Research & Activities

Canada Research Chair in Health, Ecosystems and Society

Margot Parkes is a co-lead of the Ecohealth Knowledge to Action Research GroupLocated at UNBC in Prince George, EKTARG is a group of learners, researchers and collaborators from diverse backgrounds, experience, and locations who are interested in connections among health, ecosystems and society. Visit the EKTARG website for more information.

Health, equity and ecosystems — connected by waterways  

When we think of waterways as the bloodstream of the world, we are reminded that our health, communities, economies, and the entire natural world, are all connected by water. These connections lead to important questions, such as: How will climate change and economic transitions affect water resources? How will they affect our health and well-being? And how can we govern water resources to reflect their fundamental importance for the social, environmental and economic determinants of health?

Dr. Margot Parkes, Canada Research Chair in Health, Ecosystems and Society, is exploring these issues in her work on communities in northern British Columbia. Specifically, she is examining the relationship between ecosystem change and the determinants of health by looking at water resources management as a strategy to promote health and well-being. Her current research brings together organizations and researchers involved in health and water governance, particularly in the northern Fraser River Basin.  In the past, Parkes has studied watersheds and health in New Zealand, Ecuador, Hawaii and Canada, looking at how the management of droughts, floods, biodiversity and contamination has influenced health, from drinking water quality and food security, to resource-dependent livelihoods, local economies and cultural values.  Parkes’ research shows how knowledge from different disciplines, cultures and sectors can be better integrated to improve watershed management for health and sustainability. The results will provide practical guidance for integrating health and environmental decision-making in a rapidly changing world. Visit the CRC website for more information.

Funded Research Projects

Funder Project Title Year
Canadian Institutes for Health Research The ECHO Network (Environment, Community, Health Observatory): Strengthening intersectoral capacity to understand and respond to health impacts of resource development. (Principal Investigator: Margot W Parkes; Principal Knowledge User Applicant: Sandra Allison; Co-investigators: Lars Hallstrom, Henry Harder, Craig Stephen, Céline Surette, Tim Takaro). 2016-2021
BC Real Estate Foundation Developing new tools for assessing the cumulative impacts of resource development across northern British Columbia: Integrating  environmental, socioeconomic, and human health assessment methods. (Investigators: Greg Halseth and Chris Buse; Co-investigators: Margot W Parkes, Art Fredeen, Henry Harder, and CIRC Steering Committee). 2016-2019
Health Research Institute Indicator development for improved monitoring and surveillance of the social determinants of health impacts related to resource development across British Columbia, Canada. (Investigators: Henry Harder, Raina Fumerton, and Drona Rasali; Co-investigators: Sandra Allison, Chris Buse, and Margot W Parkes). 2016
Northern Health Knowledge Synthesis: Understanding health impacts of resource extraction and development relevant to Northern BC, and strategies to address these impacts through public health practices, policies and procedures (Principal Investigators: Margot W Parkes and Henry Harder) 2015-2017
Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions Cumulative and Community Impacts Research Consortium. (Investigators: Greg Halseth, Margot W Parkes, Henry Harder; Co-investigators: UNBC Community Development Institute, Health Research Institute, Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute  2015-2017
Real Estate Foundation of BC The Nechako Watershed Portal: A web-based, geospatial tool to foster information exchange and guide land and water decision-making in the Nechako River Basin (Principal Investigator: Margot W Parkes; Co-investigators: Scott Emmons and Martin Bunch). 2015-2016
Nechako Environment Enhancement Fund (NEEF) Integrated Watershed Research in the Nechako River Basin (Principal Investigator: Ellen Petticrew, Stephen Déry, Philip Owens, and Margot W Parkes). 2014-2017
Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Telling Stories About Storytelling: Critical engagements with narrative and new media for health in northern British Columbia (Principal Investigators: Margot W Parkes and Sarah de Leeuw; Co-investigators: Margo Greenwood, Henry Harder, Kendra Mitchell-Foster and Vanessa Sloan Morgan). 2014-2015
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Local needs and EcoHealth-2014 in the context of climate change (Principal Investigator: Margot W Parkes; Co-investigator: CoPEH-Canada) 2014
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Linking public health, ecosystems and equity through ecohealth training and capacity building (co-principal investigator) 2013-2015
Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions - Graduate Student Fellowship funding Can boil water advisories in BC be linked to extreme weather events that may increase with climate change? (co-applicant) 2013
BC Real Estate Foundation Partnering Fund Communities and Health in Living Landscapes (co-principal investigator) 2012-2013
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Centre (SSHRC) Integrating Water and Public Policy: Perspectives from research and the field (co-investigator) 2012
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Food systems and health equity in an era of globalization: Think, Eat and Grow Green Globally (TEG3) (co-investigator) 2011-2016
International Developement Research Centre (IDRC) Consolidation and Expansion of International Association for Ecology & Health and EcoHealth Journal activities (co-principal investigator) 2011-2014
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Improving social and environmental determinants of health through integrated water governance (principal investigator) 2011-2013
BC Real Estate Foundation Partnering Fund Working together to protect and enhance land, waterways and health in Northern BC: leveraging the potential of the Murray Creek Rehabilitation Project (co-principal investigator) 2011-2012
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Centre (SSHRC The stakeholder workshop series: climate change/water/salmon: research into policy (co-investigator) 2011-2012
Canadian Institutes for Health Research Healthy Land – Healthy People (co-investigator) 2010-2011
International Development Research Centre (IDRC) A Canadian Community of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health with an Ecohealth training and awards program (co-principal investigator) 2008-2012

In the Media

Responses to 2012 co-authored paper: Déry, SJ, Hernández-Henríquez MA, Owens PN, Parkes MW and Petticrew EL (2012). "A century of hydrological variability and trends in the Fraser River Basin." Environmental Research Letters 7.

  • Chilliwack Times: "Higher Fraser River water could be the norm – study: Climate change, glacial retreat and pine beetle logging to blame for freshet levels"
  • The Globe & Mail: "More high Fraser River levels forecast for future"
  • Environmental Research: "Insight- Streamflows intensify in the Fraser River Basin"
  • CBC Vancouver (national interview – S. Dery)
  • CBC Prince George (live radio interview – S. Dery)
  • CKPG news Prince George (interview with S. Dery)
  • The Wolf radio station Prince George (interview with S. Dery)
  • C Fax news radio Victoria  (interview with S. Dery)