Communicating the Risk of Infectious Diseases in a Changing Climate

Presented by: National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) and National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health (NCCEH)

WEBINAR / 8 March 2017

An archived version of this webinar is now available for viewing. Please email NCCID’s Elnaz Shadabi for access.

What means are available to public health practitioners for effectively communicating the risk of infectious diseases to the public? When a new outbreak emerges, how can public health convey facts and risks accurately to the public and to policy makers? How are risks interpreted by various audiences?

These are examples of some of the questions that public health professionals may grapple with during a new infectious disease outbreak or re-emergence of an existing one. To ensure that both the public and policy makers receive the most accurate information, the means and methods of communication utilized by healthcare providers must be effective. This March 8, 2017 webinar provided different perspectives on communicating risk in an “environment” of change: the intersection of climate change and infectious disease emergence and resurgence. The webinar had two main goals: to present a range of perspectives on good communication about risk for public health stakeholders; and, to allow for discussion on communication for public health, using examples that relate to emerging and resurging infectious diseases in the context of changing climate.

Moderator and Presenters

Dr. Christine Navarro has been an Associate Medical Officer of Health with Toronto Public Health since August 2014. While training as an epidemiologist, she worked with the Public Health Agency of Canada before getting her medical degree. Christine completed her specialty training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Toronto in 2014. Her portfolio at Toronto Public Health focuses on Environmental Health.

Dr. Craig Stephen is a veterinary epidemiologist, professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology at the University of Saskatchewan, and clinical professor at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. He is the CEO of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative. He has worked in Canada and internationally on ecohealth approaches to emerging infectious diseases.

Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol is a knowledge translation scientist at the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health. She holds a PhD in Epidemiology from UBC and a Masters of Environmental Studies from York University. Her area of research is risk communication and perception and the roles they play in risk management, particularly in public health. She also teaches health communication, as well as human health risk assessment, at Simon Fraser University as an Associate Professor.

Dr. Negar Elmieh is an interdisciplinary researcher who applies both quantitative and qualitative methods to complex health, environment, risk and policy issues. She will share lessons learned from past zoonotic outbreaks on how we can best communicate new threats and balance risk from infection versus potential interventions.