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Colorado School of Public Health News and Stories


COVID-19    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Ethics    Health Systems

Should Colorado Be Holding Vaccine Sweepstakes?

I’m not usually a fan of lotteries — they’re a tax on people who are bad at math, my math teacher once joked. But unlike a lottery, which requires buying a ticket, entry into the COVID-19 vaccination sweepstakes is automatic and free for everyone who gets the vaccine.

Author Matthew Wynia | Publish Date June 20, 2021
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Press Coverage    Ethics    Health Systems    Health Advocacy

Vaccine Guilt is Real. Here’s How to Deal, According to Local Ethicists

Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, professor in the Department Health Systems, Management & Policy and director of the CU Center for Bioethics & Humanities, and other ethicists discuss inequities in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and why giving up your place in line isn’t the best way to address those issues.

Author 5280 | Publish Date February 08, 2021
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Community    COVID-19    Epidemiology    Infectious disease    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Ethics

Rolling Stone: Could COVID-19 Immunity Certificates Help Reopen America — Or Create More Class Divide?

As we appear to be reaching the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in some parts of the U.S., public health officials have started thinking about what happens next. Having widespread, accurate testing for COVID-19 is necessary in order to make it possible for essential workers to return to their jobs, and eventually, reopen society. But how will we keep track of who has developed antibodies after surviving a case of COVID-19 and should be permitted to go out in public? One option — which has already been implemented by researchers in Germany, and is being considered by the United Kingdom and Italy — is to have some form of documentation verifying a person’s immunity to the virus. 

Author Rolling Stone Magazine | Publish Date April 21, 2020
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Community    COVID-19    Epidemiology    Infectious disease    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Ethics

#COVIDchat: Daniel Goldberg on the Ethics of Public Health Response to Coronavirus

"There are, I think, some pretty good reasons you could muster why massive collective action that overwhelms individual rights and liberties in the name of public health can be harmful. All we have to do is think historically about that. It's not too difficult to come up with examples where running roughshod over individual rights and liberties, especially more disadvantaged people's rights and liberties, in the name of public health, in the name of social good, has actually turned out to be disasterous, and Buck v. Bell is a nice example of that. The history of eugenics and public health in the US is another good example of that.   

So specifically returning to your specific question about coronavirus, the things that we are requiring for extreme physical distancing, this is harmful, and I think it's really important for everybody to understand that. I'm not saying that this isn't legally or ethically justified or warranted right now; I think given the situation we're in I'll go on record and say I think it's probably worth it and a good idea. But I think we have to have a counter in our head. Every day that this goes on, the harm is building. And it's not so much harm for people like me who are privileged and mostly able-bodied, although there are harms for me as well, but these harms are unequally distributed, and people who are more vulnerable, whether they're chronically ill people, whether they're people who live with certain kinds of disabilities. For example, we know that elderly people struggle mightily with social isolation in this country, and we know that social isolation is a major killer. It's a huge of mortality and morbidity. You're going to ask people in the US to socially isolate themselves for 12 to 18 months, you better be prepared for some serious public health consequences of that. Those consequences and harms build as time goes on, and so we have to think about those things."   

Watch the interview.

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Community    COVID-19    Infectious disease    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Ethics    Health Systems    Health Advocacy

Los Angeles Times: Ethical Dilemmas in the Age of Coronavirus: Whose Lives Should We Save?

Three patients — a 16-year-old boy with diabetes, a 25-year-old mother and a 75-year-old grandfather — are crammed into a hospital triage tent and struggling to breathe. Only one ventilator is left. Who gets it? 

Author Los Angeles Times | Publish Date March 20, 2020
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COVID-19    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Ethics

If COVID-19 Gets Bad, Triage Will Be Needed. Are We Ready For That?

