Webinar explores how research can inform antimicrobial resistance policy

A man holding a pill and a glass of water

The Global Strategy Lab’s AMR Policy Accelerator at York University will host a one-hour webinar to explore global health and development challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and the need for collaboration between researchers and policymakers.

Bridging the AMR Research – Policy Divide will run Nov. 22 from 10 to 11 a.m. and feature a panel of experts who will delve into the challenges, and opportunities, surrounding evidence-informed AMR policymaking. The event aims to be a dynamic exchange of ideas, providing valuable insights into the complexities of AMR and the ways in which research can directly inform policy for more effective outcomes.

Millions of lives are at stake annually due to AMR, with its impact extending beyond human health to thwart progress on critical United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6), and Climate Action (SDG 13).

AMR not only claims lives but also undermines efforts to achieve sustainable development, making it imperative to bridge the gap between research and policy. New data and research on AMR emerge weekly, highlighting the need to establish pathways that connect researchers with policymakers. This collaboration aims to ensure that high-quality, context-specific AMR research informs the development, updating and implementation of policies. Taking a scientific approach to enhance the effectiveness of policies makes them more likely to succeed while minimizing costs through evidence-based decision-making.

Panellists for this event are:

  • Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention;
  • Professor Clare Chandler of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine;
  • Susan Rogers Van Katwyk, managing director of the AMR Policy Accelerator, research director of global antimicrobial resistance and adjunct professor at York University; and
  • Dr. Zubin Shroff of the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research.

Moderating the event will be York University Associate Professor A. M. Viens, York Research Chair in Population Health Ethics and Law and inaugural director of York’s School of Global Health.

Register for the event here.

Student-led cookbook provides York community with accessible recipe options

Healthy food

Ashlyn Nguyen was excited to cook her own meals when she first moved into student residence at York University in 2021. However, as the school year began, she, like many other students, had to adjust to a busy student lifestyle.


“As someone who is a foodie and loves to cook and bake, I was really looking forward to having my own kitchen,” she says. “But it was challenging for me to feel motivated to cook and find easy ways to accommodate my schedule. I can only imagine how other new students living in residence may have felt if they had never cooked for themselves before.”

Despite this, Nguyen, a former biomedical science student who was a peer health educator during her second year of studies at York, turned her experience into an opportunity. She merged her passions for well-being and food advocacy to develop Fuel: Feel Good University Eating & Living – a cookbook containing a collection of diverse recipes and tips to help students and University community members on their journey towards nutritious eating habits.

“I wanted to support students like me who may have struggled with living alone and cooking on their own for the first time,” Nguyen says.

The development of Fuel began this year. It was entirely student-led, and the book consists of approximately 30 recipes. Each recipe was created and tested by York’s peer health educators, who promote University services, resources and health initiatives to students across campus. Nguyen and the peer health educators also included tips within the book to manage cooking and mindful eating.

Nguyen says she and her team wanted the cookbook to be as accessible as possible; each recipe was crafted to incorporate different skill levels, dietary preferences and cultural backgrounds.

“We built recipes that were created by students, for students, which made all the recipes in the cookbook very approachable for others who are just like us,” she says, adding that the book is centred around recipes that are balanced, affordable and beginner-friendly.

Fuel Cookbook Group Photo (L to R): Paige Eldridge, Simran Kharod, Ashlyn Nguyen, Ayan Wehliye and Nada Mostafa
Members of the group who constructed the cookbook, from left to right: Paige Eldridge, Simran Kharod, Ashlyn Nguyen, Ayan Wehliye and Nada Mostafa.

Alicia Moonesar, assistant director of Health Services, Education & Promotions at York, recognizes that university students may face difficulties when trying to eat healthy on a fixed budget, but says that Fuel hopes to help promote nutritious habits.

“Research demonstrates that students can learn better when they’re well-nourished, and eating healthy meals has been linked to higher grades, improved memory, alertness and quicker information processing,” she says. “This book will give students lots of delicious meal ideas that are easy to prepare and give them the energy they need.”

