David Waltner-Toews

David Waltner-Toews (1948-) is a Canadian epidemiologist, essayist, poet, fiction writer, veterinarian, and a specialist in the epidemiology of food and waterborne diseases, zoonoses and ecosystem health. He is best known for his work on animal and human infectious diseases in relation to complexity.

A professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph, he is the founding president of Veterinarians without Borders/ Vétérinaires sans Frontières, and founding president of the Network for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health.

Besides about 100 peer-reviewed scholarly papers and a textbook (Ecosystem Sustainability and Health: a practical approach, Cambridge, 2004), he has published half a dozen books of poetry, a collection of poems and recipes, an award-winning collection of short stories (One Foot in Heaven), a murder mystery (Fear of Landing) and a book about the natural history of diseases people get from animals (The Chickens Fight Back: Pandemic Panics and Deadly Diseases that Jump from Animals to Humans).


  • Ecosystem Sustainability and Health: a practical approach
  • Food, Sex and Salmonella: Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick
  • The Earth is One Body
  • Good Housekeeping
  • The Fat Lady Struck Dumb
  • One Foot in Heaven
  • Fear of Landing
  • The Chickens Fight Back: Pandemic Panics and Deadly Diseases that Jump from Animals to Humans


  • 2006 Winner, Best Regional Fiction – Canada West, Independent Publisher Book Awards, for One Foot in Heaven
  • 2007 Finalist, Canadian Science Writers' Association Book Award, for Chickens Fight Back

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