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CDC Wraps Up Deliberative Consultation on Pandemic Flu

[From keystone.org via Deliberative-Democracy.net] In one of the most exemplary recent US government efforts to engage the public around an urgent issue, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened a series of public consultations on pandemic flu in the last quarter of 2005. According to one of the project’s sponsors, “To conduct this public consultation, the sponsors engaged stakeholders from various organizations with an interest in pandemic influenza (the National Stakeholder Group), and individual citizens-at-large from the four principal regions of the United States, including Georgia (South), Massachusetts (North East), Nebraska (Midwest), and Oregon (West)…  The purpose of the Public Engagement Pilot Project on Pandemic Influenza (PEPPPI) was to inform decision-makers about the public’s priorities for the use of pandemic influenza vaccine during a period of anticipated shortage. This information is intended to lead to a sounder, more supportable decision and to demonstrate that citizens can be productively engaged in informing vaccine related policy decisions thereby leading to more public engagement in the future.”

According to Patty Dineen of the National Issues Forums Institute, “This is the best public engagement project and report that I have seen. I really think that what you’ve done is groundbreaking and should be required reading for all of us who are involved in–or care about–public engagement.” To view a report of the consultation, please visit the Study Circles Resource Center, which carries an excellent article and links: www.studycircles.org/en/Article.393.aspx.

The official PEPPI Report is available for viewing on The Keystone Center’s website at www.keystone.org/spp/health-pandemic.html. The section of the Department of Health and Human Services’ pandemic flu plan mentioning the work of PEPPPI can be found at www.hhs.gov/pandemicflu/plan/appendixd.html/.

Amy Lang
Amy Lang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia. She wrote her dissertation on British Columbia’s groundbreaking Citizens’ Assembly process, and is currently doing follow-up research on the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly.

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