The emergence of a new infectious disease that rapidly spreads around the world, like COVID-19, makes disaster planning experts move into overdrive. Lessons learned over the last decade can help cope with the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Author Matthew Wynia & John Hick | Publish Date March 10, 2020
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Epidemiology    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Ethics

Ask The Ethicist: Whistleblower Inquires About Consulting on a Lawsuit

Dear Ask the Ethicist:

Some time ago I discovered a major wrongdoing in the financial industry and reported it to the federal regulators as a whistleblower. I learned that under the US Whistleblower Protection Act, a whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of the funds the government collects in fines and damages. The federal regulators have so far brought no legal action in this case and my hopes are not high.
Simultaneously, I approached a team of lawyers for a possible class action lawsuit on behalf of the victims. The lawyers think of using me as a paid consultant for the class action and I would like to know if this would be ethical, considering that I'm also a whistleblower to the federal regulators. Should I publicly disclose my whistleblower status? Would I be ethically unfit to consult in a class action on behalf of victims while also being a whistleblower to the government?

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Community    Epidemiology    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Ethics

Ask The Ethicist: Connecting Students with Community Agencies

Dear Ask the Ethicist:

I am a public health faculty member working with a community agency in a consulting capacity. In that role, I have been asked to help the agency expand one of their action committees. I have a student who has the skills to contribute to this committee and who could help me fulfill my role with the agency. As the student’s advisor, I can envision this being a good learning experience for the student but also know how busy the student is between school work and a job outside of school. By suggesting that the student take on this role, would I be unfairly coercive in using my influence as professor? 

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Epidemiology    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Ethics

Ask The Ethicist: Naming Specific Manufacturers in Food-Borne Illness Outbreaks

Dear Ask the Ethicist:

I am teaching a course in which students are doing course papers focused on addressing selected public health practice challenges. Recently, a student brought the following issue to the class, posing it as an ethical challenge. I wasn’t sure how to respond. What would you advise?

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Epidemiology    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Ethics

Ask The Ethicist: Are Student Learning Experiences "Voluntourism"?

Dear Ask the Ethicist:

I regularly advise students who are working on field-based projects (practica and Capstones) in a high need community. Their work has involved engaging with community health leaders in conducting needs assessments and generating ideas among community members about how to address public health problems within the community. However, the students almost always leave the program before they can help the community develop viable solutions to the problems. I worry that the communities we work with may feel that they are giving more than they are getting in providing learning opportunities for students with little or no help in addressing the challenges uncovered by the students’ field work. At some point, they may decide to stop engaging with the school in this way – a loss for future students and also creating a bad name for the institution within the state. Is it ethical for us, as a school, to continue to send our students into these communities without a clear plan for how we, as a school, will help the communities once the students have moved on?

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Colorado School of Public Health In the News

9 News

Dozens of state water systems exceed new federal limits on 'forever chemicals' or PFAs

news outlet9 News
Publish DateApril 12, 2024

“People need to be aware that their risk associated with drinking PFAs in drinking water is still likely quite low, given we don’t have those high, high levels of contamination. The EPA standard is designed to really take that down to be most protective of public health,” said Ned Calonge, associate dean for public health practice, and a professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health.

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How Colorado Is Addressing Its (Massive) Aging Population

news outlet5280
Publish DateApril 02, 2024

Kristine Burrows has dedicated a big chunk of her young life to old age. She earned a master’s degree with a focus on leadership and healthy aging from the Colorado School of Public Health in 2018, launched a statewide day program for older adults with disabilities through the Lakewood chapter of national nonprofit Easterseals, and eventually worked as director of aging, care, and connections for the Jewish Family Service of Colorado. 

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Ark Valley Voice

Colorado Delegation Calling for Continued Funding of Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center

news outletArk Valley Voice
Publish DateMarch 28, 2024

U.S. Representatives Brittany Pettersen and Jason Crow are leading a group of Colorado Representatives urging the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to continue funding the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center (RMPRC), which resides within the Colorado School of Public Health. It has conducted instrumental public health research in the region for nearly 20 years, but the CDC recently decided not to fund the RMPRC for the next five-year funding cycle.

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Environmental Health News

Q&A: Award-winning scientist Anne Starling on the latest PFAS research— and where she finds hope

news outletEnvironmental Health News
Publish DateMarch 22, 2024

EHN senior news editor Brian Bienkowski sat down with Dr. Anne Starling, winner of the 2023 Lou Guillette Jr Outstanding Young Investigator Award, to discuss her work on PFAS and other toxics, how this has shaped her consumer habits, and where she finds hope.

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