This article is part of a series on researchers who have joined the global fight against COVID-19 after receiving $1.9 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as part of the Novel Coronavirus Rapid Research Funding Opportunity (announced March 6, 2020). Learn more about how one of these researchers, Dr. Scott Halperin, is exploring the social implications of the disease.
The researcher: Dr. Scott Halperin
The biography: In addition to being the Director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology (CCfV), Dr. Halperin is a Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology at Dalhousie University, and the Head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the IWK Health Centre. He is also the co-Principal Investigator for the Immunization Monitoring Program, Active (IMPACT) and a member of CAIRES Management Committee. His research focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pertussis and other vaccine preventable diseases.
The project: Understanding the effects of public health outbreak control policies and implementation on individuals and communities: A path to improving COVID-19 policy effectiveness.
With the pandemic in full swing and shutdowns in effect around the world, massive impacts are being felt across society and the global economy.
Dr. Halperin is heading a study of public policy and its social implications in the context of COVID-19. He and colleagues in Bangladesh and China will explore how individuals and communities understand and react to the disease and how public health policy affects them.
The researchers involved in this project are consulting with the public and health-care providers, studying documents distributed by government officials and interviewing key decision makers about public health policies.
The impact: The findings from this multi-province, multi-country study in Canada will be used to improve the process by which public health policies are created and implemented.
“Understanding how policy can be more effective will have implications not just for this outbreak but for future ones,” Dr. Halperin says. “We learned a lot from the SARS outbreak and those learnings are already being used by policymakers in this one. The importance is making sure policymakers have those learnings so mistakes are not repeated and the public health response is better with every outbreak.”
For more information about Dr. Halperin’s work, check out the following Dal Medicine article: Facing the New coronavirus – Dalhousie researchers help galvanize scientific response to the new pandemic.
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