Geography Speaker Series: Lea Berrang Ford
This Friday, Dr. Lea Berrang Ford (McGill University) will be joining us as part of the Geography Speaker Series. She will be presenting on "Spatial epidemiology in neglected tropical disease research: case-studies of Human African Trypanosomiasis" in SN 2025 at 3:00 p.m.
Dr. Berrang Ford is an Assistant Professor in McGill's Department of Geography. With academic degrees in Geography, Environmental Change, and Epidemiology, her research focuses on the environmental determinants of global health and infectious disease. She has worked extensively on the social and environmental determinants of sleeping sickness in Uganda, and more recently on the health impacts of climate change. Her interests focus on infectious, vectorborne and zoonotic diseases, particularly using spatial analysis and mixed-methodologies. She has published extensively and is the co-editor of the recently published Springer book, Adaptation in Developed Nations: from theory to practice. Dr. Berrang Ford currently leads an international, interdisciplinary research team investigating vulnerability and adaptation to the health effects of climate change among remote Indigenous populations in Peru, Uganda, and the Canadian Arctic, funded by the IDRC/Tri-Council IRIACC program. Her current research also explores global determinants of emerging disease, and development of innovative methodologies for adaptation tracking. To find out more about Dr. Berrang Ford, go to: www.leaberrangford.ca
The abstract for Dr. Berrang-Ford's talk follows:
In much of sub-Saharan Africa, availability of standardized and reliable public health data is poor or negligible. Despite continued calls for the prioritization of improved health datasets in poor regions, public health surveillance remains a significant global health challenge, and Global Burden of Disease estimates are believed to be unreliable for neglected tropical diseases. These underestimates are particularly problematic in cases where burden affects both people and their livestock (zoonotic diseases) and where incidence is spatio-temporally focused (epidemic-prone diseases). While advances in spatial epidemiologic methodologies have grown exponentially in past years, applications for neglected tropical diseases are currently constrained by the availability of reliable data and the inherent challenge of conceptualising and inferring causal relationships for the determinants of infectious diseases at the population level. Here, I present three case-studies of research on Human African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), focusing on the use of spatio-temporal approaches to understanding disease burden and determinants.