Once Upon a Time, In Africa: WCDEM Part II

Once upon a time, seven Canadians travelled to far away, exotic Africa to attend the World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine. After travelling for many days, our weary heros (and heroine) arrived to find sunshine, heat, and gorgeous landscapes. The wine was perfection, the food was exquisite; old friends reconnected and new friendships were formed. Then the conference began…

IMG_6420 (1) ST2

L to RPaul Arbon (Flinders), Brendan Munn (UBC), Adam
Lund (UBC), Alison Hutton (Flinders), Sheila Turris (UBC),
Riley Golby (UBC), Ron Bowles (JIBC) & Sean Vaisler (UBC)

For six days the team attended scientific meetings, presented abstracts, and had great conversations with world-renowned experts from public health, disaster management, and mass gathering health. Delegates from Public Health England, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia were among the many presenters at this conference.

The Canadian perspective was well represented and reflected our focus during the last year, on issues related to safety at music festivals. For example,

Adam presented on “the chain of survival” model for music festivals and other special events, a topic that
was very well received (manuscript in draft).

Brendan and Riley presented a beautiful case study about blending medical and harm reduction
approaches during a large-scale music festival (manuscript in review).

Sheila presented on the methodology underpinning a study on mortality at music festivals over the
last 15 years (manuscript in review).

In addition to presenting abstracts, some members of our teamhad the opportunity to participate in meetings hosted by the WHO. Much work was done and by the end of the conference it was clear that the time is ripe for forming partnerships across international boundaries. It was a privilege to travel to Cape Town with my amazing Canadian colleagues Adam Lund, Sean Vaisler, Brendan Munn, Riley Golby, Ron Bowles, and Greg Anderson. I am still processing all that I have learned and I am excited about all of the wonderful possibilities for research and collaboration going forward! I am so grateful to be part of this talented, brilliant team.

Authored by: 
Dr. Sheila Turris, PhD
Nurse Practitioner, Family (EC)
Mass Gathering Medicine Interest Group, UBC
Research Associate, Justice Institute of British Columbia