Resource allocation on the frontlines of public health preparedness and response: Report of a summit on legal and ethical issues

Daniel J. Barnett, Holly A. Taylor, James Hodge, Jonathan M. Links

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives. In the face of all-hazards preparedness challenges, local and state health department personnel have to date lacked a discrete set of legally and ethically informed public health principles to guide the distribution of scarce resources in crisis settings. To help address this gap, we convened a Summit of academic and practice experts to develop a set of principles for legally and ethically sound public health resource triage decision-making in emergencies. Methods. The invitation-only Summit, held in Washington, D.C., on June 29, 2006, assembled 20 experts from a combination of academic institutions and nonacademic leadership, policy, and practice settings. The Summit featured a tabletop exercise designed to highlight resource scarcity challenges in a public health infectious disease emergency. This exercise served as a springboard for Summit participants' subsequent identification of 10 public health emergency resource allocation principles through an iterative process. Results. The final product of the Summit was a set of 10 principles to guide allocation decisions involving scarce resources in public health emergencies. The principles are grouped into three categories: obligations to community; balancing personal autonomy and community well-being/benefit; and good preparedness practice. Conclusions. The 10 Summit-derived principles represent an attempt to link law, ethics, and real-world public health emergency resource allocation practices, and can serve as a useful starting framework to guide further systematic approaches and future research on addressing public health resource scarcity in an all-hazards context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-303
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Reports
Volume124
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

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Resource Allocation
Ethics
Public Health
Health Resources
Emergencies
Exercise
Personal Autonomy
Triage
Health Personnel
Communicable Diseases
Decision Making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Resource allocation on the frontlines of public health preparedness and response : Report of a summit on legal and ethical issues. / Barnett, Daniel J.; Taylor, Holly A.; Hodge, James; Links, Jonathan M.

In: Public Health Reports, Vol. 124, No. 2, 03.2009, p. 295-303.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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