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The Ron de Burger Student Award

Training and Education

The Ron de Burger Student Award is an annual award offered in partnership with the Environmental Health Foundation of Canada (EHFC) for students enrolled in Canadian post-secondary institutions offering a Public Health Inspection (PHI) program or a degree in public health. It is dedicated to the memory of Ron de Burger, who was a celebrated leader in public health and a longtime NCCEH advisory board member.

The Award:

The award offers students the opportunity to:

  • Demonstrate their understanding of the Knowledge Translation (KT) process and how to apply KT to environmental public health practice and policy making;
  • Obtain valuable networking opportunities through the NCCEH; and,
  • Be recognized for quality KT work.

This year,up to three prizes of $700 will be awarded for outstanding short knowledge translation papers addressing an environmental public health problem. Winners will be given the opportunity to write a blog post for the NCCEH website highlighting their paper, and a chance to present their work as part of the NCCEH seminar series.

Winning submissions will also be posted on the NCCEH and EHFC websites.


Candidates must be a full- or part-time student at a Canadian post-secondary institution, enrolled in a Public Health Inspector (PHI), environmental health, or public health program at either the undergraduate or master’s level. Students who have graduated from their program within six months of the submission deadline are also eligible to apply.

Submission Criteria

Each student must select one of the five (5) scenarios below and submit the following documents:

  1. An original paper, written by the applicant and structured to address the scenario; and
  2. A current Enrollment Verification Letter for confirmation of eligibility. This letter is available free of charge from most institutions. A Completion Letter may be submitted in its place for eligible graduates.

Submissions must focus on one of the following five (5) environmental health scenarios below:

  1. Comparative analysis of food inspection disclosure systems

Your health protection department would like to improve public disclosure of restaurant inspection results by physically posting these within restaurants in a format that is succinct and easy to understand by the public. You have been tasked to find out which system is the best for your jurisdiction. What systems have been implemented by other jurisdictions and are there any positive or negative consequences that should be considered?

  1. Childcare facilities and traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) exposure

You received an application for a childcare facility on a busy major road in your jurisdiction. You attended a webinar recently and learned about the negative health impacts of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP). How would an inspector determine whether the placement of the facility is appropriate? What interventions should an operator make in order to ensure that children cared for within the facility are protected from unnecessary exposure to TRAP?

  1. Cleaning and disinfection of tattoo equipment

Equipment for tattooing has been evolving rapidly and the latest generation of equipment includes cartridge, rotary, and pen devices that vary in their construction. For example, some have parts that can be autoclaved and some cannot. The main concern is that blood from one client may be drawn up into cartridges or other parts of a device and may pose a contamination risk to other clients on which the device is subsequently used.  What level of cleaning/disinfection is needed for different devices or their components?  How can a PHI or EHO be sure of the appropriate level of cleaning/disinfection or other safety measures required for a given device?

  1. Residential exposure to Radon gas though household water

Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and more attention is being paid to this indoor contaminant by governments at many levels. Radon in its soil gas state is the focus of most radon education; however, radon-contaminated water has also been flagged as a potential problem in a number of areas in Canada. What types of water systems are vulnerable to radon gas exposure and how does radon contaminate water? How much of a risk does radon in water represent compared to soil gas and are there any specific policies, regulations, or guidelines addressing radon levels in water? What physiological effects and health outcomes are associated with exposure to radon in water? Finally, what can homeowners do to reduce the amount of radon in their water?

  1. Health risk management and communication to mitigate tick-borne disease

Tick-borne diseases pose health risks to both people and animals (including pets) and the rising incidence of ticks is a public health concern. What is the scientific evidence regarding reducing exposure risks in public areas? Discuss best practices and management approaches. Include in your discussion, key stakeholder communities (e.g., environmental public health practitioners, health authorities, medical and veterinary professionals, parks and conservation authorities) and health risk communication strategies needed to engage these communities effectively in safeguarding public health.  


The submission should include the following sections:

Key Messages: Three to four bulleted points highlighting the importance of the issue for environmental public health. This should be a point form summary of your paper.

Background: A review of the literature, main public health hazards and risks and factors that contribute to the identified risks and a statement of the public health significance of your study.

Current policies, regulations and practice guidelines, including a review of:

  • Existing policies, regulations, and guidelines pertaining to the issue;
  • Approaches used by different stakeholders in different jurisdictions in dealing with the issue; and
  • Where appropriate, outcomes of given policies, regulations and guidelines.

Gap analysis: Identification of major knowledge, policy, or practice gaps.

Recommendations: Your recommendations for improving knowledge, policy and practice, supported by the evidence.

Acknowledgements (if applicable), including:

  • References
  • Appendices – including literature search details


The body of the submission is expected to be between 1500-2500 words in length, double-spaced, and presented in a legible, 12-point size font. No additional formatting is requested. The word limit does not include references or appendices.

References must be presented in Vancouver style. We recommend that candidates use reference management software (e.g., Endnote, Reference Manager, RefWorks).

Files must be submitted in WORD format.


  • Key messages (10%) Clearly state the importance of the problem to environmental public health and to cover the main points succinctly.
  • Background (10%) Critically evaluate the literature in relation to the problem.
  • Synthesis (15%) Concisely describe the main hazards, risks, and factors affecting each risk.
  • Current policies, regulations and practice guidelines (10%)  Compare and summarize effectively and accurately relevant policies, regulations, and practice guidelines related to the problem.
  • Gap analysis (20%)
  • Recommendations (20%)
    • Outline recommendations that are consistent with the current state of knowledge and policies, regulation, and practice, and are in line with the gaps identified in the previous section.
    • Include recommendations that could be capable of decreasing risks and improving public health.
  • Overall presentation (10%)
    • Ensure accuracy in spelling and grammar.
    • Demonstrate proper use of required sections and formatting (including citation and reference style) and ensure document readability.
    • Maximum word allowance will be enforced. Submissions exceeding the maximum allowable word count (as above) will not be considered.
  • Search and selection criteria (5%)
    • Provide details that explain how and where cited literature was found, including search terms, databases, and inclusion/exclusion criteria used.
    • Identify potential biases introduced by the chosen methods.

