Florida Public Health Emergency Ethics Project

January 01, 2010 — Miami, FL —

Preparation for and response to a pandemic, act of bioterrorism, hurricane or other emergency involves extraordinary collaboration among hospitals, public health authorities, law enforcement agencies, emergency management units and others. Among the most challenging issues faced during such preparation and response are isolation and quarantine, triage and rationing, workforce absenteeism and provider liability. There is a growing recognition that these challenges are in large part ethical challenges. The Miami-Dade County Hospital Preparedness Consortium, created by the Miami-Dade County Health Department, has established an Ethics Advisory Group to work with other emergency planners to ensure that ethical issues are adequately addressed during the planning process. Working in close cooperation with the Health Council of South Florida and the University of Miami Ethics Programs, the Ethics Advisory Group has begun meeting to draft ethics policy guidelines and prepare related resources.

The Ethics Advisory Group comprises the chairs of hospital, hospice, nursing home and community-based ethics committees in Miami-Dade County, with courtesy membership extended to colleagues in Broward County as well as academic experts from around South Florida. The Ethics Advisory Group is chaired by Kenneth W. Goodman, Ph.D., director of the University of Miami Bioethics Program. The committee’s inaugural meeting was March 14, 2007, in Miami. The group then helped lead a pandemic preparedness retreat on March 20, 2007. A second meeting was held on June 5. The group is working with the Health Council of South Florida to develop a pandemic preparedness and response White Paper. The next meeting is being planned for the summer of 2009.

This site is under construction. For more information about the All Hazards Ethics Advisory Group, or to make suggestions, please contact Ken Goodman.

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Florida satellite image.  Source: NOAA

Florida satellite image. Source: NOAA