The Dahdaleh Institute kicks off its Global Health Research Seminar Series for the 2022-23 academic year with an impressive slate of global health research topics on disaster management, humanitarian response, occupational health and planetary health.
All talks for September will be delivered in hybrid format. Everyone is welcome. Attendees will join global health leaders, researchers, practitioners and students and during the series, they will have an opportunity to learn about the important collaborative and transdisciplinary research happening at the Dahdaleh Institute (in the thematic research areas of Planetary Health, Global Health & Humanitarianism, and Global Health Foresighting).
The full schedule of events is available at https://www.yorku.ca/dighr/events/
Wednesday, Sept. 7, 1 p.m. EDT
Forecasting Water Quality in Humanitarian Response, with Michael De Santi
Ensuring sufficient free residual chlorine (FRC) up to the time and place that water is consumed in refugee and internally displaced person settlements is essential for preventing waterborne illnesses like cholera and hepatitis E. However, providing too much FRC can lead to disinfection by-products and issues with taste and odour acceptability. To balance these competing challenges of over- and under-chlorination, water system operators need accurate predictions of the risk of having insufficient FRC when determining chlorination targets.
De Santi, a researcher at Dahdaleh, will discuss recent innovations used in the Safe Water Optimization Tool (SWOT) models by improving how machine learning models actually learn.The SWOT uses artificial neural network (ANN) ensemble forecasting systems (EFS), a type of probabilistic machine learning tool, to predict point-of-use FRC in refugee and internally displaced person settlements and to generate risk-based FRC targets for water system operators in these settlements. As machine learning tools gain increasing prevalence in a range of applications, including humanitarian response, this discussion will provide important insight into how to design these models to provide the best possible alignment with the modeller’s desired impact.
Tuesday, Sept. 13, noon EDT
Planetary Health Film Lab 2022: Filmmaking with Indigenous Youth from Ecuador, with Mark Terry
The Planetary Health Film Lab is an interdisciplinary program culminating in an intensive week-long workshop designed to provide participants with the knowledge, skills, and tools to make short documentary films for the United Nations. The 2022 edition of the Planetary Health Film Lab was offered to 16 Indigenous youth from Ecuador with a story to tell about climate change and health. Their films were produced in the Indigenous languages of Kichwa and Shúar.
Terry, a researcher and adjunct professor at York University, will share details about the youths’ filmmaking process and about the end-of-workshop festival showcasing the 16 films. He will also present his plans to present the films at the UN climate summit, COP26, in November.
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 1 p.m. EDT
Gender Differences in Working and Employment Conditions in Central America, with Douglas Barraza and Eduardo Castro
In Central America, the economically active population includes roughly similar numbers of men and women, but unemployment is higher among women owing to structural imbalances in the labour market. In fact, women’s representation in the occupied economically active population is only half of men’s, with serious consequences for women as they lack access to social security, and, most importantly, to retirement pensions.
Barraza is an assistant professor at the Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances at the National University in Costa Rica (UNA) and is currently completing his doctoral studies at Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands. He is also an assistant professor at the National Technical University in San Carlos, Costa Rica, where he coordinates a project to foster critical thinking among students and faculty. Douglas has extensive expertise in occupational and environmental health as well as in developing occupational and environmental indicators to facilitate international and regional comparative research. He is a founding member of the EcoHealth Community of Practice in the Americas (CoPEH-LAC) and a partner of Ekosanté with Dahdaleh Institute Faculty Fellow Martin Bunch.
Castro is the coordinator of the English as a Foreign Language program at the National Technical University in Costa Rica. He has worked with visiting York students and supported the involvement of York and Costa Rican students in the Las Nubes Grounded Project, promoting participatory documentary filmmaking that spotlights rural community lives. He has co-organized a number of conferences for English teachers and is committed to sustaining teachers’ enthusiasm about enriching the hearts and minds of their students.
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1 p.m. EDT
Visions of Crisis, Blueprints of Rule, with Saptarishi Bandopadhyay
Disasters are all around us. In everyday parlance, disasters are understood as exceptional occurrences that destroy human life, property, and resources. For centuries, people have looked to political authorities for protection from disasters and for relief in the aftermath. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic and an endless torrent of storms, floods, and forest fires have shown that modern states and intergovernmental institutions frequently fail this burden. Worse, world leaders routinely ignore evidence that accelerated climate change is an already-rolling planetary catastrophe. So, what is a “disaster?” Who determines when and why a disaster has occurred or ceased? And what is the relationship between such occurrences and modern states who promise to “manage” them?
Bandopadhyay, an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, will argue that there is no such thing as a “disaster” outside of rituals of legal, administrative, and scientific contestation through which such occurrences are morally distinguished from the rhythms of everyday life, and disasters are artifacts of “normal” rule. They result from the same, mundane strategies of knowledge-making and violence by which authorities, experts, and lay people struggle to develop state-like power, to define and defend the social order.