/ 2021.12.06

The social dimensions of the Coronavirus outbreak

The social dimensions of the Coronavirus outbreak

EPICAST is a podcast series about epidemics from Sonar-Global. The aim of this podcast is to explore the social dimensions of infectious diseases outbreaks so that we can get better at controlling them. For this first episode, we will be focusing on the Coronavirus outbreak.

EPICAST is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Google Podcast.


Annie Wilkinson

Annie Wilkinson is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. She is an anthropologist and health systems researcher working on: zoonotic disease; epidemic preparedness and control; drug resistance; and urban health. She has worked extensively in West Africa, especially Sierra Leone, and within emergency humanitarian and epidemic response. Her recent research explores health in informal urban settlements and the governance of infection control in complex and rapidly changing health and socio-ecological systems.

Arnaud Fontanet

Arnaud Fontanet is a medical epidemiologist (MD Paris V; DrPH, Harvard School of Public Health, 1993) specialized in infectious diseases epidemiology.  In 2002, he joined Institut Pasteur in Paris to launch the Emerging Diseases Epidemiology unit.  There, his focus has been on viral hepatitis and emerging viruses. In 2014, he was appointed as Director of the newly created Centre for Global Health at Institut Pasteur. Arnaud Fontanet is also Professor of Public Health at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, where he is Director and co-founder of the Pasteur-Cnam School of Public Health, and was named in 2018-19 Guest Public Health Professor at the Collège de France.

Biao Xiang
Biao Xiang is a Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford, specializing in migration and social changes in Asia. He is the author of Making Money from Making Order (forthcoming); Global “Body Shopping”; Transcending Boundaries; Return: Nationalizing Transnational Mobility in Asia (lead editor) and numerous articles in both English and Chinese. A number of articles have been translated into Japanese, French, Korean, Spanish and Italian.
Clare Wenham

Clare Wenham is Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her work falls in the cross-over between global health, international relations and epidemiology, focusing in particular on global health security thorough analysis of the Zika and Ebola outbreaks, and more broadly on the governance structures of disease control. Her work features in The Lancet, BMJ, Security Dialogue, International Affairs, BMJ Global Health and Third World Quarterly. At LSE she is the director of the MSc in Global Health Policy at LSE and sits on the steering committee of the LSE Global Health Initiative.

Clare is currently leading a Wellcome Trust funded project to understand the impact of the Zika outbreak on how women access abortion, and in particular medical abortion, and how national regulation in Brazil, Colombia and El Salvador impacted on women’s choices and abortion service providers activity during the health emergency. Clare is also completing a book manuscript offering a feminist critique of global health security through analysis of the Zika outbreak.

She previously worked at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, delivering projects relating to surveillance and transmission of infectious disease. Prior to this she undertook a PhD at the Centre for Health and International Relations at Aberystwyth University examining the tensions between global disease governance and individual state sovereignty. During this time, she was awarded fellowship at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, and consulted for the Asian Development Bank. Before starting her academic career, Clare worked in public health policy roles at the Faculty of Public Health and for an NHS Trust.

Leesa Lin

Leesa Lin is a Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, specializing in social and behavioural interventions for change. With comprehensive training in implementation science and evaluation, health systems, communication, global health, social epidemiology, and behaviour sciences, Dr. Leesa Lin’s work has centred around the assessment of public health systems’ emergency preparedness, emergency risk communications, social determinants of health, and development and implementation of behavioural change interventions. Leesa applies a mixed methods approach in her research and evaluation activities. A primary focus of her work has been to identify challenges, inequalities and resilience experienced by at-risk and disadvantaged populations, as well as interventions to address them during large-scale public health emergencies such as the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, 2009/2010 H1N1 pandemic, 2010 Boston Water Crisis, 2013 MERS outbreaks, and the current COVID-19. Her current research focuses on social science response to epidemic outbreaks, community preparedness, child health and development, and antibiotic resistance. Knowledge generated from her research has been translated into guidelines and programmes. Leesa is currently serving as an Expert in Preparedness and Emergency Risk Communication on the Advisory Committee for the China Non-Profit Organization Consortium for COVID-19 and on the Social Science Research Working Group for the WHO Blueprint for 2019 novel Coronavirus Global R&D Preparedness. Leesa holds a PhD in Social Epidemiology, Implementation Science, and Evaluation from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, a MSPH in Global Health and Population from the Harvard School of Public Health, a BA in Psychology and Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia.

Sara Davies

Dr Sara Davies is an Associate Professor at School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Australia and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Gender Peace and Security Centre, School of Social Sciences, Monash University.

Sara is an International Relations (IR) scholar with a specific focus on Global Health Governance and the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Sara has been an Australian Research Council Discovery Australian Postgraduate Award Scholar (2008-2012) and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2014-2018).

Sara’s research career has been devoted to identifying the political conditions that deny humans access to civil, economic and social human rights. Her research has focused on situations where humans face immense vulnerability: disease outbreaks events, gender-based and sexual violence in conflict, and forced displacement. Sara’s contribution to the International Relations discipline has been to advance feminist methods to deepen understanding of the conditions that lead to human insecurity and vulnerability and to understand how non-Western international institutions and norms, especially in the Indo-Pacific, shape political behaviour. Her research examines when and how international governance engages with the rights-based needs of populations at risk. To date, her research has produced 3 sole authored books, one co-authored book, seven edited books, over 40 research publications and over $2.5 million research funding. She has published in Foreign Policy Analysis, International Affairs, Review of International Studies, Medical Law Review, and International Relations. Sara is co-editor of the Australian Journal and International Affairs and the Global Responsibility to Protect. Sara serves on the Research Board for the Australian Institute of International Affairs (2013-ongoing) and the Executive Board for the Global Health Section, International Studies Association (2014-ongoing).

Wei Shen

Dr Wei Shen is a political economist who worked for development finance agencies in China for over ten years. His research interests include: the political economy of China’s low-carbon transformation and climate change policies; China’s role in global climate finance and climate governance; and South-South cooperation on climate change issues. He is particularly interested in the role of business and private actors in the process of low-carbon transformation in the rising powers like China and India.

Wei completed his PhD in the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia, focusing on the political economy of China’s by-then popular CDM and carbon offset projects. The research was fully funded by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. His recent research regarding China’s ongoing experiment of Emission Trading Schemes is published in journals such as Climate Policy.

Wei is involved as co-investigator in an ESRC-funded research project: The Rising Powers, Clean Energy and the Low Carbon Transition in Southern Africa, led by Professor Marcus Power from Durham University. Previously, Wei has also worked closely with Chinese stakeholders of the newly established carbon market as an external advisor.


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