Moonesar supervises Nguyen and the team of peer health educators, and supported them throughout the construction of the book. She says York’s peer health educators continue to make a difference on campus by utilizing health promotion, health education workshops and engagement activities, and by sharing resources online.

Diversity was also an important element to Nguyen when developing Fuel. The final chapter, “Celebrating Cultures,” incorporates cultural recipes from each peer health educator that contributed to the book. “The diversity of the York community is reflected in the content throughout,” says Nguyen. “One of the recipes in this section is Vietnamese spring rolls, a traditional dish from my culture, which is easily customizable and includes accessible ingredients for students.”

Nguyen hopes the project helps other students across the University.

“It’s wonderful to see what collaboration among students can do,” she says. “My goal is that students use the cookbook, have a positive experience and feel like they were supported by this resource.”

Staff and faculty are encouraged to explore the Fuel cookbook, which is available in English and French, and share it with students and community members.

Study: alternative framing influences entrepreneurship training success

Shop owner takes notes with a pen while using a digital tablet while sitting in a craft store

Providing entrepreneurship training programs to individuals living in poverty has been a growing trend worldwide over the past two decades. New research from York University’s Schulich School of Business suggests that how new entrepreneurial practices are framed can significantly impact the extent to which they are ultimately adopted by trainees.

Geoffrey Kistruck
Geoffrey Kistruck

The findings are contained in a recently published article in the Journal of Business Venturing, titled “Exploring the relative efficacy of ‘within-logic contrasting’ and ‘cross-logic analogizing’ framing tactics for adopting new entrepreneurial practices in contexts of poverty.” The article was co-written by Geoffrey M. Kistruck, a professor and RBC Chair in Social Innovation and Impact at Schulich, together with Charlene Zietsma, the Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment & Sustainability; Angelique Slade Shantz, an assistant professor of strategy, entrepreneurship and management at the University of Alberta; and Luciano Barin Cruz, director of sustainability transition at HEC Montréal.

The researchers conducted a mixed-methods field experiment in rural Sri Lanka with an entrepreneurship education and training partner involving 683 entrepreneurs. They used two framing tactics for introducing new entrepreneurial practices. The first framing tactic – “within-logic contrasting” – is the dominant framing approach used currently, and is focused on distinguishing the behaviour of unsuccessful entrepreneurs with highly successful entrepreneurs or “role models” who used the newly prescribed entrepreneurial practices. The second framing tactic – “cross-logic analogizing” – was an alternative designed by the researchers, and focused on likening the newly prescribed entrepreneurial practices to activities that individuals routinely engage in within the non-business domains of their lives – everything from new cooking recipes to trying different ways to better protect their children from mosquitoes. Ultimately, the researchers found that cross-logic analogizing was more efficacious in terms of both a change in entrepreneurial mindset and entrepreneurial behaviour.

“Our research findings contribute to entrepreneurship theory and practice by helping to explain and predict why and when alternative framing tactics can significantly impact the success or failure of entrepreneurship education and training programs in impoverished regions,” says Kistruck. “Individuals living in poverty are often forced to rely heavily on routines and heuristics in order to survive. Entrepreneurship training efforts that essentially ‘borrow’ from existing logics rather than require the ‘building’ of new logics have a much better chance of ultimately being adopted in such contexts.” 

Dahdaleh Institute summer interns to showcase global health research

Global health

The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (DIGHR) invites York University community members to its fifth Summer Global Health Intern Symposium on Aug. 30.

DIGHR poster

Throughout the summer term, Dahdaleh global health interns have been undertaking exciting research projects that address critical global health challenges.

On Aug. 30, eight interns will reflect on their internship and deliver a short presentation about the experience, knowledge and skills they have gained, and will share progress on their research projects, including:

DIGHR research
Global health interns
  • experiential-based simulation learning;
  • effects of resource insecurity on health outcomes;
  • mental and emotional health and wellness;
  • post-pandemic public health reforms; and
  • impact of human behaviour on antimicrobial resistance.