Submission Deadline

  • MAY 31, 2019

How to Submit

Completed work should be submitted here.


Previous Award Recipients:


  • Exploring the Relationship between the Built Environment and Social Isolation and Loneliness: Implications for Public Policy
    Amber Gillespie
    University of Guelph, Master of Public Health
    SummaryFull document.
  • Beyond Zoonosis: The Mental Health Impacts of Rat Exposure of Inner-City Residents
    Raymond Lam
    The University of British Columbia – Master of Science in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
    SummaryFull document.
  • Computer Keyboards Transmitting More Than Words: A Knowledge Synthesis of Computer Keyboards in Hospitals as a Reservoir for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infection
    Saarah Hussain
    University of Guelph, Master of Public Health
    SummaryFull document.


  • Strategies to Mitigate the Impacts of Extreme Heat Events Among Homeless Populations in BC’s Lower Mainland: A Review of Evidence-Based Approaches and Recommendations
    E Cabantog
    Simon Fraser University: Master of Public Health in Environmental and Occupational Health
    SummaryFull document.
  • Echinococcus multilocularis as an emerging public health threat in Canada: A knowledge synthesis and needs assessment
    E Denstedt
    University of Guelph: Master of Public Health
    SummaryFull document.
  • Application of behaviour change theories to food safety education in youth: A scoping review
    K Diplock
    University of Waterloo: PhD student, School of Public Health and Health Systems
    SummaryFull document.
  • Finding Headspace: A Knowledge Synthesis of the Effects of Urban Green Space on Mental Health
    R Janicki
    University of Guelph: Master of Public Health
    SummaryFull document.


  • Climate Change and Infectious Disease Risk in the Canadian North
    S Chen
    University of Toronto: Master of Public Health in Epidemiology
    SummaryFull document.
  • Time is ticking: A needs assessment for Lyme disease health promotion
    A Kata
    University of Waterloo: Master of Public Health
    SummaryFull document.
  • The influence of fast-food restaurants surrounding homes and schools on measures of child and adolescent obesity: A Knowledge Synthesis
    E McDonald
    University of Waterloo: Master of Public Health
    SummaryFull document.


  • Role of the built environment on older adults’ physical activity: An evidence review
    I Chhay
    University of Guelph: Master of Public Health
    Summary. Full document.
  • Agricultural runoff, cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Erie and public health: A knowledge synthesis
    C Friesen
    University of Guelph: Master of Science in Epidemiology
    Summary. Full document.
  • The interactive effects of poor air quality and extreme heat on health
    E Marshall-Catlin
    Queen's University: Master of Public Health
    Summary. Full document.


  • The use of social media in environmental health research and communication: an evidence review
    M Hempel
    University of Guelph: Master of Public Health
    IntroductionFull Document.
  • Health Effects of Pharmaceuticals in the Water Supply: A Knowledge Synthesis
    S Lam
    University of Guelph: Master of Public Health
    SummaryFull Document.
  • Safety of Chinese Roast Pork as Determined by the Water Activity of the Skin and Cavity
    W Lao
    BC Institute of Technology: Environmental Health
    AbstractFull Document.
  • Safety and pH Measurements of Sushi Rice in Japanese Restaurants in Burnaby BC, Canada
    C Lee
    BC Institute of Technology: Environmental Health
    AbstractFull Document.
  • The Effectiveness of Ozone-chlorine Treatment for Reducing Chloramine Concentration Compared to Chlorine Treatment in Swimming Pools and Whirlpools
    D Mah
    BC Institute of Technology: Environmental Health
    AbstractFull Document.


  • The Hot Lunch Dilemma: Evaluation Heat Retention Ability of Insulated Container with Macaroni and Cheese
    T Chu
    BC Institute of Technology: Environmental Health
    AbstractFull Document.
  • Comparison of Aerobic and E. Coli Colony-Forming Units Isolated From Circulating Paper and Plastic $20 Canadian Banknotes
    R Olivier
    BC Institute of Technology: Environmental Health
    AbstractFull Document.
  • Endocrine Disruptors in Drinking Water and Associated Health Effects: A Knowledge Synthesis
    V Wells
    University of Guelph: Master of Public Health
    SummaryFull Document.


  • An Investigation on Organic Contaminants on Tattoo Machines
    S Jalili
    BC Institute of Technology: Environmental Health
    AbstractFull Document.
  • Is house dust a reservoir for infant gut bacteria?
    T Konya
    University of Toronto: Master of Public Health
    AbstractFull Document.
  • Infection Prevention and Control in Vancouver’s Medical Clinic Waiting Room: Is there consistency between regions of different socioeconomic status?
    B Kung
    BC Institute of Technology: Environmental Health
    AbstractFull Document.
  • One Health and EcoHealth in Ontario: A qualitative study exploring how holistic and integrative approaches are shaping public health practice in Ontario
    Z Leung
    University of Guelph: Master of Public Health
    AbstractFull DocumentJournal Article.
  • Uranium Mining: Assessing the potential health impact of uranium mining in Nunavut
    R Moorhouse, G Habibi, D Richard, T Byambaa, T Fabro
    Simon Fraser University: Master’s in Public Health
    AbstractFull Document.


Section Topic: 
Training and Education