COVIDcast

Join us as we connect you with experts who can help you navigate these unprecedented times.

Series overview

In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 changed the way the whole world lives their lives. What are we supposed to make of all this? What does it mean? And what do we do? Each episode, we look at a different aspect of how COVID-19 affects our daily lives, from economic recovery to mental health to home schooling.  

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In this episode we talk with Brennan O'Yeung, a third-year student in the Schulich School of Engineering and founder of Escape with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Escape with STEM creates escape room experiences designed to inspire young Indigenous students to enter STEM fields. Brennan joins us to talk about moving the program online during the pandemic and expanding the scope to make it accessible for all students. 

For our students, the coronavirus pandemic has been an especially tough time. They've been dealing with questions about living arrangements, moving to online classes, research delays and uncertainty about when things will return to normal. Dr. Kevin Baird (BSc ’00, MSc ’02, MD ‘05), a psychiatrist in our Student Wellness Centre, talks about providing mental health support for students, some of the issues they're facing, and what supports are available for students during the pandemic and when they return to campus.

For kids with ADHD, coping with daily routines and social interactions can be challenging at the best of times. The social isolation and loss of routine over the past few months has added a whole new layer of complexity. Dr. Emma Climie (MSc ’08, PhD ‘12), an associate professor in the Werklund School of Education, talks about some of the issues faced by kids with ADHD and their parents, strategies for managing things like learning, sleep and physical activity, and what a return to school might look like.

"Fake news" has been an issue of public interest for years, with the Internet flooded with blatantly false information that gets widely shared using social media. We talk to Dr. Ray Patterson, PhD, a professor of business technology management. Ray and a team of fellow scholars have discovered a method to detect fake news sites by analyzing their digital supply chains.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people interact in countless ways, from physical distancing to moving work relationships online. In the episode, we talk to Dr. Cara MacInnis, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, who's been watching people's behavioural changes as we navigate "the new normal." Cara shares her observations about behavioural shifts she's noticed that affect all of us.

COVID-19 is a disease we haven't seen before, one which seems to disproportionately affect older people. But why is that? In this episode, Dr. Jacqueline McMillan, a clinical assistant professor in our Department of Health Sciences, talks about how and why older people are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and what we can learn from this pandemic so we're better prepared for next time.

Sheltering in place is wreaking havoc on many people's sleep patterns, which can cause associated problems like substance use and depression. We talk to registered psychologist Dr. Lianne Tomfohr-Madsen, about the importance of getting proper sleep, especially in stressful times, and what people can do if sleep is an issue for them.

Calgary's economy has taken a beating in recent years, but the coronavirus pandemic doesn't have to be the knockout blow. We talk to Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development, about Calgary's new economic realities and the challenges of restarting an economy that's been battered on all sides.

Even before COVID-19, Alberta was facing tough economic times. Coronavirus prevention measures haven't made things any easier. In this episode we talk to Adam Legge, president of the Business Council of Alberta, about re-imagining Alberta's revenue model and economic landscape, and how to set ourselves up for long-term prosperity when all the decks seem to be stacked against us.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the shock of a lifetime to our economic systems, the effects of which will be felt for years to come. We talk to economist and policy researcher Lindsay Tedds about what economic recovery might look like and what policies we can put in place to soften the blow. 

*Recorded on April 2, 2020.

All over the world, domestic violence rates are rising during the coronavirus pandemic. Many victims are trapped at home with their abusers. We talk with Kim Ruse and Lana Wells, two leaders in domestic violence prevention, about rising rates of domestic violence, what various agencies are doing about it, and how people can still access supports and services.

With the pandemic closing parks around the world, wildlife has gotten some much-needed breathing room. But is that a good thing? We talk to award-winning naturalist and wildlife expert Brian Keating about how coronavirus is affecting the animal world, from poaching to tourism to zoos — and maybe helping us better appreciate our natural surroundings.

With the coronavirus pandemic, organizations around the world have had to move their work online — and fast. In this episode we hear from two of our experts about learning and working online, some of the challenges people are facing, how to change our mindsets, and how an organization as large and complex as a university can quickly change its entire way of doing things.

While we stay home to slow the spread of the illness COVID-19, we're also exposing ourselves to other health issues that can stem from isolation, like anxiety and depression. In this episode we talk to renowned psychologist Dr. Keith Dobson about staying mentally well during the pandemic, ways to tell if something isn't right, and strategies for support if people aren't doing well.

In a time of stress like most of us have never experienced before, it's natural for many people to turn to substances to escape. But one of the dangers of physical distancing and self-isolation is that people can develop substance use disorders. These measures also make it more difficult for those in recovery to access treatment and services. We talk to Dr. Jacqueline Smith, PhD, an assistant professor in our Faculty of Nursing, about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting people with substance use disorders as well as some strategies people can use to take care of their mental health.