To learn more about this event, or to register to attend, visit yorku.ca/dighr/events/5th-summer-global-health-intern-symposium.

Lunch will be provided. All are welcome to attend.

The Dahdaleh Institute is currently hiring the next cohort of global health interns for the upcoming Fall/Winter 2023-24 academic year. All interested applicants are encouraged to visit the DIGHR website to learn more.

YUeats introduces value menu to address food insecurity

Healthy food

York University’s campus food services provider, YUeats, has created a new $6.99 value meal meant to provide the York community with access to meals that are filling, nutritious and affordable.

The new on-campus value meal program will launch in Central Square in Summer 2023, Winters and Stong Colleges in Fall 2023, and be available throughout the year at the University’s Glendon Campus.

Menus will rotate daily and offer a wide range of options that cater to different dietary requirements and preferences. “This initiative was launched to increase the availability of nutritious, culturally diverse and well-balanced hot meals to our York community,” says Dahlia Abou El Hassan, York’s in-house dietitian.

“Many students identified food insecurity in York’s recent 2022 Canadian Campus Well-being Survey as a significant challenge, and this concerns all of us. I’m delighted the Food Services team worked quickly to provide students and the community with a selection of cost-effective and nutritious meal options. It’s progress towards supporting our community,” said Nona Robinson, vice-provost, students. “We are continuing to work with partners across the University to provide additional food supports for students.”

York researchers invited to share, collaborate at global health workshop

FEATURED Global Health

Call for presenters: The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research invites the York University community to join the ongoing discussion on critical social science perspectives in global health research.

Critical research often involves the use of critical theory with social justice aims. Critical social science perspectives in global health (CPGH) are transdisciplinary, participatory, experimental or experiential analyses that seek greater effectiveness, equity and excellence in global health. This means engaging directly with global public health actors, structures and systems to transform global public health while remaining committed to social science theory and methodology. For more information, visit the CPGH project page.

There is an open call to York researchers to consider presenting at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research’s fourth annual, Workshop on Critical Social Science Perspectives in Global Health Research on March 29. The registration deadline for new research ideas presentations is March 20. Participants will engage with the research community at York University from a variety of disciplines to create new insights, foster collaboration and discuss research opportunities. The workshop will be an in-person event at the Dahdaleh Institute with continental breakfast and lunch. All are welcome to attend.

Critical Perspectives in Global Health Research Workshop Wednesday, March 29

Who can present?
York faculty and researchers (with the support of a York faculty member) are invited to deliver presentations.

What is the format of the presentations?
Interested participants are asked to prepare a brief five-minute, two-slide presentation on any research project, current or planned, which takes a critical social science approach to global health.

Seed grants
Following the workshop, the Dahdaleh Institute will launch the 2023 Critical Perspectives in Global Health Seed Grant program and award five research seed grants of up to $5,000 each. The seed grants will support critical global health research that contributes to the themes of the Dahdaleh Institute, which are planetary health, global health and humanitarianism, as well as global health foresighting.

For more information on these research themes, visit the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research website. For the event’s full agenda, visit the event page.

York University maps courses that teach about Sustainable Development Goals

Image shows a hand holding a pine cone against a lush backdrop of greenery

York University is internationally recognized for its contributions to addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) through teaching, research, stewardship, and partnerships. York’s annual SDG report is a snapshot of some of the work the University is doing in collaboration with Canadian and international partners to advance the Global Goals.

“The University is making determined and substantial strides towards the goals, through the power of higher education,” says York University’s Provost and VP Academic Lisa Philipps.  

As the world rapidly approaches 2030, youth have been mobilizing to compel global leaders to take urgent action on the SDGs. “As a global SDG leader, York University and its students are already playing an integral role in this movement,” adds Philipps.

