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Climate Change and Infectious Diseases Speaker Series: Climate and Community Health with Laura Rosella

May 4, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Climate Change and Infectious Diseases Speaker Series: Climate and Community Health with Laura Rosella, University of Toronto

How is climate change shifting and accelerating the spread of infectious diseases around the world? What are some of the impacts on societies, economics, and human and ecological health? Together with the Emerging and Pandemic Infections Consortium (EPIC) and Institute for Pandemics (IfP), Climate Positive Energy (CPE) is pleased to co-host this public speaker series focused on climate change and infectious diseases.

Join CPE and IfP Member Laura Rosella as we kick off the series with a deep dive on climate change and public health. Rosella, who is Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, will explore the ways in which climate change is impacting the health of communities around the world — including increased air pollution, extreme weather events, and the spread of infectious diseases.

Following her keynote, Professor Rosella will join in on an insightful panel discussion with University of Toronto’s Vanessa Allen (Assistant Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology) and Shauna Brail (Associate Professor, Institute for Management & Innovation), moderated by Kate Allen, the climate change reporter at The Toronto Star. Learn about the latest research findings and policy initiatives aimed at mitigating the impact of climate change, and discover what you can do to help protect public health.

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About the Participants

Laura Rosella, keynote speaker

Laura Rosella, PhD, MHSc, is a Climate Positive Energy member and the Principal Investigator and Scientific Director of the Population Health Analytics Lab at the University of Toronto. She is an Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, where she holds Canada Research Chair in Population Health Analytics. In 2020, she was made the Inaugural Stephen Family Research Chair in Community Health at the Institute for Better Health, Trillium Health Partners. Her additional scientific appointments include the Vector Institute and Site Director for ICES U of T. Her research interests include: population health predictive models to support public health planning population health management.

Vanessa Allen, panelist

Vanessa Allen is a Medical Microbiologist and Infectious Diseases Physician at Sinai Health / University Health Network, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. She serves as Medical Director of Ontario’s Provincial Diagnostic Network since March 2020, and also served as Chief of Microbiology and Laboratory Science at Public Health Ontario from 2013-2021. Dr. Allen’s contributions have focused on strategies to combat antimicrobial resistance primarily in the areas of bacterial sexually transmitted infections and enteric pathogens, the development and refinement of laboratory systems to support the identification and mitigation of emerging and re-emerging infectious disease threats, and the evaluation and implementation of novel methods such as genomics, artificial intelligence and point of care testing for improved diagnostics and response.

Shauna Brail, panelist

Shauna Brail is Director, and Associate Professor, at the Institute for Management & Innovation, University of Toronto Mississauga and holds a cross-appointment at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. As an economic geographer and urban planner, her research focuses on the transformation of cities as a result of economic, social, and cultural change. Professor Brail’s research encompasses studies of broad urban economic challenges associated with 21st century cities – including the impacts of COVID-19 on cities; the relationship between cities and the digital platform economy, with a particular emphasis on mobility; and shifts in urban governance, policy and planning in connection to innovation and technological change.

Kate Allen, moderator

Kate Allen is a reporter for the Toronto Star who writes about climate change and the environment. She has been reporting on science for more than ten years, and covered the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in January 2020. Her work has been nominated for numerous journalism awards. Her most memorable assignment was necropsying a dead, rotting blue whale that had drifted to shore on the western coast of Newfoundland. Kate studied Classics and Philosophy, including Latin and Ancient Greek, at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and holds a Masters of Journalism from the University of British Columbia. She was born and raised in Toronto and lives there still with her family.


About the Organizers

Climate Positive Energy

The Climate Positive Energy Initiative is the University of Toronto’s centre for interdisciplinary clean energy research. Climate Positive Energy research teams are developing social, scientific, technical, economic, and policy solutions to transform energy systems, ensure equitable energy access and production, and help Canada become a global clean-energy model. CPE facilitates collaborative research, builds partnerships, promotes knowledge translation, and provides training opportunities for students and faculty. We also support existing sustainable energy and climate change initiatives across the University, including U of T’s Climate Positive Plan by 2050. CPE activity extends the University’s impact by integrating U of T’s various clean energy research and training endeavours with the University’s sustainable infrastructure projects.

Emerging Pandemic and Infections Consortium

The Emerging and Pandemic Infections Consortium (EPIC) is a partnership between the University of Toronto and five hospital research partners — The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Research Institute, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Sinai Health, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Unity Health Toronto and the University Health Network. Building on our momentum in combating pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, EPIC brings together researchers from different disciplines to facilitate an integrated and innovative response to high-risk, high-burden infectious diseases. EPIC is Canada’s leading initiative for transformative infectious diseases research, linking academic researchers with industry and government partners, training the next generation of research leaders and advocating for science-based policies. Together, we will help prevent future pandemics and advance national and global health for decades to come. To join or learn more about EPIC, visit us online at epic.utoronto.ca or follow us on Twitter @UofTEPIC.

Institute for Pandemics

The Institute for Pandemics (IfP) is a University of Toronto Institutional Strategic Initiative supported by the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Science, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto Mississauga, and Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. IfP draws from the University’s diverse expertise to incorporate complex skill sets, from epidemiology, mathematical modelling, medicine, evolutionary biology, social sciences, pharmacy, management, engineering, to health economics and many other disciplines to address the multidimensional challenges of pandemics. We emphasize transdisciplinary research and foster cross-disciplinary learning to equip our future health leaders with broad-based knowledge and a holistic approach to tackle pandemics. The Institute seeks to transform pandemic research and training by focusing on three cross-cutting themes: Pandemic Readiness, Pandemic Resilience, and Pandemic Recovery. To join or learn more about IfP, visit pandemics.utoronto.ca or follow us on Twitter @UofT_Pandemics or LinkedIn.


About the series

Through intimate and informative discussions with experts, the Climate Change and Infectious Diseases Speaker Series will focus on the effects of climate change on infectious disease burden, future pandemics and the risk to people living in Canada and abroad. The events will also highlight research advances and approaches that address this growing global public health threat. Tune in to learn more about the relationship between climate change and infectious diseases, and how you can take action through advocacy and further engagement.

Save the date for future events

  • May 25, 2023, 12–1pm: Climate Change, Pandemic Risks and Population Health with Amy Greer, University of Guelph
  • June 27, 2023, 12–1pm: Impact of Climate Change on the Emergence of Pathogens in New Places with Samira Mubareka, Sunnybrook Research Institute


Information subject to change.


May 4, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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