Anna Banerji

Dr. Anna Banerji
Anna Banerji

Dr. Anna Banerji is a pediatrician, infectious/tropical disease specialist, public health specialist, and human rights advocate. She is a compassionate humanitarian where equity, diversity and social justice has been central throughout her professional career and personal life. As an educator, researcher and activist, she has focused on refugee and Indigenous populations.

Dr. Banerji, a pioneer in refugee health, is the founder of the North American Refugee Health Conference (NARHC) which occurs in Canada on alternative years. It has become the largest academic meeting on refugee health globally. She is the founding Executive Director for the North American Refugee Health Conference Incorporated. She has been working with refugee children for most of her career and created the COSTI Pediatric clinic where she screens most of the refugee children coming to Toronto. When the Syrians arrived in 2016, she was the first healthcare provider onsite at the hotel and currently is assessing Afghan children at the airport hotels.

Dr. Banerji has been working with Indigenous communities for almost 30 years, as a strong ally and advocate for Indigenous peoples. She has travelled to numerous Indigenous communities across Canada in various capacities. She has published landmark research on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) documenting that Inuit babies have the highest admissions for RSV globally and has been advocating for health equity including access to the RSV vaccine for term Inuit babies. Dr. Banerji was successful in advocating for more resources for Indigenous communities to fight COVID-19 through petitions which resulted in an additional $305 million dollars, and Indigenous Services implemented most of her recommendations for the management of COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.

In 2014 Dr. Banerji founded the Indigenous Health Conference, the largest academic event in Canada discussing diverse aspects of Indigenous Health. She was a public health consultant for the COVID-19 task force for Nishnawabe Aski Nation which represents 49 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario. When the COVID-19 vaccine became available, she spent five weeks in remote Northern fly communities to vaccinate First Nations Youth.

Dr. Banerji has travelled extensively around the world including working in a field hospital with the Canadian Red Cross in Haiti for a month, soon after the 2010 earthquake. She has given thousands of media interviews and invited lectures, mostly advocating for health equity. She was a trusted voice in the media during COVID-19 with her candor, knowledge and experience, focusing on disadvantaged and under-served populations including: CBC The National, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and the Washington Post. She is currently an expert medical columnist for the CBC Syndication for radio stations across Canada.

She has won several awards including: the Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce Award (2019) for her advocacy with Indigenous children, Ontario Pediatrician of the Year (2022), Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada for 2024 and was inaugurated into the Order of Ontario in 2012.