Joanna Burke-Bajaj completed an Honors BSc at the University of Toronto and holds an MSc Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations (with key interest in Social Policy) from the London School of Economics. While Joanna has always had a passion for Public Health, her commitment to improving healthcare deepened as her mother was diagnosed with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. After navigating the healthcare system as a family caregiver, Joanna decided to start a grassroots endeavour along with her mother, as co-Founders of the Women Patients and Caregivers Advocacy Network. The WPC network is a space for women to share their unique experiences of self-advocacy in healthcare, to improve support for women as both patients and caregivers.
Joanna currently works as a Program Lead at Healthcare Excellence Canada and organizes quality improvement programs focused on long-term care and the care of older adults. Prior to this role, Joanna coordinated health equity research and emergency medicine projects in Toronto and Ethiopia through the Global Health Emergency Medicine organization based in Toronto’s University Health Network. Through her many years of experience in academic and non-profit organizations, Joanna has conducted research in the areas of HIV prevention, reproductive justice, WASH, and occupational therapy, with partnerships in Sri Lanka, China, Trinidad and Tobago, India, and communities across Canada. In 2021, Joanna was chosen as an inaugural Fellow for the Harvard Public Health Review Fellowship.
Along with her passion for identifying quality improvement opportunities and gaps in healthcare accessibility, Joanna is also an advocate for social and environmental policy change. Through her political and academic advocacy, Joanna was invited to join the National Board of the Keepers of the Water, invited to serve as a Youth Advisor to Canadian Senator Marilou McPhedran, and named a Top 25 Under 25 Canadian environmental activist by the Starfish Organization.
The inaugural 40 under 40 cohort represents the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists, activists, intellectual provocateurs, authors, and directors who inspire and catalyze us all to a more just and equitable world.