CBC journalist Ian Hanomansing profiles Canadian infectious disease doctors who stepped up to guide the nation through its worst medical crisis in a century.
Canadians who have followed the news about the COVID-19 pandemic will recognize the names of doctors Lisa Barrett, Isaac Bogoch, Zain Chagla, Sumon Chakrabarti, Susy Hota, Fatima Kakkar, Srinivas Murthy, Lynora Saxinger and Alexander Wong—nine remarkable Canadians who found themselves in the spotlight during a remarkably challenging year.
While dealing with their own personal concerns about the worsening pandemic and their busy medical practices, the doctors profiled in Pandemic Spotlight volunteered their time and offered their expertise in hundreds of media interviews, providing calm, clear and independent analysis. Hanomansing talks to them about what inspired them to become doctors and what led them to specialize in infectious diseases and then take on this very public role.
The doctors discuss the moment the pandemic became very real to them and speak candidly about what it was like when infections raged out of control in Italy and then New York City, leaving doctors at Canadian hospitals to wonder what might be next. And they explain the sense of duty they felt to step into the media glare, even as public anxiety and skepticism sometimes turned into hostility and social media made them easy to contact and, sometimes, easy targets. And for anyone who’s been asked to offer their expertise to the media, they have advice on how to answer the call.
There are a few silver linings in the COVID storm. One of them is how these doctors put science front and centre and became public symbols of trust and hope. As they prepare to return to their private careers, they respond to Hanomansing’s invitation to reflect on lessons learned and their concerns about the next pandemic.
All author royalties from sales of the book will go to UBC’s Centre for Health Education Scholarship.