Misinformation is Killing Us — Rx: The Truth

2019, Media + Information, Health

Timothy Caulfield is an author and professor. He’s a Canada Research Chair in health and law policy at the University of Alberta, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and the host of A User’s Guide to Cheating Death on Netflix.

And soon, he’ll be an SFU honorary degree holder.

To celebrate the occasion, Professor Caulfield will deliver a free public talk on the dangers of health misinformation, and how to combat it.

Popular culture is rife with science-free misinformation amplified by celebrity marketers and what Caulfield calls a “wellness industry complex.” As trust in conventional health-care systems is eroding and social media platforms are used to spread pseudoscience and conspiracy theories, it is becoming harder to tell scientific truth from nonsense.

And it could be killing us.

“There is growing recognition that this kind of health misinformation is having a tangible impact on the public’s health,” says Caulfield. “For example, the World Health Organization recently declared the vaccine hesitancy caused by vaccination myths to be one of the top threats to global health.”

Caulfield calls for a stronger response to misinformation and unproven healthcare practices. From greater oversight of health and wellness marketing, to stricter regulation of healthcare professions, and deeper public engagement from the science community, more must be done to protect public health and our critical thinking.

Wed, 09 Oct 2019

7:00 - 8:30 p.m. (PT)

SFU Segal Graduate School of Business
500 Granville St., Vancouver
Rooms 1200-1500 and Founder's Hall

We respectfully acknowledge that this event takes place on the Unceded, Traditional, Ancestral Territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm First Nations.


Professor Timothy Caulfield

Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. His interdisciplinary research on topics like stem cells, genetics, research ethics, the public representations of science and health policy issues has allowed him to publish over 350 academic articles. He has won numerous academic and writing awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Trudeau Foundation and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He contributes frequently for the popular press and is the author of two national bestsellers: The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Penguin 2012) and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash (Penguin 2015). His most recent book is The Vaccination Picture (Penguin, 2017). Caulfield is also the host and co-producer of the award winning documentary TV show, A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, which has been shown in over 60 countries and is currently streaming on Netflix.


Professor Tania Bubela

Dr. Bubela was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in September 2017. Prior to that appointment, she was Professor and Associate Dean (Research) in the School of Public Health and Adjunct Professor in Alberta Business at the University of Alberta (UofA), Canada. She joined the faculty of the UofA in 2004 after clerking for The Honourable Louise Arbour at the Supreme Court of Canada, articling at Field Law LLP in Edmonton, and being called to the bar (Law Society of Alberta) in 2005. Her research program in intellectual property and health law, focused on translational biomedical research, brings together her legal training and a Ph.D. in biology and expertise in genetics and molecular biology. Her research program focuses on large collaborative science networks in genomics, gene therapy, and stem cell biology. It addresses barriers to the development and effective translation of new technologies. These are varied and include ethical issues, effective communication of risks and benefits among stakeholder groups, commercialization and regulation. She provides advice for governmental health and science agencies as well as life sciences research communities, and patient organisations. Her research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, BioCanRx, the Canadian Stem Cell Network, Genome Canada, and Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions, among others. She co-leads the PACEOMICS program on the development of cost-effective personalized medicine and the Alberta Ocular Gene Therapy Team, which is developing novel gene therapies and conducting a phase I clinical trial of the NighstaRx AAV2-REP1 product for choroideremia. She has over 100 publications in law, ethics and science policy journals including articles in Nature, Nature Biotechnology, Cell Stem Cell, PLoS Biology, Trends in Biotechnology, American Journal of Bioethics and Science Translational Medicine.

In the News

Prof. Timothy Caulfield receives honorary doctorate in science — Helen Metella, University of Alberta (October 4, 2019)