Experts available to comment on COVID-19 pandemic’s emerging challenges

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the globe, experts from Western University are available to media to comment on emerging challenges, vaccine policy and the way forward.


Kate H. Choi

Associate Professor of Sociology, Acting Director of the Centre for Research on Social Inequality.

Area of Expertise: Racial and socioeconomic inequality, Social determinants of COVID-19 and health, Impact of neighborhoods on individual wellbeing and health, Immigrant integration, health, and wellbeing.

Direct contact:

“COVID-19 identifies existing social fissures and amplifies them.”  


Janet Martin

Associate Professor, Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine and Epidemiology & Biostatistics; Director, Centre for Medical Evidence, Decision Integrity & Clinical Impact (MEDICI), Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Areas of Expertise:  Impact of COVD-19 and viral epidemics on surgical access and outcomes in Canada and globally, global surgery and anesthesia, clinical epidemiology, evidence-based decision making, pandemics and infodemics.

Direct contact:

“Pandemics tend to incite fear and uncertainty. At the same time, pandemics result in infodemics, which is an avalanche of information from sources with varying underlying credibility in terms of the strength of evidence. We need to support the public in developing skills and capacity to sort the signals of valid evidence from the background noise of misinformation.”


Nitin Mohan

Assistant Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, Master of Management and Applied Sciences and Master of Public Health programs, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Areas of Expertise: Public health epidemiology, public health policy, health equity, health economics and population health.

Direct contact:

“The ultimate goal is to drive case counts down as low as possible and while doing that we need to increase our testing capacity and contact tracing and invest heavily in public health and acute care. The biggest challenge I see in regards to controlling COVID-19 in Canada is our inability to put science over politics.” 


Maxwell Smith

Bioethicist and Assistant Professor, School of Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences.

Areas of Expertise: ethics and pandemics, including resource allocation, priority setting, and health equity.

Direct contact:

“The COVID-19 pandemic raises a number of distinctive and profound ethical questions and challenges.”


Prachi Srivastava

Associate Professor, Global Education and International Education, Faculty of Education.

Areas of expertise: COVID-19 and the global education emergency; global education policy and planning; socio-economic impacts of education exclusion; equity and marginalization in education; impact of COVID-19 on education globally and in Canada; global education finance; private sector engagement in education; right to education.

Direct contact:

“COVID-19 has caused the largest education emergency in history. We need to stop it from becoming a generational catastrophe.”


Charles Weijer

Professor, Philosophy, Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry; Member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy.

Areas of Expertise: Medical ethics (specifically with respect to vaccine research and clinical trials), ethics of human challenge studies for COVID-19 vaccines.

Direct contact:

“The last few weeks have seen promising results on three vaccines to prevent COVID-19. But once vaccines are available, will people take them? Increasing numbers of Canadians and Americans are COVID-19 vaccine hesitant and this poses a major challenge. Bridging the trust gap with the public will require radical transparency from pharma. Steps can be taken now, but is pharma willing?”


Commentary reflects the perspective and scholarly interest of Western faculty members and is not an articulation of official university policy on issues being addressed.

For more COVID-19 expertise see a complete list here

MEDIA CONTACT: Crystal Mackay, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, t. 519.661.2111 ext. 80387, c. 519.933.5944, @CrystalMackay

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