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Atanu Sarkar

Community Health and Humanities
MBBS (Burdwan, India), MCH & PhD (JNU, New Delhi), MES (Queen’s)

Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health

Health Sciences Centre
Rm: H2851
t: 709 864-4920
f: 709 864-4991



Course Instructor:

  • Environmental health (MED 6722) for MPH (Winter)
  • Communicable disease prevention and control (MED6724) for MPH (Fall) (Elective)
  • Public health seminar I (MED6700) for MPH program (Fall)
  • Public health seminar II (MED6701) for MPH program (Winter)
  • Practicum for MPH (MED 6710)

Course coordinator:

  • Undergraduate (MD) teaching: Environmental health, critical appraisal and independent projects.

Research Interests:

  • Environmental contamination and health
  • Climate change and health
  • Ecosystem and health
  • Social epidemiology
  • Agriculture and health
  • Food Security
  • Occupational hazards
  • Global health
Supervise students who are interested to conduct research on the above topics

Research Grants:


  • A study of mosquito population diversity and distribution, viral pathogens and the potential impact of climate change on human health risks in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the French overseas territory of St. Pierre and Miquelon (Principal Investigator) Source: Public Health Agency of Canada/Health Canada (2018-2020)
  • Planning to explore the social determinants of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Sikkim, India (Co-Principal Investigator) Source: CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant - Institute Community Support competition (2018-2019)


  • Investigating the Main Operational Challenges and Opportunities for Developing Sustainable Greenhouses in Newfoundland (Principal Investigator) Source: Harris Centre Applied Research Fund (2016 – 2018).
  • Study of utilization of a recreational facility in small communities: A case study of a YMCA facility in Marystown, Newfoundland (Co-Principal Investigator) Source: YMCA - Newfoundland Labrador (2016 – 2018)
  • Distribution of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Newfoundland diet: Possible connection to hypothyroidism (Principal Investigator) Newfoundland Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research (NLCAHR) (2015 – 2019)
  • Perceiving Climate Variability: A Community-based Study to Identify Frameworks for Understanding and Interpretation (Co-Principal Applicant) Source: SSHRC Insight Development Grant Competition (2015-2018).

  • From the northern edge of subarctic Canada to the subtropics of Australia: Improving food security and wellbeing in Indigenous communities through agroforestry stewardship practices using Indigenous knowledge and western science as complementary constructs (Co-applicant), Source: CIHR Transitional Open Operating Grant Program (T-OOGP)
  • Water Insecurity in Black Tickle: Moving Toward Solutions (Co-Investigator), Source: Office of the President, Memorial University
  • A framework for better understanding drinking-water quality in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador: Implications for optimization and protection of municipally supplied water (Co-Investigator),  Source: Harris Centre RBC Water Research and Outreach Fund
  • Study of trends and determinants of employment benefit of Memorial University. (Principal Investigator) Internal grant from Vice-President Administration, Memorial University
  • Radiation Exposure in Makkovik, Labrador and Environmental Health Risk - Part 1: Measurement of Radio Nuclides in the Environment and Local Food Sources; Part 2: Assessment of Population Perspectives and Needs (Principal Investigator), Source: Newfoundland Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research (NLCAHR) and Labrador Institute
  • Assessment of Exposure to Radiation in Makkovik, Labrador: Measurement of Nuclides in the Environment and Local Food Sources (Principal Investigator), Source: Atlantic Aboriginal Health Research Program (AAHRP)
  • A study of food insufficiency and food insecurity among elderly population and single parents in St John’s (Principal Investigator), Source: Harris Centre Applied Research Fund
  • Exploring appropriate business models for establishment of water quality monitoring service in Newfoundland and Labrador (Principal Investigator), Source: Harris Centre RBC Water Research and Outreach Fund
  • Developing a community-based monitoring program for drinking water supplies in the Indian Bay Watershed: A baseline study of surface water quality, contamination sources and resident practices and perceptions (Co-Principal Investigator), Source: Harris Centre RBC Water Research and Outreach Fund
  • Water quality in Aboriginal communities in Labrador: a study of the Southern Inuit community of Black Tickle (Co-Principal Investigator), Source: Harris Centre RBC Water Research and Outreach Fund, and Labrador Institute
  • Community-based case-control study of Type 1 diabetes mellitus incidence and drinking water content in Newfoundland and Labrador (Co-Investigator), Source: Harris Centre RBC Water Research and Outreach Fund
  • Seeking innovative policy and governance solutions for sustainable drinking water systems in rural and small towns in Newfoundland and Labrador (Co-Investigator), Source: Harris Centre RBC Water Research and Outreach Fund
  • Multiple environmental stressors contaminating water and food chain: an exploratory study assessing human health risk in the Humber River Basin  (Principal Investigator), Source: Humber River Basin Project
  • A study of groundwater quality of private wells in Western Newfoundland communities (Principal Investigator), Source: Harris Centre RBC Water Research and Outreach Fund 


