Preparation for pandemics topic of talk Monday


The challenges governments face as they prepare to handle future infectious disease pandemics is the topic of a public discussion Monday, Nov. 4, featuring a top infectious disease expert from the United States.

Dr. Rima Khabbaz, deputy director of the Office of Infectious Diseases for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, will share her views on the world’s ability to control and respond to the rapid spread of infectious diseases, during the event entitled The Pandemic Next Door: Complexities of a Global Outbreak Response.

The event is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in room 1A1 of the Health Sciences Centre.

Global changes such as increased urbanization, intercontinental travel and trans-border trade have contributed to the ability of disease to spread rapidly throughout the world, such as happened during the SARS outbreak a decade ago, and the more recent swine flu (H1N1) pandemic in 2009.

The public event with Dr. Khabbaz will be hosted by Steven Hoffman, an adjunct faculty member with the McMaster Health Forum and an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Hoffman is also a visiting assistant professor at Harvard University.

The two will discuss the specific challenges different levels of government face when it comes to responding to and controlling pandemics, including how to allocate resources to prepare for pandemics, intellectual property rights concerning the sharing of pathogens, and global government arrangements to ensure necessary coordination and cooperation during pandemics. The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their views about pandemics.

The stakeholder dialogue is funded by the Global Health Research Initiative.