Opportunity: Post-Doctoral Fellowship In the Epidemiology of Food Insecurity

Dr. Valerie Tarasuk at the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto and Dr. Marcelo Urquia at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP), University of Manitoba invite applications for a post-doctoral fellowship in the Epidemiology of Food Insecurity and Health. The successful applicant will join a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-funded multidisciplinary team of accomplished researchers in Manitoba, Ontario and the US, with an interest in studying the determinants of household food insecurity and its implications for health and well-being. The research approach involves the analysis of large and unique linked health and social administrative databases housed at MCHP in Winnipeg, the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in Toronto, Ontario, and the Statistics Canada Research Data Centres in these cities. The postdoctoral fellow will be required to work for at least 3 months at MCHP during year 1, but otherwise may be based in either Toronto or Winnipeg. The fellow will be jointly supervised by Drs. Valerie Tarasuk and Marcelo Urquia.

The ideal candidate will have the experience and expertise to take advantage of the opportunity to access novel and rich data to build a highly productive applied research portfolio. The fellow will be able to attend seminars, colloquia, and other regularly scheduled research activities at the partner institutions, and present in domestic and international conferences.

The full-time temporary position is for one (1) year, with the possibility of extension subject to satisfactory performance evaluations.

Competitive salary equalling or exceeding CIHR fellowship stipends, plus benefits. Actual salary will depend on the candidate’s experience, qualifications and progress.

Minimum qualifications:
– PhD, ScD, DrPH, or an equivalent doctoral degree in epidemiology, biostatistics, public health, nutritional sciences, economics, or related fields, completed within the last 5 years
– Experience conducting statistical analyses with large databases using SAS, Stata, or R

Preferred qualifications:
– Track record of research productivity
– Track record of, or strong potential for, independent funding
– Knowledge of food insecurity, social determinants of health, poverty and social policy


– Conduct data analyses at MCHP in Winnipeg, ICES in Toronto, and the Statistics Canada Research Data Centres in these locations.
– Lead and co-author manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals
– Critically contribute to the team efforts
– Actively participate in knowledge-transfer activities
– Perform limited administrative tasks
– Apply to external funding sources as eligible

To apply:

Please send your application to Dr. Valerie Tarasuk (valerie.tarasuk@utoronto.ca) as a single PDF file.
Application materials include i) a one-page cover letter describing career goals, research interests, and reasons for applying; ii) your CV and graduate degree transcripts; iii) a reprint of your most significant first-author publication; iv) contact information for three (3) references; and v) proof of proficiency in English for candidates whose original language is not English, if applicable.

Review of applications will begin on December 1, 2017. Expected start date is March 1 2018 or shortly thereafter, although this timing is flexible. The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

All applications are welcome but only potential candidates will be contacted.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

[PDF copy]

2 New PROOF Publications Examining Housing and Food Insecurity in Latest Volume of Canadian Journal of Public Health

A natural experimental study of the protective effect of home ownership on household food insecurity in Canada before and after a recession (2008–2009)
McIntyre L, Wu X, Kwok C, Emery H (2017)
Canadian Journal of Public Health 2017; 108(2), e135–e144. [Abstract]

McIntrye et al. used population data to examine the effect of the economic recession of 2008-09 on food insecurity among homeowners and renters. The authors found that the recession increased the vulnerability of renters to food insecurity but had no impact on homeowners. The results of this paper indicate a reduced ability among renters to weather financial shocks.

High vulnerability to household food insecurity in a sample of Canadian renter households in government-subsidized housing
Fafard St-Germain AA, Tarasuk V (2017)
Canadian Journal of Public Health 2017; 108(2), e129–e134. [Abstract]

Fafard St-Germain and Tarasuk examined the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity in a sample of households living in government-subsidized housing across the ten provinces. The study results show that half of the households were food insecure, with 1 in 4 experiencing moderate food insecurity and 1 in 5 experiencing severe food insecurity. Greater income was associated with lower risk of food insecurity, suggesting that income support is needed to reduce food insecurity among households living in government-subsidized housing.

Prevalence of Household Food Insecurity Among Households Living in Government-Subsidized Housing.

New Publication: The household food insecurity gradient and potential reductions in adverse population mental health outcomes in Canadian adults

The household food insecurity gradient and potential reductions in adverse population mental health outcomes in Canadian adults
Jessiman-Perreault G, McIntyre L (2017)
SSM-Population Health 2017; 3: 464-472.
[Free Full Text]

This study furthers our understanding of the relationship between household food insecurity and poor mental health by examining the relationship between the severity of household food insecurity and six mental health outcomes in a large pooled sample of adults (18-64 years old) drawn from the Canadian Community Health Survey (n=302,683). The mental health conditions under study included: major depressive episodes in the past year, depressive thoughts in the past month, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, self-reported mental health status and suicidal thoughts in the past year.

Percent and 95% Confidence Intervals of Six Adverse Mental Health Outcomes Reported for Each Level of Household Food Insecurity (Unadjusted Prevalence).

Findings showed a food insecurity gradient across each of the adverse mental health outcomes – the odds of reporting an outcome increased with the severity of food insecurity. The odds of reporting mental health conditions among adults in severely food insecure households were very high (25.5% to 41.1%, depending on the condition), and the researchers calculated that a decrease of between 8.1% and 16.0% in the reporting of these mental health outcomes would accrue if those who were severely food insecure became food secure. The results of this study suggest that macro-level policy interventions that reduce the severity of food insecurity, particularly severe food insecurity, could reduce mental ill-health burden.