From grains and pulses to fruits and vegetables to beef and pork, on the world stage, Alberta is a major producer of food. How has coronavirus impacted our agribusiness sector? In this episode we talk to a panel of experts about every aspect of our food systems, from production to supply to retail, and what our supply chains and priorities might look like once we get past the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calgary is a community that pulls together when times get tough. In this episode, we talk to Sandra Davidson, dean of our Faculty of Nursing, and Jackie Sieppert, dean of our Faculty of Social Work, about the benefits of helping out in a time of crisis — for ourselves and for the people we're helping. Whether it's a small act of kindness for someone who's isolated or working on the front lines, every bit helps.

Coronavirus prevention measures have forced businesses in almost every sector to close, to offer reduced services, or to move their operations online. And people who want to start businesses are facing extremely difficult market conditions. In this episode, we talk with Rosalynn Peschl, an instructor in the Haskayne School of Business, about entrepreneurial thinking, the power of being able to adapt, and how to look past problems to find solutions.

Working and schooling from home can be challenging at the best of times, but especially when people are trying to do it in the same space at the same time. We talk to Dr. Brittany Harker Martin, PhD, a specialist in online working and learning, about ways people who share space can make sure everyone's needs and priorities are met — while minimizing disruption to home life.

Pandemic-related isolation is a challenging time for families, but it's also an opportunity to spend time together in ways we may never get to again. In this episode, we talk to educational expert Dr. Barb Brown, PhD, about how families can make shared isolation easier and more enjoyable for everyone and the importance for parents to take some of the pressure off themselves.

Coronavirus prevention measures have had a devastating effect on business, with few sectors as hard-hit as startups. We talk to Irfhan Rawji, a Calgary venture capital investor, about the impacts of the pandemic on startups, the factors that will help get the economy back on its feet, and how positive mindsets and attitudes can make all the difference.

Coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, are unlike anything our health care systems have seen before. In this episode, we talk with Dr. Chris Mody, head of our Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, about why COVID-19 is such a threat to our health-care systems, how it attacks our bodies, what makes it different from other viruses, and why it's so challenging to develop a vaccine.

*Recorded on March 26, 2020.

With schools closing across the country and school years delayed, many parents are home schooling so their children don't fall behind. In this episode, we talk with Hetty Roessingh, a professor in UCalgary's Werklund School of Education, about strategies to help kids with vocabulary and literacy and how parents can make the most of their kids' time in an era of physical distancing.

When the University of Calgary implemented coronavirus prevention measures, including moving classes online, student life was impacted dramatically. Students are concerned about their academic standing, their degrees, their classes and every other facet of campus life. In this episode, we're joined by Susan Barker, vice-provost of student experience, to talk about supports and services in place for students during this difficult time.

Coronavirus is here to stay, and "flattening the curve" has entered our public consciousness and vocabulary forever. But once the curve is flattened, then what? In this episode, we talk to Dr. Craig Jenne, an expert in how our immune system responds to viral infections. Hear about how coronavirus spreads so quickly, why we need to develop therapies and treatments as well as vaccines, what people can do to help prevent infection, and how we can manage COVID-19 in a post-lockdown world. 

*Recorded on March 24, 2020.

COVID-19 has disrupted work as we know it, abruptly forcing organizations to transition their people to remote work for an undeterminable amount of time. Chancellor Deborah Yedlin sits down (virtually) with Eric Termuende, international speaker, best-selling author of Rethink Work, host of the One Degree Shift podcast, and UCalgary Haskayne School of Business Alumnus to discuss how teams can be productive, effective and connected while working remotely. As an expert on workplace culture, Eric shares how leaders can manage their (newly) remote workforce, how teams can work together to co-create a collaborative culture from afar, and how the pandemic may very well be a powerful catalyst for longterm business transformation. 

Nuvyn Peters chats with Dr. Stephen Freedman, professor of Paediatrics and Emergency Medicine at UCalgary's Cumming School of Medicine, and lead researcher of a global study to improve the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 in children. Why are children seemingly unharmed by coronavirus? Can COVID-19 spread from pets? Can the virus pass from mother to baby? What should parents do if they suspect their child is infected? We explore these questions and more, as Dr. Freedman offers tips, guidance and advice to help parents navigate our new reality.

Corey Hogan talks with University of Calgary Associate Professor Dr. Patricia Doyle-Baker, an expert in exercise and public health. They talk about the importance of exercise for our physical and mental wellbeing, how to start, what to do and how to keep motivated.

Nuvyn Peters sits down with University of Calgary Vice-President (Research) and public health expert Dr. Bill Ghali. They talk about the impact of COVID-19 on research activity (1:48), how COVID-19 affects treatment for other illnesses (5:19) and how public health professionals are coordinating and responding to COVID-19 (6:52).

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Do you have an idea for a future episode or series?
Send us an email to podcasts@ucalgary.ca.

Related resources

COVID-19 community support

Our resources are here to support our communities during this unprecedented time. Together, we'll get through this.

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Campus COVID-19 updates

Up-to-date information for the campus community and any response UCalgary is taking to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 Webinars

UCalgary webinars with researchers and experts that focus on topics we can use during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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