Dr. Anna Banerji
Paediatric infectious, tropical disease specialist and global health specialist
Director of Global and Indigenous Health at Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Dr. Anna Banerji has dedicated her life’s work as a physician and researcher to maintaining, protecting and promoting the health and well-being of Indigenous children and youth.
Dr. Banerji bases her work, education and research in a framework that honours and respects human rights, and promotes reconciliation. She engages local communities in her research, and partners with community health workers and local people in translating her findings into public health strategies that address community health concerns.
For more than two decades, Dr. Banerji investigated lower respiratory tract infections in Inuit children. Her ground-breaking research on the causes of LRTIs has led to increased awareness of the public health risks for LRTI and has resulted in changes to the Canadian Paediatric Society guidelines for the prevention of respiratory syncytial virus in the Inuit. Dr. Banerji continues to advocate for the urgent implementation of strong and directed programs of care in the North.
In addition to her research and work with communities, Dr. Banerji is helping to improve the lives of Indigenous children and youth by changing the way health professionals think about and work with Indigenous clients and communities towards better health outcomes. To challenge health inequities facing Indigenous communities, and to improve the cultural sensitivity of medical professionals, Dr. Banerji created the Indigenous Health Conference. The 2016 conference focuses on health and reconciliation, and features talks by Chief Wilton Littlechild, Dr. Evan Adams, Cindy Blackstock and David Suzuki, among others. She has also developed and delivered courses on the social determinants of health.
As we move into an era of reconciliation, there is great need for health professionals to practice cultural safety, and to understand and work to address the structural determinants of Indigenous health. Dr. Banerji’s commitment to research in Indigenous child health, and leadership in knowledge exchange within and beyond the academic community help address this need.
With this honourable mention, the P.H. Bryce Award Committee offers its sincere appreciation for her outstanding contributions to improving the health and well-being of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children and youth.