To continuously improve the support offered to students and graduates who are tackling these challenges, York University has embarked on a process of understanding how its courses address or are linked to the SDGs. This initiative maps York courses with one or more of the SDGs, as appropriate, and the University is making this information available to the community on its SDG website.

The goal is to better inform students about learning opportunities related to the SDGs, to understand York’s strengths and curricular assets across the disciplines, and to increase awareness and deepen SDG-related conversations at the University and beyond.

Teaching the SDGs: the number of York courses related to each Global Goal

The above graphic shows the number of courses that relate to each of the United Nations 17 SDGs

Lessons learned from mapping courses

In consultation with OSDG, an open access tool developed by the United Nations Development Program’s SDG AI Lab and the EU-based thinktank PPMI, York analysts were able to undertake this process. They looked at both undergraduate and graduate courses offered in both English or French across all Faculties and all courses offered at the time of this analysis.

This approach looked at the use of more than 20,000 keywords and with the help of machine learning identified courses that are related to one or more of the SDGs through course titles and official descriptions. The University learned about the OSDG tool from University College London.

York University is the OSDG’s first official North American partner, as the organization works with a range of global partners such as the University of Hong Kong. York analysts consulted other universities in Ontario, British Columbia, California, England and New Zealand, organizations like York that are recognized for their global leadership on SDGs. Those consultations focused on learning about best practices for mapping and sharing SDG-relevant courses with their respective communities.

In total, analysts identified 1,635 courses (38 per cent of all courses), that are related to at least one SDG. Mapping for SDG 17 is still in development. All Faculties were represented among the mapped courses and the above table shows the number of courses that were identified as being related to each SDG.

The OSDG’s machine learning-enabled course mapping functionality flagged SDG-related courses when they specifically referenced the SDGs in the curriculum or where the curriculum empowered students to independently tackle an SDG theme within or outside of the classroom.

Many courses also mapped to more than one SDG – in fact, 285 courses were simultaneously mapped to two SDGs and 43 courses mapped to three SDGs. The process of mapping courses to the SDGs is iterative and analysts recognize that it is reliant upon the use of specific keywords and phrases found in current courses descriptions. As course descriptions continue to evolve, the analysis will be updated.

This approach will continue to improve over time, as new keywords are contributed to the OSDG’s bank. The full list of mapped courses will be published by Spring 2023 on York’s SDG website for the benefit of prospective and current students. The University will invite feedback in the lead up to publishing these courses and will continue to welcome ongoing feedback thereafter to ensure the mapped list of courses are kept up to date, and remain helpful for the York community.

The current analysis will serve as a starting point to improve the process of capturing SDG-related courses and advancing SDG education, and research on the SDGs, as outlined in the University Academic Plan.

Feedback from former Provostial Fellow and Professor Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, associate dean, academic; the Sustainability Office; the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education Towards Sustainability; and the Vice-Provost Students team has also been invaluable during this initial mapping endeavor. This Provostial initiative was supported by the Associate Vice-President Teaching & Learning, the University Registrar, the Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis and York International.

Workshop series brings SDGs to forefront of teaching and learning

Featured image for stories related to sustainability

A series of one-hour workshops at York University will launch in the new year and share ways in which educators can infuse the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SGDs) into teaching and learning.

Co-developed by York’s Teaching Commons and SDGs-in-the-Classroom Curricular Innovation Hub, The Sustainable Development Goals in Teaching and Learning series launches Jan. 25, 2023 and presents five online workshops.

UN SDG wheel with the 17 SDGs

The series explores how educators might speak to the SDGs through curriculum, teaching practices, course design and assessments. The outcomes are developed to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable development and prepare students with the knowledge, skills and attributes to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.

The workshops, which run from 10 to 11 a.m., are:

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)-in-the-Classroom Curricular Innovation Hub is part of the SDG Teach In, a campaign to put the SDGs at the centre of all stages of education, and across all disciplines. The SDG Teach In, hosted by Students Organizing for Sustainability United Kingdom (SOS-UK), is a student-led education charity focusing on sustainability with a belief that change is urgently needed to tackle the injustices and unsustainability in our world.

