New PANSOC affiliate: Vibeke Narverud Nyborg

We are pleased to welcome Vibeke Narverud Nyborg, Associate Professor at University of South-Eastern Norway (USN), as a new affiliate with PANSOC for the academic year 2021-22. She is a historian, has a PhD in the History of Medicine and Health and will do research on “Pandemics and national regulations”, funded by USN. Here exiting project is described in her own words below:

“Through my PhD work I came across many of the national health regulations that developed as part of the modernization processes that occurred in Norway during the 19th century. Most of these regulations came as a response to specific diseases that threatened the health and wellbeing of the population. In addition, a national health regulation for all areas, the Norwegian Health Care Act (Sunnhetsloven), was adopted by the Parliament in 1860. These regulations were developed to secure the population from infectious diseases in addition to focusing on preventive health measures and public health as part of developing into a modern society. Most of these regulations were in use when the “Spanish” Influenza Pandemic reached Norway in 1918.

However, although the “Spanish” Influenza took more lives over a shorter period of time than any other disease during the 19th and early 20th century, no specific regulation was adopted for the “Spanish” Influenza Pandemic. It will hence be relevant to investigate if any of the already approved regulations specifically adopted to prevent epidemic diseases from spreading, primarily based on non-pharmaceutical measures aiming to secure the healthy from the sick, were considered part of the measures taken in an attempt to prevent the Spanish Influenza from spreading nationally and in different local societies. To the best of my knowledge, little if no research at all has been conducted on this area when it comes to regulations and pandemics in a Norwegian context, and there is also scarce research done on this in an international context.

As the final work of my PhD was highly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken nationally, highly affecting all persons’ lives and also my own and my PhD colleagues’ research, I started to be interested in the connection between regulations and infectious pandemics, such as COVID-19 and the “Spanish” Influenza. I soon discovered that little research has been done in order to investigate if and how national regulations were used during the “Spanish” Influenza pandemic in 1918-1920, whether local measures were used and whether they had any effect on morbidity and mortality. Another area of investigation that seems to be scarce is if the “Spanish” Influenza had any impact on the health care regulations that were developed after the effect of the pandemic was known. Did the pandemic of 1918-1920 have any effect on future risk planning and legislation to secure the population in a similar situation?

I look very much forward to working on this topic as part of my research activities in the academic year of 2021-22 and am happy to be part of the PANSOC team to explore and learn more about pandemics and society from the other experts working in this research environment”.

Mindre fornøyd med livet under korona

Alt tatt i betraktning, hvor tilfreds er du med livet i dag? Dette spørsmålet svarte norske arbeidstakere på i 2019 og deretter i 2020, midt under pandemien. Nan Zou Bakkeli har sammenlignet svarene. Det er neppe overraskende at rike er lykkeligere enn fattige, friske mer tilfredse enn syke og folk i familier lykkeligere enn enslige. Men hvordan har det gått med den store gruppen nordmenn som ikke har alle disse lykkefaktorene på plass?

portrait of researcher Nan Bakkeli

Les intervju med Nan om forskningen her: Mindre fornøyd med livet under korona – OsloMet

Paperet kan du lese her: Health, work, and contributing factors on life satisfaction: A study in Norway before and during the COVID-19 pandemic – ScienceDirect

Indigenous people & Pandemics

The influenza pandemics of 1918 and 2009, as well as the ongoing COVID-19, show that Indigenous people have extremely high risk of severe disease outcomes, but the reasons for this vulnerability are unclear. This week, the head of PANSOC, Svenn-Erik Mamelund, will hold a talk on Indigenous people & Pandemics for the “Indigenous Peoples and Development Branch, Division for Inclusive Social Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, at the United Nations in New York”

The influenza pandemic hit the native communities in Alaska hard. These children in an orphanage in Nushagak, Alaska, lost their parents. Summer of 1919. Source: Alaska Historical Library

The influenza pandemic hit the native communities in Alaska hard. These children in an orphanage in Nushagak, Alaska, lost their parents. Summer of 1919. Source: Alaska Historical Library

In August 2022 to June 2023, Mamelund will also lead a CAS-project on this topic. You can read more here:

Social science meets biology: indigenous people and severe influenza outcomes – CAS

Why do Indigenous people have high risk of severe influenza? – CAS,

Announcing the CAS projects 2022/23: from influenza to peace-and-conflict, and algebra – CAS

New paper out: economic crisis and obesity

This new study by our new post-doc Margarida Pereira suggests that the economic crisis in 2008 enhanced the social inequalities regarding childhood obesity in Portugal. These results aid the development of evidence-based strategies to lessen the social inequities in health outcomes created by the crisis.

The paper is published in the journal Public Health and can be found here: The economic crisis impact on the body mass index of children living in distinct urban environments – ScienceDirect

New paper out: “Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic among migrants: An innovative, system-level, interdisciplinary approach is needed to improve public health”

Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic among migrants: An innovative, system-level, interdisciplinary approach is needed to improve public health - Esperanza Diaz, Svenn-Eirik Mamelund, Jarle Eid, Henriette Sinding Aasen, Oddvar Martin Kaarbøe,...

Why is a new approach needed to reduce ethnic inequalities in pandemic disease burden & improve public health? In this paper, the PANSOC Centre leader discuss this question in collaboration with Esperanza Díaz Pérez and her colleagues at the Pandemic Research Center in Bergen and also colleagues at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The paper is published in Scandinavian Journal of Public Health and can be found here:

Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic among migrants: An innovative, system-level, interdisciplinary approach is needed to improve public health – Esperanza Diaz, Svenn-Eirik Mamelund, Jarle Eid, Henriette Sinding Aasen, Oddvar Martin Kaarbøe, Rebecca Jane Cox Brokstad, Siri Gloppen, Anders Beyer, Bernadette Nirmal Kumar, 2021 (sagepub.com)

Webinar video available

Last week, MSCA fellow Jessica Dimka presented her project on disability as a risk factor during the 1918 pandemic. Watch the video here:

https://hioa365-my.sharepoint.com/:v:/g/personal/jara_oslomet_no/ESZHmya9nFpMkfelP-PGWpgBBDsKDgPGhuAuBbFmgVbhZQ?e=xiwyq6

Jessica noted several sources that helped determine disease values used in her simulation model (and similar models for Newfoundland communities – see work by her PhD supervisor, Lisa Sattenspiel, and their colleagues). These sources include:

“‘An Avalanche of Unexpected Sickness’: Institutions and Disease in 1918 and Today.” Chelsea Chamberlain. June 23, 2020. Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. https://www.shgape.org/an-avalanche-of-unexpected-sickness/

Ferguson, N. M., Fraser, C., Donnelly, C. A., Ghani, A. C., & Anderson, R. M. (2004). Public health risk from the avian H5N1 influenza epidemic. Science, 304(5673), 968–969. https:// doi.org/10.1126/science.1096898

Mills, C. E., Robins, J. M., & Lipsitch, M. (2004). Transmissibility of 1918 pandemic influenza. Nature, 432, 904–906. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature03063