Peer-Reviewed Articles (*lead author)

  • Chafe, R., Aslanov, R., Sarkar, A., Gregory, P., Comeau, A., Newhook, L.A. (2018). The Association of Type 1 Diabetes and Concentrations of Drinking Water Components in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care
  • Sarkar, A.*, Wilton, D.H.C., Fitzgerald, E. (2017) Indoor Radon in Micro-geological Setting of an Indigenous Community in Canada: A Pilot Study for Hazard Identification. Int J Occup Environ Med. 8(2):69-79. doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2017.1001.
  • Rahman, M.A., Sarkar, A*. (2017) Extensively Drug-resistant Tuberculosis (XDR-TB): A daunting challenge to the current End TB Strategy and policy recommendations. Indian J Tuberc. 64(3):153-160. doi: 10.1016/j.ijtb.2017.03.006
  • Ochoo, B., Valcour, J.E., Sarkar, A*. (2017) Association between perceptions of public drinking water quality and actual drinking water quality: A community-based exploratory study in Newfoundland (Canada). Environ Res. 159:435-443. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.08.019
  • Hanrahan, M., Sarkar, A., Hudson, A. (2016) Water insecurity in indigenous Canada: a community based inter-disciplinary approach Water Quality Research Journal of Canada (DOI: 10.2166/wqrjc.2015.010)
  • Sarkar, A.*, Hanrahan, M., Hudson, A. (2015) Water Insecurity in Canadian Indigenous communities: Some Inconvenient Truths Rural and Remote Health 15(4):3354
  • Sarkar, A.*, Knight, J.C., Babichuk, N.A., Mulay, S. (2015) Skewed distribution of hypothyroidism in the coastal communities of Newfoundland, Canada Environment International 83:171–175. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2015.05.017] [5 year Impact Factor 6.7 (2014)]
  • Sarkar, A.*, vanLoon, G. (2015) Modern Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Insecurity: paradox in India Public Health 1-3 [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2015.04.003] [5 year Impact Factor 1.6 (2014)]
  • Finnis, J., Sarkar, A.*, Stoddart, M. (2015) Bridging science and community knowledge? The complicating role of natural variability in perceptions of climate change Global Environmental Change 32:1–10. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.12.011] [5 year Impact Factor 7.8 (2014)] (all authors made equal contribution)
  • Hanrahan, M., Sarkar, A., Hudson, A., (2014) Exploring Water Insecurity in a Northern Indigenous Community in Canada: The “Never Ending Job” of the Southern Inuit of Black Tickle, Labrador Arctic Anthropology 51(2):9–22
  • Sarkar, A.*, Patil, S.G., Hugar, L.B., vanLoon, G.W. (2013) Modern Agriculture Practices and Associated Health Risks: An Indian Study. J. Indian Soc. Agriculture Statistics. 67(2): 279-285.
  • Chakraborti, D., Rahman, M.M., Murill, M., Das, R., Siddayya, Patil, S.G., Sarkar, A., Dadapeer H.J., Yendigeri, S., Ahmed, R., Das, K.K. (2013), Environmental arsenic contamination and its health effects in a historic gold mining area of the Mangalur greenstone belt of Northeastern Karnataka, India. J. Hazard. Mater. 262:1048-55 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2012.10.002 [5 year Impact factor 5.3 (2014)]
  • Sarkar, A.*, Aronson, K.J., Patil, S.G., Hugar, L.B., vanLoon, G.W. (2012) Emerging health risks associated with modern agriculture practices: A comprehensive study in India. Environmental Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2012.03.005  [5 year Impact Factor 4.2 (2014)]
  • Sarkar, A.*, Patil, S.G., Hugar, L.B., vanLoon, G.W. (2011) Sustainability of current agriculture practices, community perception and implications for ecosystem health: an Indian study EcoHealth. 8(4). DOI: 10.1007/s10393-011-0723-9 [Impact factor 2.5 (2014)]
  • Sarkar, A.* (2010) Ecosystem Perspective of Groundwater Arsenic Contamination in India and Relevance in Policy. EcoHealth. 7(1): 114-126. [Impact factor 2.5 (2014)] (one of the most downloaded articles in 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Sarkar, A.* (2010) Assessing Vulnerability and Adaptation of Arsenic Exposed Population in India, Asian Journal of Water, Environment and Pollution. 7(1): 35-43.
  • Muntaner, C., Chung, H., Solar, O., Santana, V., Castedo, A., Benach, J., and the EMCONET Network. (2010) A Macro-level Model of Employment Relations and Health Inequalities, International Journal of Health Services. 40(2): 215-221. [Impact factor – 1.24 (2013)] [I am one of the members of EMCONET Network]
  • Sarkar, A.* (2009) Role of Inequality and Inequity in the Occurrence and Consequences of Chronic Arsenicosis in India and Policy Implications, Environmental Justice. 2(3): 147 – 152.
  • Sarkar, A.* (2008) Climate Change and Health: Methodological Issues and Introduction to Climate Epidemiology, Indian Journal of Public Health. 52(2): 100-106.