The 2023 campaign will run from March 1 to 31, 2023, and encourages educators to pledge to include the SDGs within their teaching, learning and assessment during the campaign and beyond. Educators can pledge to take part now via the SDG Teach in pledge form

Neighbourhood benefits from York’s C4 course


By Elaine Smith

Woburn, an immigrant-rich Toronto neighbourhood located in southeast Scarborough, now has its own community garden and seed library thanks to the helping hands of York University students in the Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom (C4).

C4 provides students with an opportunity to work effectively in interdisciplinary teams on real-world challenges with social impact. It runs as a two-semester course during the academic year or as a six-week summer course. Professors Danielle Robinson (School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design) and Franz Newland (Lassonde School of Engineering) founded the program in 2019.

In summer 2022, the focus of C4’s evening class was food sustainability and security, and two groups of York students – Team Maintainers and Team Knitters – were among those that worked with the Woburn neighbourhood.

“York students built relationships with the local schools, libraries and activists, and then created pathways between institutions and organizations so the community members can work together to feed themselves in ways that are co-operative and cost-effective,” said Robinson.

Harvesting produce from the Woburn community garden
Harvesting produce from the Woburn community garden

Leah Yuyitung, former chair of the parents’ council at Woburn Collegiate Institute (WCI) and spokesperson for the grassroots-led community group Woburn Local Planning Table, was the students’ main contact.

“A lot of the student ideas were about building apps or creating brochures, but I told them that community engagement projects need to be hands-on,” said Yuyitung. “They need to build relationships and be on the ground.”

For the garden group, Yuyitung helped locate a plot of land at Woburn Collegiate Institute and drew on connections with the local schools to collaborate with the C4 students.

“As part of the preparation for the York students’ building the garden, I found teachers who were interested in establishing a garden and growing seedlings from seeds, and Danielle purchased the grow lights and soil,” said Yuyitung. “The student landscaping and STEP eco-club of WCI, 10 classes at Woburn Junior School, and two at St. Thomas More, grew plants indoors for the shared community garden.”

The Team Maintainers students created the garden space, tilling it by hand in conjunction with WCI students adding the necessary compost.

“We had about 30 people working on the garden, and it was a great event,” said Yuyitung. “The students brought pizza and samosas and made it a celebration.”

Talha Rashidi, a recent York kinesiology graduate, managed Team Maintainers.

“I am deeply invested in food security,” said Rashidi, who is committed to social justice and is on the board of the not-for-profit organization, Road to Zero Waste. “This project was right in my wheelhouse. The C4 space can be whatever you make it, and it was a starting point to impact the world. It’s really empowering.”

Rashidi said that he and his team had a steep learning curve, since they weren’t gardeners themselves, but “Yuyitung and her community resources helped us determine the size of the plot, the type of topsoil and compost we needed and the ideal space needed between plants.

“We also gained more sensitivity to the needs of the community – things such as safety protocols and dietary constraints within a diverse community – which were our blind spots before.”

Shyamaly Vasuthevan, a York alumna now working toward a second degree (BSc in psychology) at York, managed Team Knitters, the seed library team.

“There were a lot of ideas about what we could do, and we met with community partners to see what was appropriate,” she said. “We decided to create a seed library, along with a website that would tie all the Woburn C4 projects together. The website became our portfolio – we all learned to use WordPress.”

A seed library may sound mysterious, but Vasuthevan explained that it is actually a set of cabinets that contains a wide variety of seed packets that people can take to grow their own food. In return, the students request that once the plants produce fruit, vegetables, or spices, the growers save the seeds to return to the library so others can benefit.

One of the students on the team belonged to Many Green Hands at York, a student environmental organization, and had connections to seeds; in addition, the team had some C4 funding and scoured wholesale sites to obtain what they needed. They bought seeds in bulk, but, as Vasuthevan said, “No one needs 5,000 spinach seeds,” so the group found themselves becoming experts in working on an assembly line, measuring seeds into envelopes, taping, packaging and labelling.

