Host Barbara Lewis and the Sound Medicine team interviewed public health officials, health-care providers and ethicists who convened in Indianapolis in July for “Confronting the Ethics of Pandemic Influenza Planning: The 2008 Summit of the States.”
The purpose of the summit was to identify the key ethical challenges, share best practices and consider possible solutions faced by public health officials and the medical community during an influenza pandemic, said Indiana State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe, M.D., one of the summit organizers and a guest on the Sound Medicine series.
In the program airing Sept. 27 and 28, Sound Medicine will examine what’s being done to prepare for an influenza pandemic, which many health officials believe will be related to the avian flu. Guests will include Patricia Anders, director of emergency preparedness training for the state of New York, and Dr. Janelle Rhyne, who directs North Carolina’s Office of Public Health Surveillance.
Part two of the series will be heard Oct. 4 and 5. Sound Medicine will explore predictions on the length of a pandemic, its affect on the workforce and the burdens it will present to the health-care system. Guests will include Steve Gravely, an attorney in Virginia who has represented health-care systems and hospitals for nearly 30 years; Ellie Garrett, a medical ethicist at the University of Minnesota; Indiana Director of Homeland Security Joe Wainscott; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pandemic planner Dr. Steve Redd. The challenges of providing necessary supplies and medical equipment, triage issues and the need for “military precision” when distributing critical supplies will be discussed.
In the last of the series, airing Oct. 11 and 12, guests will discuss what an influenza pandemic could mean to the public in terms of lost jobs, food supplies quarantines, as well as other possibilities for reducing the impact of a deadly disease.
James Wolf, director of the Survey Research Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, was asked by the state’s board of health to see what Americans already know about the implications of an influenza pandemic. He and his researchers conducted a nationwide phone survey asking more than 600 adults where they would turn for information about a pandemic, whether they were willing and able to stay home for an extended period, and who they would turn to for help. He reports on the findings.
The summit was hosted by the Indiana State Department of Health, the Indiana University Center for Bioethics and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). The summit was underwritten by the ISDH’s preparedness funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.