How is climate change shifting and accelerating the spread of infectious diseases around the world? What are some of the impacts on societies, economics, and human and ecological health?
These were some of the topics that we wanted to address through the public speaker series we cohosted earlier this year with Climate Positive Energy and the Institute for Pandemics, two other Institutional Strategic Initiatives at the University of Toronto.
Each virtual conversation kicked off with a keynote presentation by an invited guest speaker followed by a panel discussion moderated by Kate Allen, the climate change reporter at The Toronto Star.
The first event in the series focused on climate and community health with a keynote presentation by Laura Rosella, an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH). This was followed by a panel discussion with Vanessa Allen, an associate professor of laboratory medicine and pathobiology and medical microbiologist and infectious disease physician at Sinai Health, and Shauna Brail, an associate professor at the Institute for Management and Innovation at U of T Mississauga.
The second event about climate change, pandemic risks and population health featured a keynote presentation by Amy Greer, an associate professor in the department of population medicine at the University of Guelph. Following the keynote, she was joined in an insightful panel discussion by Geoff Anderson, a professor at the Institute for Health Policy, Management & Evaluation, DLSPH professor David Fisman and Kamran Khan, who is a professor of medicine at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and an infectious disease physician at Unity Health Toronto. Khan is also the founder and CEO of BlueDot, an epidemic intelligence company that uses big data, machine learning, and digital technologies to help governments and global enterprises get ahead of infectious disease outbreaks.
The third and final part of our series focused on the impact of climate change on pathogen spillovers from animals to humans with a keynote presentation by Samira Mubareka, an associate professor of laboratory medicine and pathobiology and an infectious disease physician and medical microbiologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. After the keynote, she was joined by DLSPH professor Nelson Lee and Ian Hamilton, a professor of energy, environment and health at the University College London Energy Institute.