12 - 12:45 pm
MIWSFPA Lecture Space

Grandmother Renee, Dr. Deborah Sloboda and Dr. Anna Banerji

Follow-up panel discussion to Grandmother Renee’s Teaching.

Grandmother Renee Tomas Hill will be joined by Dr. Deborah Sloboda and Dr Anna Banerji.

The panel will discuss how scientists have proven how these traumatic events which Indigenous people have endured, have been passed down through the generations and are still significantly affected by them to this day. Some of these traumas, such as the deprivation of food and food security, have devastating effects.

It has also been proven that Indigenous people who are starting to relearn their traditions, teachings, and ways of life, are slowly beginning to overcome the traumas and assimilation, and healing is happening all across Turtle Island.

Renee Thomas-Hill

Renee Thomas-Hill

Renee is of the Mohawk Nation Turtle Clan from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. As a Haudenosaunee Woman, she is responsible to carry on the teachings of “Way of Life. She is to carry on the message of Peace Power and Righteousness (Sacredness). She shares this in the following ways: as an Indigenous Women, Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother; Educator, Historian, Artisan F.N. Doll Maker; Carrying on the Stories of Our Ancestors; Holder of Names (Genealogy Researcher), Storyteller; Traditional/Golden Age Smoke Dancer; Traditional Counsellor/Healer (Addiction Treatment Centre); Traditional knowledge of our plants/foods/medicine; An agriculturist – the continuation of our seeds; Grieving Support and most of all a “Spiritual Being”. Renee is also a grandmother and auntie to many. “My walk in life, is to share awareness and the uplifting of the spirit through the teachings of Our Mother, the Earth and the Understanding of the Good Mind”.

Anna Banerji

Anna Banerji

Dr. Anna Banerji 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 travelled 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 travelled 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.

Dr. Deborah Sloboda

Dr Sloboda is a Professor in the Dept of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada, and holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Programming. She completed her PhD training at the University of Toronto, Dept of Physiology in 2001 following which she was a Postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Western Australia. In 2006 she was recruited to the Liggins Institute as a Research Fellow, at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and where from 2008 -2011, she was the Deputy Director of the National Research Centre for Growth and Development. In 2012, she left Auckland to take up a Faculty position at McMaster University. Dr Sloboda’s laboratory investigates early life impacts on maternal, fetal and placental development and how this mediates the risk of non-communicable disease later in life. Her experimental studies investigate maternal nutrient manipulation on maternal pregnancy adaptations, including the microbiome, placental inflammation and offspring reproductive and metabolic function. In community based health studies, Dr Sloboda engages with expectant mothers and services that support pregnant women. Her Mothers to Babies Study aims to develop a community-based formative knowledge transfer and work program of intervention, to improve diet, and body composition of women before and after conception. Dr Sloboda was awarded the International Society of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Nick Hales Award for outstanding research contribution to the field of developmental programming, and in 2017 won the Hamilton YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Science Trade, and Technology. Dr Sloboda is the founding co-President of the DOHaD Society of Canada, and has been the Secretary of the International Society for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease since 2013. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. She has published >95 scientific papers in leading scientific journals and contributed to 13 books on the concept of early life origins of health and disease.