National experts to debate the law and ethics of public health responses to bioterrorism

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL--The University of Minnesota's Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences will host a panel of national experts debating the law and ethics of public health responses to bioterrorism, including quarantine, compelled treatment and the use of force. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan.29, in the Cowles Auditorium of the university's Humphrey Center. The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have commissioned a Model State Emergency Health Powers Act now being debated and already introduced in the Minnesota Legislature.

"The prospect of a bioterrorist disaster forces us to ask whether law and ethics authorize aggressive triage, isolation and quarantine, and access to private medical records, among other public health measures," said Susan Wolf, Faegre & Benson Professor of Law, professor of medicine, and chair of the consortium. "This symposium will tackle the full range of legal and ethical issues raised by efforts to protect the public's health in the face of bioterrorism."

Featured speakers on Tuesday are professor Larry Gostin, J.D., LL.D. (Georgetown and Johns Hopkins universities), principal author of the Model Act; Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy; and professor Nicki Pesik, M.D. (Emory Univ.), coauthor of the leading article on the ethics of emergency care in a bioterrorist disaster. Commentators include Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Department of Health; Terry O'Brien, former Minnesota assistant attorney general; Jeffrey Kahn, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics; and Rep. Thomas Huntley, Ph.D., Minnesota House of Representatives.

The symposium is free and open to the public and no advance registration is required.

More information on the agenda and the speakers can be found at:

Contact: Deane Morrison
University of Minnesota

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