Dr. Anna Banerji (MD MPH FRCPC DTM&H O.Ont) and Former Chief of Ontario, Isadore Day.
What many Canadians don’t realize is that many Indigenous communities and people do not have a secure supply of healthy affordable food (food security), and in some communities are at a crisis level. A basic human right is being violated and many Indigenous peoples and especially children in Canada are malnourished and some are starving. Food insecurity have many serious health consequences such as anemia, stunting, decreased intellectual development, and can affect adult physical and mental health, it is an urgent public health issues. The primary cause of food insecurity is an imbalance between the high price of food relative to household income, where poverty is a driving factor. The cost and lack of availability to healthy foods has resulted in a transition to unhealthy market foods (junk or fast foods). There are many solutions for food security, but what is needed is the political will to make changes.
Isadore Day is CEO and founder of Bimaadzwiin, a national indigenous Social Enterprise, and former health lead for the Assembly of First Nations as the Ontario Regional Chief from 205-2018. Served as Chief of Serpent River First Nations from 2005-2015 and worked in social work setting from 1995-2003 in remote north, in James Bay lowlands.
Anna Banerji (MD MPH FRCPC DTM&H O.Ont) is a pediatric infectious and tropical disease specialist. She has trained in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Harvard University, where she completed her MPH in International Health. She is currently the Post MD Education lead for Indigenous and Refugee Health, specifically CPD and PGME lead for Indigenous Health at the University of Toronto. She is the co-chair of the Indigenous Health Conference. She has been studying lower respiratory infections in Inuit children for over 20 years where her research has led to changes to the national guidelines for the prevention of RSV. Dr. Banerji is a past member of the CPS First Nations, Inuit and Metis committee, and has traveled to Indigenous communities across Canada. Dr. Banerji is also very involved in refugee health where she currently chairs the North American Refugee Health Conference the largest refugee conference globally, and her clinical work primarily focuses on refugee children. In 2014, she created the COSTI Pediatric Clinic, where she screens all the newly arrived Government Assisted Refugee Children coming to Toronto. In 2016 she screened over 700 Syrian children. She uses a human rights framework for her work, research and education and is often an advocate for vulnerable populations. Dr. Banerji has traveled extensively around the world including work in Haiti after the earthquake. She has won several awards including the “promising graduate” for Harvard School of Public Health in 2003, the U of T Educational Excellence for Community Care Award in 2008. In January 2012, she was inducted into the Order of Ontario