OMNI-RÉUNIS hosted its second talk in its Distinguished Lecture Series on Modelling of Infectious Diseases on June 1 with University of Warkwick Professor Matt Keeling alongside Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and York University’s Provost and Vice-President Academic and Professor Lisa Philipps.
The virtual event was attended by a wide ranging audience of disease modellers, and human and animal health experts, who tuned in from international academic and health institutions, including the Public Health Agency of Canada. Participants hailed from across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and the Philippines.
UK infectious disease specialist Matt Keeling delivered an engaging talk titled “COVID-19 in the UK: Data, Models, Projections and Policy.” Keeling is a professor in the Mathematics Institute and the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, director of Zeeman Institute (SBIDER), and deputy director of Mathematics for Real-World Systems Centre for Doctoral Training. A member of the OMNI-RÉUNIS Scientific Advisory Committee, Keeling was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his work as advisor to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event was moderated by OMNI-RÉUNIS Co-Director Mark Lewis, Senior Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Biology and professor in the Departments of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta. Philipps, and Dr. Tam, were OMNI-RÉUNIS’ special guests. They opened the lecture with their insightful remarks on the importance of multi-sectoral collaboration when tackling global health issues.
The link to the archive of Keeling’s lecture is now available and can be viewed here.
“This pandemic has taught us a lot about global cooperation in knowledge sharing and the importance of looking beyond our own borders,” said Philipps. “I am always struck by how difficult it remains to keep remembering that lesson that what’s happening in the rest of the world matter deeply to what’s happening and what’s going to happen in Canada, and vice versa.”
In her remarks, Dr. Tam said, “In public health, we recognize the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health and the importance of a One Health approach to assessing the risks of emerging infectious diseases and other things like antimicrobial resistance so that we can design and implement prevention and control methods.’’ Tam added that “it is great to have multi-sectoral modelling networks that include scientists from different disciplines, universities, public health, government and communities that are poised to move from knowledge generation to policy and practice to help tackle complex health challenges, as we are trying to adapt to climate change.”
The network is led by Professor Huaiping Zhu in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in the Faculty of Science and the York Research Chair in Applied Mathematics and co-led by Lewis and Professor Hélène Carabin at the Université de Montréal.
Zhu is also the Director of the Centre for Disease Modelling (CDM) and the Laboratory for Mathematical Parallel Systems (LAMPS) at York University. The network is hosted at the CDM at York. The lecture series is organized by Zhu, Steven Chen and Natasha Ketter at York University, Carabin, Lewis and Arne Ruckert at the University of Ottawa.
More about OMNI-RÉUNIS
In 2021, OMNI-RÉUNIS was awarded $2.5 million of federal funding to be part of the broader Emerging Infectious Diseases Modelling Initiative (EIDM) along with four other networks. The initiative, which was established between NSERC and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), aims to establish multi-disciplinary, national networks of specialists in modelling infectious diseases with expertise applied to public needs associated with emerging infectious diseases and pandemics such as COVID-19. OMNI-RÉUNIS consists of more than 100 researchers and collaborators from key academic and government institutions, with an extensive network of international associates. Expertise ranges from public health, infectious diseases and epidemiology human health, animal and wildlife health, as well as climate-related health outcomes.
OMNI-RÉUNIS will run the Distinguished Lecture Series for the rest of the year, along with a summer Health-a-Thon for Emerging Infectious Disease Modelling (EIDM) trainees, introductory courses on One Health modelling in Fall 2022 and Winter 2023 and a trainee-led seminar series.
As OMNI-RÉUNIS continues to grow, new collaborations are encouraged. To learn more, visit www.omni-reunis.ca. For questions about OMNI-RÉUNIS or how to engage with the network, email email@example.com or contact Natasha Ketter, program manager of OMNI-RÉUNIS, at firstname.lastname@example.org.