Using a label printer, the students put a QR code onto each label that leads to their website and information about how to grow seeds. They also have seed cards on file for each type of plant that offers basic information about the food item and how to grow it.

The library is housed in portable cabinets so that it can be taken to community events to give the seeds a wide distribution. It was housed in the Cedarbrae Public Library as a pilot project, and the team is currently working toward finding a permanent home for it. In fact, they are so dedicated to the project that they have remained involved for an additional six months in order to ensure a smooth transition, apply for more funding, and promote the seed library in the community.

“We would prefer to have someone in the Woburn community take it over,” said Vasuthevan. “We also want people to bring in their own seeds. We tried to find seeds that were relevant to the foods eaten in the local community. For instance, okra is popular with the Tamil community in the area.”

She called working on the seed library “an amazing experience.” Personally, she discovered that she was a good public speaker and organizer and “really learned how to be sensitive and efficient.”

“We learned a lot about the community, and it made the summer go faster – we could just see the program growing in front of us.”

Osgoode professor address calls for stronger UN anti-racism convention

silhouette of people gathered outside

Osgoode Hall Law School Assistant Professor Rabiat Akande was invited to address the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards on July 20 where she asked the committee to consider changes to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).  

Akande urged the Ad Hoc Committee to strengthen ICERD to specifically prohibit the persecution of racialized religious minorities. Akande argued that international human rights law does not offer these groups adequate protection.  

The Ad Hoc Committee was initially formed in 2007 to consider a convention or additional protocols to update the ICERD. The committee has met most years since 2008 and is attended by member states, regional groups, national institutions, specialized agencies, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.  

The committee has engaged with numerous experts in the fields of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and contemporary issues of racism in different contexts. The resumed 11th and 12th sessions of the committee took place from July 18 to 29 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Rabiat Akande

Akande told the committee that a current draft of the additional ICERD protocol, which was drawn up during the 10th session, mistakenly construes all forms of contemporary religious discrimination as racial discrimination and “fails to acknowledge the every day struggle of persons who suffer intersectional discrimination along the axis of race and religion.”  

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which helped shape subsequent international human rights law, was fatally flawed because its concept of religious liberty continues to exclude members of disfavored and racialized religious groups, she said.  

Akande argued the international law draws a false dichotomy between freedom of conscience (or internal beliefs) and outward forms of religious faith.  

“The most obvious casualty has been the covered Muslim woman,” she stated to the committee, “with a string of decisions handed down by the European Court of Human Rights consistently upholding state restrictions and even proscriptions on the hijab – the Muslim headscarf or veil –as being a proportional and reasonable restriction of the manifestation of religion.” 

Muslim minorities face the debilitating impact of Islamophobia, said Akande, but are unable to access meaningful legal remedy under the law. At times, she added, the same has been true for other religious minorities, including Jews, Sikhs and even some Christian groups.  

Akande said the draft protocol to ICERD “will not offer the legal remedy needed by those whose experience of religious and racial marginalization is compounded by the intersection of those two forms of discrimination.” 

She told the committee that the legacy of colonization lives on in the racial and religious subordination of certain peoples – “marginalization that is not only denied recognition and remedy under international law but is in many ways even compounded by the current international legal regime.” 

“As we confront new forms of oppression such as lethal Islamophobia masquerading as national and international security policy,” she said, “and indeed, the persistent denigration of the religions of Indigenous peoples globally, I hope member states will seize this opportunity to take bold action by offering robust legal protections for communities at the margins.” 

Akande joined Osgoode last year, and works in the fields of legal history, law and religion, constitutional and comparative constitutional law, Islamic law, international law and post-colonial African law and society. She is an Academy Scholar at the Harvard University Academy for International and Area Studies, where she was in residence from 2019-21. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2019. At Harvard, she also served as an editor of the Harvard International Law Journal and taught at the law school and in the Department for African and African American Studies.