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One Society Network Seminars

The One Society Network (OSN) is offering introductory seminars that give an overview of the dynamic connections between pandemics, like COVID-19, and diverse aspects of society.

These seminars will explore the comprehensive impacts of pandemics and pandemic response on some key sectors of the economy and population subgroups, including the environment, education, agriculture and marginalized populations, among others.


  • To share knowledge and methods that incorporate the One Society approach to pandemic evaluation.
  • To support the development of researchers who can provide One Society analyses to complement public policymaking in future pandemics.
  • To encourage collaboration amongst researchers across Canada, by building capacity in interdisciplinary pandemic research.

Upcoming Seminars

Location: Online
Duration: 1 hour
Time: 2:00 pm Mountain Time

Seminar dates and topics:
Please use the following link to register for one or more seminars: click here to register!

We would appreciate if you can share this series with your networks, affiliated organizations and other interested researchers.

Past seminars will be recorded and posted online at, shortly after the live viewing.

May 19, 2022:
Title:  The Impact of Threshold Decision Mechanisms of Collective Behaviour on Disease Spread.
Presenter: Bryce Morsky PhD, Queen’s University, Postdoctoral Fellow.
Abstract: Humans are a hyper social species, and transmission of infectious diseases crucially depends on social dynamics such as impacting non-pharmaceutical interventions. Further, the infectious pathogen in turn can be affected via the environment fostered by these socio-biological forces. How do social dynamics impact epidemiology? How does public health policy best take into account these impacts? Here we develop a model of disease transmission that incorporates human behaviour and social dynamics. We use a tipping-point” dynamic, previously used in the sociological literature, where individuals adopt behaviours given a sufficient frequency of the behaviours in the population.

Further, this model incorporates behavioural heterogeneity where individuals have varying perceived risks of the disease and preferences for social conformity, and thus varying thresholds at which behaviours are adopted. The thresholds at which individuals adopt behaviours is impacted by the perceived risks of infection: prevalence and death rate. We show how such social dynamics can drive an epidemic, such as by generating waves, and where they can frustrate public policy. In particular, (mis)information is highly important as it shifts the population’s sensitivity to adopting disease mitigating behaviours. This can blunt the spread of disease initially, but cause it to spread quickly once relaxed. Additionally, end epidemic results are sensitive to timing of the behavioural response. Near the optimal response, small errors can result in large increases in the total number infected during the epidemic.

Presenter Bio:

Bryce Morsky

Bryce Morsky is an Applied Mathematician and Postdoctoral Fellow at Queen’s University, who develops mathematical models of biological and social systems. His research program is primarily concerned with behavioural, ecological, and evolutionary processes often in a game theoretical framework, and spans a variety of settings including infectious disease, social norms, and public goods games.

May 26, 2022:
Title: Spatial Allocation of Scarce COVID-19 Vaccines: When Does an Allocation Rule Based on Relative Population Size Perform Well?
Presenter:  François Castonguay, PhD. Formerly: PhD student at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). Currently:  Public Health Analytics and Modeling Fellow in the Health Economics and Modeling Unit (HEMU), Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections (DPEI), National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
DISCLAIMER: This presentation represents work done while I was a graduate student at UC Davis and represents my work and opinions while I was a graduate student. The findings and conclusions in the presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Abstract: The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) is a World Health Organization (WHO) initiative that aims for an equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Despite potential heterogeneous infection levels across a country, countries receiving allotments of vaccines may follow WHO’s allocation guidelines and distribute vaccines based on a jurisdiction’s relative population size. Utilizing economic–epidemiological modelling, we benchmark the performance of a population size-based allocation rule by comparing it to an optimal one that minimizes the economic damages and expenditures over time, including a penalty representing the social costs of deviating from the relative population strategy. The relative population rule performs better when the duration of naturally- and vaccine-acquired immunity is short, when there is population mixing, when the supply of vaccine is high, and when there is minimal heterogeneity in demographics. Despite behavioural and epidemiological uncertainty diminishing the performance of the optimal allocation, it generally outperforms the relative population rule.

Presenter Bio:

François Castonguay

François Castonguay is an Applied Economist with a background in bioeconomic and infectious disease modelling. He holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis. He joined the Health Economics and Modeling Unit (HEMU) at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in August 2021. He has been deployed to the COVID-19 Incident Management Response to help with the modelling needs of the Contact Tracing and Innovation Section of the State, Territorial, Local, and Tribal Task Force (Note: See DISCLAIMER above).

Jun 16, 2022: Marginalized populations

*The title and abstract for each seminar will be updated in the weeks leading up to the seminar.
*The views expressed in this OSN series are not necessarily representative of any organization involved.