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Expanding the Public's Role in Health Emergency Policy

Monica Schoch-Spana, Brooke Courtney, Ann Norwood
Date posted:
March 01, 2009
Publication type:

Biosecur Bioterror 2009;7(1):39-41

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Free on publisher's website

National policy has traditionally defined the role of citizens in public health preparedness as assembling an emergency stockpile and listening to the radio or television for official instructions. But U.S. residents and civic groups have played a far greater role in disasters and epidemics. In an emergency, family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and bystanders often conduct search and rescue and provide medical aid before police, fire, and other officials arrive on the scene. During major outbreaks of smallpox, polio, and HIV/AIDS, volunteers have helped run mass vaccination clinics and nurse homebound patients; they have supported the sick and their families with basics like grocery shopping and childcare and participated in policy decisions about disease prevention, care delivery, and drug development.



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