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Health in Latin America (CoPEH-LAC)

The topics of conversation for this exciting first meeting included the upcoming 2014 World Ecohealth Congress to be held in Montreal, memorandums of understanding between collaborating universities, the distribution of scholarships for Latin American and Canadian students involved in the field of Ecohealth, and the development of ecohealth workshops.

June 20 - 30, 2013
Prince George, BC

COPEH-Canada Ecosystem Approaches to Health Field Course

The Ecohealth 2013 Workshop and Field School held in Prince George, BC from June 20-30 was a huge success! Participants included 15 students (who took part in the full field course) and 4 career development participants (who took part in the 3.5-day workshop) from across the country, representing a variety of fields. We would like to thank and congratulate all of our wonderful graduates.

June 9 - 12, 2013
Ottawa, ON

CoPEH-Canada / Ecohealth activities at the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) Conference

*Preconference session: Ecohealth Practice and Policy: Innovations to Link Health, Ecosystems and Society

Facilitators: Dr. Margot Parkes, Dr. Céline Surette, Dr. Donald Cole

*Global Change and Public Health - Addressing the Ecological Determinants of Health

Speaker: Dr. Margot Parkes

*Protecting Children's Health from Environmental Hazards: Developing a New Brunswick Governance Instrument.

Moderator: Céline Surette

November 26, 2013
Smithers, BC

Digital Story Launch

This event saw the launch of the digital story "Yin kak honzu, the Earth is beautiful", produced through the "Ecohealth & Watersheds in Northern BC" project in collaboration with Sandra Harris, a Steering Committee member, and supported by the Knowledge holders and Elders of the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

November 13 - 15, 2013
Prince George, BC

The 3rd Annual IDC Northern Research Days and the 12th Conference of the Canadian Rural Health Research Society "The Stories of Rural Health through Knowledge, Research and Collaborative Action"

Margot presented a plenary address entitled, "Upstream is a Place: Collective Learning and Stories about Watersheds, Well-Being and the Environment as a Context for Health" with the accompaniment of panellists Dr. Ronald Chapman, Sandra Harris and Terry Robert. They discussed the "Ecohealth & Watersheds in Northern BC" project focused on watersheds, well-being and the environment as a context for health.

October 7, 2013
Fort St. John, BC

Health Officers Council Special Workshop: Socio-economic impacts of "Boom and Bust" cycles on communities, Can these cycles be better managed in our current economy?

The purpose of this event was to work together to develop strategies for communities to manage the socio-economic impacts on their populations in order to realize the benefit from industry development.

June 18 - 19, 2013
Prince George, BC

Ecohealth & Watersheds in Northern BC Knowledge to Action Project: Indicators Meeting

The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) hosted a working meeting involving local, regional, provincial, national and international project partners to collaborate on the use of indicators and integrated frameworks to address the connections between health, environment and communities, in order to improve intersectoral action, watershed governance and work on the determinants of health.

March 27 - 28, 2013
Prince George, BC

'New Media' and the Art of Integration

Co-hosted by the UNBC Ecohealth and Watersheds Project and Northern Health, this workshop aimed to build capacity for critical understanding regarding the use of different forms of new media to tell ‘integrated stories’ – especially those that highlight connections and relationships among health, environment and community concerns.

October 15 - 18, 2012
Kunming, China

Ecohealth 2012 International Conference

The Ecohealth 2012 Conference was a huge success! Visit Ecohealth-live.net to view conference archives (videos, posters and Powerpoints). Delegates and working groups at the conference explored how Ecohealth can contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the drafting of the International Association for Ecology and Health (IAEH) Kunming Position Statement.

The IAEH (Co-Author Margot Parkes) drafted a ‘Think Piece for Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’ called Integrating Health, Sustainability and Ecosystems in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

June 1, 2012

The Launch of the Ecosystem Approaches to Health Teaching Manual

CoPEH-Canada is pleased to announce the launch of a Pilot Ecosystem Approaches to Health Teaching Manual. The manual is the result of four years of collective teaching experience designing and facilitating a Short Course in Ecosystem Approaches to Health for graduate students and professionals and is a collaborative project amongst core researchers, adjunct ecohealth researchers around Canada and course alumni within CoPEH-Canada. The manual is comprised of a series of modules designed to support people in designing, developing and teaching their own ecohealth courses.

March 20, 2012
Vanderhoof, BC

World Water Day Community Gathering

An event entitled" Watersheds & Health: Working together to support health, environment, and community" was co-hosted by the UNBC-Northern Health Ecohealth & Watersheds in Northern BC Knowledge to Action project and the District of Vanderhoof.

March 20 - 21, 2012
Vanderhoof, BC

Health, environment, and community information in watersheds: Making the connections through maps and spatial tools

The ‘Ecohealth & Watersheds in Northern BC Project’, hosted a two-day 'knowledge-to-action' workshop designed in response to the ongoing 'knowledge to action' challenge. Many organizations try to keep up with rapidly expanding bodies of knowledge and information about health, environment, and community issues, along with rapid advances in the tools and techniques to collect, organize, integrate, and share this information in order to take action. It attracted practitioners, academics, professionals, and students from across BC. The workshop was co-designed by Scott Emmons (UNBC), Martin Bunch (York University), and Margot Parkes (UNBC), with input from the project Steering Committee.

June 8, 2012

Northern Health's Position on the Environment as a Context for Health: An Integrated Settings Approach

The development of Northern Health's position paper on the Environment as a Context for Health was a collaboration between Northern Health and the University of Northern British Columbia and was directly informed by the “Ecohealth & Watersheds in Northern BC” Knowledge to Action Project, funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

June 16 - 27, 2012
Moncton, New Brunswick

Ecohealth Short Course 2012

CoPEH-Canada hosted an 11-day short course entitled Ecosystem Approaches to Health (Ecohealth) in conjunction with l’Université de Moncton (U de M) and University of Northern BC (UNBC). The 2012 short-course included a combined 3 ½ day workshop and 11-day field school. The event attracted graduate students, professionals and professors/instructors from across Canada.

June 11 - 14, 2012
Edmonton, AB

CoPEH-Canada / Ecohealth activities at the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) Conference

Several CoPEH-Canada / Ecohealth activities were held during the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) Conference in Edmonton.

February 3, 2012
Prince George, BC

Dr. Margot Parkes presented about “Ecohealth, OneHealth Global Health: Why Diversity, Emergence and Resilience are Key to Responding to Wicked Problems” at the University of Northern BC Natural Resources & Environmental Studies Institute Colloquium Series.