Founding Investigators

Valerie Tarasuk Valerie Tarasuk is a Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, and the Principal Investigator of this research program. Val’s research extends to Canadian food policy and population-level dietary assessment, but her primary focus is food insecurity. She has worked to elucidate the scope, nature, and health implications of this problem in Canada, assess the effectiveness of community responses, and determine how public policies and programs impact food insecurity prevalence and severity. Her recent work includes studies to explicate the relation of food insecurity to food banks on food charity, determine the nutrition implications of food insecurity, examine the relationship between food insecurity and health care utilization and costs in Canada, and assess the effects of federal and provincial child benefit programs on families’ food security.

Craig GundersenCraig Gundersen is the ACES Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, and is the Co-Principal Investigator of this research program. Craig’s research is primarily focused on the causes and consequences of food insecurity and on evaluations of food assistance programs, with a particular emphasis on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly known as the Food Stamp Program). His recent work on food insecurity topics in Canada includes analyzing the impact of US food programs (National School Lunch Program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in Canada and the relationship between food insecurity, and healthcare costs, mortality, and other health outcomes.

Herbert EmeryHerb Emery is a Professor and the Vaughan Chair in Regional Economics in the Department of Economics at the University of New Brunswick, and a PROOF co-investigator. Herb’s research interests focus on the sustainability and reform of public health care in Canada, Canadian economic development and Canadian labour markets. His recent work includes examinations of the relationship between household food insecurity and heating costs, the impact of Canada’s Old Age Security program on food insecurity and health among seniors, and the potential for a Guaranteed Annual Income to replace Social Assistance to reduce the prevalence of food insecurity.​

Lynn McIntyreLynn McIntyre is Professor Emerita of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, and a PROOF founding co-investigator. Over her career, Lynn’s research has been focused on influencing policy that will reduce household level food insecurity in Canada. Her most recent work examined the framing of food insecurity in public discourse and policy arenas. Lynn’s preferred policy solution for household food insecurity in Canada has become Basic Income and to this end, she remains actively associated with groups like the Basic Income Canada Network.

Catherine MahCatherine L. Mah is Canada Research Chair in Promoting Healthy Populations and Associate Professor in the School of Health Administration at Dalhousie University. Dr. Mah directs the Food Policy Lab, a multidisciplinary program of research on the environmental and policy determinants of diet, with a focus on health-promoting innovations in the food system. Her recent work with PROOF collaborators examines the cost of a healthy diet in Canada and population level interventions to address food insecurity in remote Indigenous Australia. She is a basic income advocate and was co-lead of policy projects for PROOF with Dr. Lynn McIntyre. Their work together examines policy rhetoric and framing of food insecurity in Canada over two decades.

Paul KurdyakPaul Kurdyak is the Director of Health Systems Research at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Lead of the Mental Health and Addictions Research Program at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, and a PROOF co-investigator. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. His research is primarily focused on mental health epidemiology, interaction between mental and medical illnesses and outcomes, and health human resources issues. Paul is engaged in research using health administrative data to evaluate population-based outcomes.

Jurgen RehmJurgen Rehm is the Director of the Social and Epidemiological Research (SER) Department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and a PROOF co-investigator. He is also Scientist and Head of the Population Health Research Group within SER, and a Professor and Chair of Addiction Policy in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Jurgen is a leader in generating and analyzing the scientific data needed to inform policy makers of strategies to reduce alcohol- and tobacco-related harm. His recent research is focused on estimating avoidable burden and costs of alcohol in Canada, and on conducting Comparative Risk Assessments on the burden of different risk factors in different countries.