The ECHO Network: Health, environment and community are better together

Dr. Margot Parkes

A Canada Research Chair in Health, Ecosystems and Society, Margot Parkes is also Associate Professor with the School of Health Sciences, University of Northern British Columba (UNBC), and cross appointed with the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Northern Medical Program.

Dr. Margot Parkes, University of Northern British Columbia
Photo courtesy of University of Northern British Columbia

Canada’s economy remains tightly linked to the development of our natural resources. Fueling debate over potential health impacts, especially for rural, remote and Indigenous communities, is the accelerated rate and ever-increasing scale of social and environmental change in resource-rich regions.

The ECHO (Environment, Community, Health Observatory) Network is investigating these changes and connecting people to share information, practices, integrative tools, and processes. The goal is to develop a common perspective and more effective responses to counteract the cumulative impacts of resource development.

Leading the Network is Dr. Margot Parkes and Dr. Sandra Allison (Northern Health), along with principal researchers from UNBC (Dr. Henry Harder), Simon Fraser University (Dr. Tim Takaro and Dr. Maya Gislason), the University of Alberta (Dr. Lars Hallstrom), the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (Dr. Craig Stephen) and the University of Moncton (Dr. Céline Surette).

Central to the ECHO network are partnerships with Alberta’s Battle River Watershed Alliance and the New Brunswick Environmental Network, as well as British Columbia’s Northern Health Authority and the First Nations Health Authority.

Their research will span five years, emphasizing mentorship and the development of evidence-based recommendations for decision makers working in the areas of resource development and health.

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