April 3, 2023

Film screening sheds light on tuberculosis, its treatment and emerging research 

Nursing faculty collaborates with Cumming School of Medicine’s Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases for Science in the Cinema
Science in the Cinema guest speakers
From left, Dr. Nancy Bedingfield, Dr. Joanne Salmon, Jenise Finlay, Dr. Nargis Khan

Tuberculosis (TB) is one the leading causes of death by infectious disease worldwide and current challenges, such as the war in Ukraine and migration of Ukrainian refugees, have seen rates rise globally for the first time in almost 20 years.

Spearheaded by UCalgary Nursing alum Morgan Gunnlagson, BN’13, clinical nurse educator for Calgary Tuberculosis Services, the faculty collaborated with her unit and Cumming School of Medicine’s Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases on March’s Science in the Cinema (SITC). The event is a long-standing series that brings science and popular culture together in an engaging way. The hope was to heighten more public knowledge and political will to fight and cure this disease. 

“Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic, tuberculosis, an already neglected disease, has taken a back seat in health care in Canada and around the world,” says Gunnlagson. 

“Prior to COVID-19, TB was the biggest infectious disease killer worldwide, having surpassed HIV and malaria, and the pandemic has set back the global TB response by several years. We need to advocate for those affected by this disease to have better access to the care and improved treatments that they need.” 

The 2008 French Canadian film The Necessities of Life (Ce qu'il faut pour vivre) was screened for a full audience at the Plaza Theatre on March 22 and is based on the TB epidemic that affected northern Canada in 1952. It follows Tivii, an Inuit hunter diagnosed with the disease, as he leaves his northern home and family to recuperate at a sanatorium in Quebec City. 

After the film, a panel, which included two additional UCalgary Nursing alumni members - Jenise Finlay, RN, MN’22, a researcher with the Cuthbert Lab, and Dr. Nancy Bedingfield RN, BN'02, PhD'22, a tuberculosis researcher and knowledge translation project manager working with the University of Calgary and the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases - answered questions about the disease, treatment and emerging research. 

Finlay, who has practiced in public health since 2014, including a stint as a tuberculosis lead in northern Alberta and regularly guest lectures on infectious diseases, moderated. CMS’s Drs. Nargis Khan (PhD) and Joanne Salmon (MD) were also part of the panel. 

SITC continues in 2023-2024 with a brand new series of films that ask the question ‘is it science or is it fiction?’ 

Hosted by the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), Science in the Cinema brings together science and popular culture in a fun and engaging way. This is a chance to ask a health researcher: is it science or fiction?