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Our publications keep professionals working across the public, private, and academic sectors informed on the most important developments and issues in health security and biosecurity.

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Disease, Disaster, and Democracy: The Public’s Stake in Health Emergency Planning

Monica Schoch-Spana, Allison Chamberlain, Crystal Franco, Jonathan Gross, Clarence Lam, Andrew Mulcahy, Jennifer B. Nuzzo, Eric Toner, Christiana Usenza
Date posted:
September 15, 2006
Publication type:
Meeting report

Biosecur Bioterror 2006;4(3):313-319

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Available on publisher's website
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Full article as PDF • conference website


On May 23, 2006, the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center convened an invitational U.S.-Canada summit in Washington, DC, on Disease, Disaster, and Democracy. The conference was held in collaboration with the Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN), the Center for Science Technology and Security Policy of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a U.S. Department of Homeland Security University Center of Excellence.

The 200 people in attendance included community activists, humanitarian relief workers, volunteer organizers, medical and public health professionals, emergency managers, academics, congressional staff, and government officials from virtually all of the U.S. federal agencies. Among the attendees were people with direct experience in the spectrum of modern disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, SARS, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

The purpose of the conference was to advise leaders in government, public health, and disaster management on the feasibility and benefits of actively engaging citizens and communities in planning for large-scale health emergencies in anticipation of (1) the ethical dilemmas posed by a scarcity of life-saving medical resources, and (2) the logistical difficulties of protecting the well and caring for the sick in large numbers. A severe pandemic of influenza served as the hypothetical case with which to test the value of this collaborative problem-solving model in relation to a health disaster.

Full article as PDF • conference website



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