The H1N1 Flu Outbreak presented a number of challenges and opportunities for public health officials, including coordination and communications within public health and with the public. Join us for an afternoon of dialogue and discussion:
1:30 – 3:30 Session 1: Managing and Monitoring the Pandemic Threat
During this session, Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (OAHPP) scientific and medical experts who have been involved in the H1N1 Flu Virus outbreak will discuss tools and methods employed during the outbreak, and lessons learned from this and past experiences. Topics will include surveillance and epidemiology, infection control, data modelling and forecasting, and testing methodologies. Speakers include:
- Dr. Vivek Goel, President and CEO: Dr. Goel is a respected public health physician and health services researcher. He brings extensive experience in health care evaluation and research, administrative skills and training and above all, his passion for the future of the Agency for Health Protection and Promotion. He holds a medical degree from McGill University, with specialty training in community medicine, a Master's degree in Health Administration from the University of Toronto and a Master's degree in Biostatistics from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Goel has been engaged in a broad range of research activities related to public health, particularly focusing on chronic disease prevention and control.
- Dr. Natasha Crowcroft, Director of Surveillance and Epidemiology: Dr. Crowcroft is a public health physician with substantial experience as a UK national expert in vaccine preventable diseases, and as a consultant to the World Health Organization. She has a broad background in clinical medicine, microbiology, and field epidemiology, and an extensive portfolio of research, training, policy and public health service. In her previous role with the UK Health Protection Agency, Dr. Crowcroft’s expertise in generating information from research and surveillance of infectious diseases was applied to vaccination policy development and evaluation as well as outbreak detection and response.
- Dr. Michael Gardam, Director of Infectious Disease Prevention and Control: Prior to joining the Agency Dr. Gardam was the Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the University Health Network where he has, over the past several years, championed initiatives related to tuberculosis, hand hygiene, infection control program development, and medical equipment reprocessing. Dr. Gardam is specialized in infectious diseases and has a background in research and public health policy. His program has frequently been sought out to help hospitals to control outbreaks of C-difficile and other organisms.
- Dr. Donald Low, Medical Director of the Public Health Laboratories: Dr. Low is also the Head of the Department of Microbiology at the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital. He is a Professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Department of Medicine. Don is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and member of the Association of American Physicians. Don’s primary research interests are in the study of the epidemiology and the mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance in community and their clinical relevance. A recognized authority in microbiology and infectious diseases, Don has published more than 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals.
- Dr. David Farrell, Clinical Microbiologist: Dr. Farrell has expertise and research interests in the surveillance and epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance. He completed his undergraduate and Master's degrees in medical science, and PhD in Australia. He has been working in London (UK) for the past eight years directing global surveillance studies, developing new antimicrobial compounds, and researching new mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance. Prior to this he directed a large clinical microbiology laboratory in Australia.
- Dr. David Fisman, Infectious Diseases Physician and Epidemiologist: Dr. Fisman is cross-appointed at the OAHPP and the Hospital for Sick Children. His interests include the epidemiology of emerging infections and sexually transmitted infections, and public health policy and decision making related to communicable disease control. He was previously an Associate Medical Officer of Health for the City of Hamilton, and has also served as a Fellow in Health Policy at Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.
- Dr. Jonathan Gubbay, Medical Microbiologist and Pediatric Infectious Diseases Physician: Dr. Gubbay has broad expertise in infectious diseases, particularly as it relates to the etiology of respiratory infections. He completed his MD and training in paediatric infectious diseases in Australia, followed by medical microbiology training in Canada.
- Dr. Anu Rebbapragada, Molecular Specialist: Dr. Rebbapragada’s work includes validating protocols to monitor Human Papilloma Virus vaccine efficacy, building a lab-based surveillance network for sexually transmitted infections, and developing molecular technologies for rapid screening of emerging antibiotic resistance mechanisms in Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Her broad research training includes microbial molecular genetics, cancer signal transduction, immunology and clinical epidemiology of STI/HIV in Africa.
4:00 – 5:00 Session 2: Pandemic News: Hyping or Helping Information?
Join Dr. Vivek Goel, President and CEO of the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, in discussion with journalist Stephen Strauss and Dr. Mike Evans, physician, journalist and health educator on how governments, health care providers, employers, educational institutions and the general public balance the need for facts and information with the potential for speculation and hype.
- Stephen Strauss: Mr. Strauss has written about science for close to 30 years, initially at The Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto, and more recently for a series of places including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's website, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Readers’ Digest and the New Scientist. He has written a number of books, including The Sizesaurus and How Big Is Big, as well as book chapters on a variety of topics. The most recent one to be published this year is on metaphor, science and journalism.He has won numerous of awards, most recently a 2007 prize from the University of British Columbia for best science article in any medium in Canada in 2006. In 2009 he was awarded a CIHR grant to write a series of pieces on electronic medical records.
- Dr. Mike Evans: Dr. Evans received his BA in English Literature from McGill University and his MD from McMaster University. He is a family physician and runs a busy inner-city practice and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine. He is currently launching The Health Media & Innovation Lab (HMiL) at the new Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Evans’s current activities to inform Canadians about health reflect this breadth and range from being health columnist for the Life section of the Globe & Mail, to regular commentary on the national CBC Newsworld, to being Chief Editor of the Province of Ontario’s health website for the public, HealthyOntario.com He also launched the renowned Mini-Med School at the University of Toronto in 2004. He is a founding member of the Centre for Effective Practice, was chair of the provincial guideline service (OPOT), Scientific Officer for Knowledge Translation and Exchange at the Canadian Institute for Health Research, is a member of the Canadian Expert Drug Advisory Committee and Vice-Chair of the Canadian Optimal Medication and Utilization Service.
5:00 – 6:30 Reception
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