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Colorado School of Public Health News and Stories

Ethics

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

USA Today

What is THC? Answering the questions you were too embarrassed to ask.

news outletUSA Today
Publish DateJuly 09, 2024

Among health experts, the jury is still out on THC, CBD and the use of marijuana in general, as those in medical and research fields weigh the benefits and risks. "This is the big challenge with cannabis: How do we facilitate the beneficial medical applications, allow for what society has determined is acceptable recreational use and also guard against the very real harms?" Gregory Tung, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, tells USA TODAY. "This is difficult and will likely require a mix of policy, rules, regulations and education."

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Colorado Public Radio

Colorado has the most cases of bird flu among dairy cows in the U.S.

news outletColorado Public Radio
Publish DateJuly 02, 2024

Cases of highly pathogenic avian flu cases in Colorado dairy cows keep rising, with numbers from a federal website recording the state as having more cases than any other. Public health experts said they’re watching to see if infections spillover from cattle to  humans and then human to human. “I think it's an important time for public health to be watching this really closely,” said  Elizabeth Carlton, an epidemiologist at the Colorado School of Public Health. “Concern for the general public is pretty low right now,” she said.

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The Denver Post

Colorado sees summer COVID bump as new FLiRT variants keep virus from settling into seasonal pattern

news outletThe Denver Post
Publish DateJuly 02, 2024

Colorado, along with much of the country, is experiencing a summer bump in COVID-19 infections, showing the virus has yet to fall into a seasonal pattern. Common respiratory bugs typically start spreading in the fall and peter out by spring. In Colorado, the worst points of the pandemic fell in the fall and winter, but COVID-19 hasn’t disappeared in the warmer months, as flu does. Four years ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, scientists expected the virus would be well on its way to settling into a seasonal pattern by now, said Talia Quandelacy, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health.

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Colorado Public Radio

Living near oil and gas sites in Colorado could make irregular heartbeat symptoms worse, CU study says

news outletColorado Public Radio
Publish DateJune 27, 2024

A new study from researchers at the University of Colorado has found strong evidence that older adults and women with AFIb, atrial fibrillation, living near oil and natural gas wells may experience a worsening of their condition during development of those sites. The period when a well is being developed is when there's the most activity on the well pad, said Colorado School of Public Health researcher Lisa McKenzie, the study’s senior author, in an interview. “It seems to really be concentrated around that development phase of the well,” she said.

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