Plenary Speakers

Paul Demers

Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada

Paul Demers is the Director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC), based at Cancer Care Ontario in Toronto, as well as a Professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and a Clinical Professor with the School of Population and Public Health of the University of British Columbia. He is also the founder CAREX Canada, a national occupational and environmental carcinogen surveillance project. He has a PhD in epidemiology and a Master’s of Science in occupational hygiene. Paul has been a member of many national and international expert panels dealing with occupational and environmental cancer for organizations such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Royal Society of Canada, the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the Health Effects Institute, and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.


Eriel Tchekwie Deranger

Indigenous Climate Action, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a mother of two and a proud Denesuline Indigenous women and member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Treaty 8 Northern Alberta. Deranger is currently the Executive Director and co-founder of Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) – Canada’s premier Indigenous-led climate justice organization. Prior to her work with ICA, Deranger spent 6 years working for her First Nation to build out one of the largest intersectional and powerful keep in the ground campaigns on the planet – the international Indigenous Tar Sands campaign challenging the expansion of Alberta’s Tar Sands, one of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels, in their traditional lands and territory in Northern Alberta, Canada. Deranger is recognized for her role in interventions at UN Climate Summits; lobbying government officials in Canada, the US, the UK and the EU; developing the the Tar Sands Healing Walk in the heart of Alberta’s tar sands; spring boarding one of the first Internationally recognized Indigenous rights-based divest movements; and working to develop and lead mass mobilizations highlighting the mass inequity of the impacts the fossil fuel industry and climate change on the rights of Indigenous peoples. Deranger’s work has resulted in her far reaching reputation for bridging the environmental and Indigenous rights movement together and building out an Indigenous rights based approach to challenging fossil fuel development. Deranger’s expertise is often sought out for university lectures and keynote address at events and conferences the world over. Her experience working within the Environmental Justice and Indigenous Rights field is demonstrated through her with organizations like the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), and with her home Nation the ACFN.


Gina McCarthy

Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA

McCarthy’s 35-year career in public service has been dedicated to environmental protection and public health. As Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, she was the nation’s leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment, including efforts to address the challenge of climate change and ensure the protection of the country’s water resources. Her leadership led to significant federal, state, and local actions on critical issues related to the environment, economic growth, energy, and transportation. Since leaving Washington, McCarthy has been a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics and the Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and joined Pegasus Capital Advisors, a private equity firm, as an operating advisor focused on sustainability and wellness investments. McCarthy now also serves as Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of Harvard Chan’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, leading the development of the School’s strategy in climate science, health, and sustainability.


Shoji Nakayama

Exposure Dynamics Research Section, Centre for Health and Environmental Risk Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan

Dr Shoji Nakayama is an MD and holds PhD in public health. His expertise is in exposure science, especially of children’s exposure. He is certified as a Public Health Specialist/Supervisor by Japan Board of Public Health and Social Medicine. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

In 2005, Dr Nakayama was invited to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and worked on exposure research on perfluorinated alkyl compounds. In 2009, he moved to EPA’s engineering laboratory to help risk management of the emerging contaminants. Then in 2011, Dr Nakayama joined the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan. He is a lead exposure scientist for the Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS), which is a longitudinal birth cohort study involving 100,000 mothers and children. Dr Nakayama collaborates with US, EU and Asian researchers to advance and promote children’s environmental health research.


Maria Neira

WHO Director for the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health

Dr Maria P. Neira was appointed Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland in September 2005. Prior to that, she was Vice-Minister of Health and President of the Spanish Food Safety Agency. She had previously held several senior positions in WHO. Dr Neira began her career as a medical coordinator working with refugees in the Salvador and Honduras for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

Dr Neira is a Spanish national, and a medical doctor by training. She specialized in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases; and Public Health. Dr Neira has been awarded the Médaille de l’Ordre national du Mérite by the Government of France and is a member of the Academy of Medicine, Asturias, Spain.