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Global Health Seminar Series: Evolving Social Riskscapes in the Ebola Virus Disease Response in Liberia with Dr. Harris Ali

20 April 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join us on a special seminar series feature Dr. Harris Ali in which he will present on "Evolving Social Riskscapes in the Ebola Virus Disease Response in Liberia".

Initially, the community reaction to official response teams during the 2014-16 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in Liberia was one of resistance. Dr. Ali predicates this was because responders failed to consider the regions’ sociopolitical and colonial history, especially how that context influenced risk perceptions and local trust relations. Using the EVD response in the informal settlement of West Point, Liberia as illustrative, Dr. Ali will discuss how a social riskscape perspective may be used to analyze how an initially unsuccessful bid to contain EVD became successful through the adoption of a community-based strategy that modified risk perceptions and built trust.

Dr. Harris Ali is a sociologist at York University who studies the social, political and environmental dimensions of disease outbreaks and disasters. He has conducted various studies on different types of infectious disease outbreaks in various parts of the world, including E. Coli in Walkerton, Ontario, Tuberculosis amongst the homeless in Toronto, community-based responses to Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and with his long-time research colleague - Roger Keil - a comprehensive study of the 2003 outbreak of SARS in global cities which culminated in an edited volume on SARS (Networked Disease: Emerging Infections in the Global City) that has recently been recognized by the Globe and Mail as one of the "top ten books that offer lessons from past pandemics."  He is currently a co-principal investigator with Fuyuki Kurasawa on a CIHR grant that involves big data analyses to understand the role of social media in flaming and countering anti-Asian racism during the present COVID response.