  • Sarkar, A. (2011) Climate Change: Adverse Health Impacts and Roles of Health Professionals. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2(1): 5-8.


  • Sarkar, A. Social epidemiology of arsenic poisoning in West Bengal, India. (2012) Lap Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany.
  • Sensharma S., Sarkar, A. (editors) (2012) Disaster Risk Management: Local, Regional and International Level Cooperation. Concept Publisher, New Delhi.
  • Sarkar, A., Panigrahi, S. Anand, M. (2007) Vector Borne Diseases in India - Environmental Health and Policy Perspectives, Manak Publications, New Delhi, India. p 210.
  • Sarkar, A., Panigrahi, S. (2007) Water Borne Diseases in India - Environmental Health and Policy Perspectives, Manak Publications, New Delhi, India. p 230.
  • Lal, P., Sarkar, A., Chaturvedi, B., Madan, V. (2006) Stealthy Intruders – How Persistent Organic Pollutants are Harming the Health of Indian Women, Chintan, New Delhi, India. p 52.
Book (under preparation) (* lead editor)
  • Sarkar, A.,* Sensharma S., vanLoon, G.W. (editors) Sustainable Solutions for Food Security - Combating climate change by adaptation (Publisher – Springer AG, Switzerland) (the volume contains 24 chapters contributed by 70 odd authors from almost 18 countries. Expected to publish in Summer/Fall 2018.

Edited Books (chapters)

  • Traverso-Yepez, M., Sarkar, A., Gadag, V., Hunter, K. The lived experience of food (in)security among seniors and single parents in St. John’s, NL (Forthcoming as a chapter of a book on Food security) Publisher ISER (St. John’s, NL)
  • Sarkar, A. (2009) Sustainable solutions to arsenic contamination of ground water: a review of existing opportunities in the Ganga-Meghna-Brahmaputra basin. In: Pascual, U., Bandyopadhyay, J., & Shah, A. (Eds) Water, Agriculture and Sustainable Wellbeing. Oxford University Press, pp 54-74, New Delhi, India.
  • Mukherjee, A.B., Bhattacharya P., Sarkar, A., Zevenhoven, R. (2009) Mercury emissions from industrial sources in India and its effects in the environment, In: Pirrone, N & Mason R, (Eds) Mercury Fate and Transport in the Global Atmosphere Emissions, Measurements and Models, Springer, pp 81-112, New York, USA.
  • Sarkar, A. (2008) Role of social factors as determinants for chronic arsenicosis in India. In: Bhattacharya P., Mukherjee, A.B. & Bundschuh J. (Eds) Groundwater for Sustainable Development – Problems, Perspectives and Challenges. Taylor & Francis/Balkema, pp 365-376, Leiden, The Netherlands.
  • Sarkar, A. (2008) Occupational and environmental health perspectives of e-waste recycling in India: a review. In: Johri, R. (Ed) E-waste in India: Implications, Regulations and Management in India. TERI Press, pp 121-148, New Delhi, India.
  • Sarkar, A. (2008) Arsenic contamination of ground water: Social determinants of an environmental crisis in India. In: Lahiri-Dutt K. & Wasson R. (Eds) Water First: Issues and Challenges for Nations and Communities in South Asia. SAGE-India, pp 160-184, New Delhi, India.
  • Sarkar, A. (2007) E-waste in India: Environmental health perspective and possible actions. In: Rajeshwari, K.V., Basu, S. & Johri, R. (Eds) Tackling e-waste: towards efficient management techniques. pp. 19-34, TERI Press, New Delhi, India.

