Michel Joffres

Dr. Michel Joffres has collected a lot of travel miles since graduating from medical school in France. He worked for two years in the South Pacific, then did advanced studies at the University of Hawaii where he obtained a Ph.D. in Epidemiology. Maybe the climate in Hawaii was too comfortable for him-his next stop was Edmonton, where he worked in the Department of Pediatrics, developed several health surveys, and set up a demonstration project on prevention of heart disease.

In 1995 he took a position at Dalhousie University teaching Epidemiology and directing research on environmental sensitivities. “With toxic exposures and poor indoor air quality, you may develop symptoms like fatigue, itchy eyes and nose or a scratchy throat that always needs clearing. I look at these different types of symptoms and then see if there are tests to confirm what people have. Then I look for treatments that work.

I get involved in what we call ‘clinical trials’-comparing treatments with each other or with a placebo.” “My current work in environmental sensitivities involves three areas-describing illnesses, testing and finding better treatments. It is a growing area because a lot of people are affected by these problems.” What does he enjoy most about his work? “The dream that I can make a difference out there.”