Festival Weekend – September 26-27

september, 2020

27sep2:45 pm3:30 pmVirtual EventThe Truth About PandemicsBrodie Ramin, David Waltner-Toews, Ross Pennie, Moderator: Nora Loreto2:45 pm - 3:30 pm EST

Event Details

For the entirety of human history, we have dealt with infectious disease, epidemic events, and global crises, but perhaps not at the scale we are now experiencing. How does a polio epidemic exacerbate racism? What do viral pandemics have to do with an opioid crisis? Here to connect the dots are authors and medical professionals Ross Pennie, Brodie Ramin, and David Waltner-Toews moderated by journalist Nora Loreto.

Virtual Event Details

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Brodie Ramin

Brodie Ramin is a primary care and addiction physician. He is an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa and a Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Ramin lives in Ottawa.

David Waltner-Toews

Dr. David Waltner-Toews is a renowned Canadian epidemiologist, veterinarian, and highly-respected specialist in the epidemiology of food and waterborne diseases, zoonoses, ecosystem health, and One Health, whose work has been instrumental in the development of teaching and training programs across North America, Europe, and Asia.

Nora Loreto

Nora Loreto is a writer and activist based in Quebec City. She is the editor of the Canadian Association of Labour Media. Her next book, Take Back The Fight (Fernwood) will be published in October, 2020. Nora has been tracking COVID-19 deaths in residential care, nightly, for over four months.

Ross Pennie

Ross Pennie earned a medical degree from Queen’s University in 1976. He was a specialist in infectious disease, a Department of Paediatrics and Pathology professor at McMaster University, and practised at Brantford General Hospital. He is now retired and lives with his family in Southern Ontario.


Bitter Paradise: A Dr. Zol Szabo Medical Mystery

Trauma surgeon Dr. Hosam Khousa flees Syria with his family to Hamilton, Ontario, where he is forced to trade in his scalpel for barber’s clippers. Cutting hair seems a safe way to make a living, until a fellow Syrian is slashed to death in the barbershop. At the same time, epidemic investigators Dr. Zol Szabo and Natasha Sharma are battling an outbreak of vaccine-resistant polio. When Hosam spots something that might help Dr. Szabo, but ruin his surgical career, he realizes that Canada is not the sanctuary he expected, but a bitter paradise he must learn to navigate.

AuthorRoss Pennie

On Pandemics: Deadly Diseases from Bubonic Plague to Coronavirus

Authored by a leading epidemiologist “On Pandemics” answers our questions about animal diseases that jump to humans—called zoonoses—including what attracts them to humans, why they have become more common in recent history, and how we can keep them at bay. Almost all pandemics and epidemics have been caused by diseases that come to us from animals, including SARS, Ebola, and Covid-19. Epidemiologist, veterinarian, & ecosystem health specialist, Dr. Waltner-Toews, gathers the latest research to profile dozens of illnesses, revealing the greater impact of animal-borne diseases on our world, encouraging us to re-examine our role in pandemics.

AuthorDavid Waltner-Toews

The Age of Fentanyl: Ending the Opioid Epidemic

In The Age of Fentanyl, Dr. Brodie Ramin tells the story of the opioid crisis, showing us the disease and cure from his perspective as an addiction doctor working on the front lines. We meet his patients, hear from other addiction experts, and learn about the science and medicine of opioid addiction and its treatments. He shows us how addiction can be prevented, how knowledge can reduce stigma, and how epidemics can be beaten.

AuthorBrodie Ramin


(Sunday) 2:45 pm - 3:30 pm EST