Presentation of papers in international conferences/workshops (last 10 years)

  • Sarkar, A., Sensharma S. (2015) Reduction of Arctic sea ice cover: emerging risks due to new commercial activities. 6th Conference of the International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRiM), entitled “Disaster Risk Reduction: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Growth”. 28-30 October, New Delhi, India.
  • Sarkar, A., Gadag, V., Traverso-Yepez, M.  (2015) Assessment of food security among single parents and seniors: a community-based survey in St. John’s, Canada. 2nd International Conference on Global Food Security, 11-14 October, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. Hosted by Cornell University and Columbia University.
  • Sarkar, A., Knight, J.C., Babichuk, N.A., Mulay, S. (2015) Is exposure to Thyroid Disrupting Chemicals responsible for higher rates of hypothyroidism in some coastal communities of Newfoundland, Canada? 27th Annual International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Conference. 30 August – 3 September, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Sarkar, A., Wilton, D.H., Fitzgerald, E. (2015) Radon (Rn) induced health risk assessment: need to re-examine current policy and to act beyond disciplinary boundaries. 27th Annual International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Conference. 30 August – 3 September, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Babichuk, N.A., Sarkar, A. (2015) Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) contamination in the Gulf of St Lawrence: a critical environmental health issue for the population of Newfoundland (Canada). 27th Annual International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Conference. 30 August – 3 September, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Sarkar, A., Wilton, D.H. (2014) A Study of Environmental Impacts Due to Uranium Exploration and Development in Labrador, Canada. 26th Annual International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Conference. 24 - 28 August, Seattle, USA.
  • Sarkar, A., vanLoon, G.W. (2014) Evidence of Epidemiological Transition in Rural India: Are Modern Agriculture and Changing Ecology Responsible? The 5th Biennial Conference of the International Association for Ecology and Health. 11 – 15 August, Montreal, Canada.
  • Sarkar, A., Hanrahan, M., Hudson, A. (2014) Exploring Water Insecurity and Health Risks in the Southern Inuit Community of Black Tickle, Labrador, Canada The 5th Biennial Conference of the International Association for Ecology and Health. 11 – 15 August, Montreal, Canada.
  • Hanrahan, M., Sarkar, A., Hudson, A. (2014) Water Insecurity in Indigenous Canada: A Case Study of Illnesses, Neglect, and Urgency, The 2014 International Conference on Marine and Freshwater Environments (iMFE). 6 – 8 August, St John’s, Canada
  • Thomson, K.K., Sarkar, A., Cooper, T.J. (2014) Potential Health Risks of Contaminants in Private Groundwater Sources in Newfoundland and Labrador, The 2014 International Conference on Marine and Freshwater Environments (iMFE). 6 – 8 August, St John’s, Canada (Awarded as a best oral presentation)
  • Sarkar, A., vanLoon, G.W. (2013) Modern agriculture and health: need for a robust risk assessment model, Stat 2013 - Socio-Economic Challenges and Sustainable Solutions. 28 – 31 Dec, Hyderabad, India.
  • Sarkar, A. (2013) Agricultural practices, food production, food security and governance in South Asia, International conference on environmental epidemiology. 19 – 23 August, Basel, Switzerland. 
  • Sarkar, A. Finnis, J (2013) Changing Climate in Rural Canada: Linking Scientific Evidence and Population Perspectives. International conference on environmental epidemiology. 19 – 23 August, Basel, Switzerland.
  • Sarkar, A. (2011) Climate epidemiology: a pressing need for the developing world, in Global Health Conference, on Nov 13-15, Montreal, Canada.
  • Sarkar, A. vanLoon, G., Aronson, K., Goebel, A. (2010) Modern Agriculture Practice and Emergence of New Health Crisis in Rural India in Canadian Conference on Global Health 2010, on 31Oct – 3 Nov, Ottawa, Canada.
  • Sarkar, A. (2009) The Impact of Agricultural Practices on Environmental Health: A Comparative Analysis in India in the Environment, Health and Development Network Inaugural Symposium, on 15 – 17 June, University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich, United Kingdom.
  • Sarkar, A. (2008) Environmental Health Perspectives of Aral Sea Disaster, in International Conference on Problems of Aral: Impact on the Gene Pool of Population, Flora, Fauna and International Cooperation for Mitigating Consequences, 11 – 12 March 2008, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  • Sarkar, A. (2007) Participatory Governance and Inter-sector Coordination for Sustainable Solutions of Arsenic Contamination of Ground Water in India: An Explorative Study, in European Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, 24 – 26 May 2007, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Sarkar, A. (2007) Integrated approach for sustainable solutions of groundwater arsenic contamination of South Asia, in International Conference on Towards Sustainable Global Health, 9 – 11 May 2007, Bonn, Germany.

Highlighted Accomplishments:

  • Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University Outstanding Research Excellence Award (2015)
  • SSHRC Travel Grants Competition, Annual conference of International Society of Environmental Epidemiology, Basel, Switzerland (2013)
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University (2010)
  • Core Team Member: Employment condition and health dimension (EMCONET), Commission of Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Team Member: Global Partnership on Atmospheric Mercury Transport and Fate Research, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)

Creative Activity

Directional debut: short documentary Broken Rocks. Based on research on uranium exploration in Labrador. 

Available in YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGJ5_qDCjsg