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Influenza Pandemic Preparedness in the Public Health Sector: How to Improve on Existing Pandemic Preparedness Plans of the Medical Community

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Influenza is a viral infection with the potential to infect millions worldwide. In the case of such a pandemic outbreak, direct patient interaction is handled by the medical community, composed

Influenza is a viral infection with the potential to infect millions worldwide. In the case of such a pandemic outbreak, direct patient interaction is handled by the medical community, composed of hospitals, medical professionals, and the policies that regulate them. The medical community is responsible not only for treating infected individuals, but preventing the spread of influenza to healthy individuals. Given this responsibility, the medical community has drafted preparedness plans laying down guidelines for action in the case of an influenza pandemic. This project reviewed these preparedness plans for hospitals in Arizona as well as reviewing the literature produced by the Department of Health and Human Services to guide these plans. The review revealed that the medical community is woefully unprepared to handle the number of infected individuals, projected to be close to 90 million. Plans are disorganized, outdated, and nonexistent. The conclusions of this thesis offer suggestions for pandemic policy improvement.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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A biography of endocrine disruptors: the narrative surrounding the appearance and regulation of a new category of toxic substances

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Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with the hormone system to negative effect. They ‘disrupt’ normal processes to cause diseases like vaginal cancer and obesity, reproductive issues like t-shaped uteri

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with the hormone system to negative effect. They ‘disrupt’ normal processes to cause diseases like vaginal cancer and obesity, reproductive issues like t-shaped uteri and infertility, and developmental abnormalities like spina bifida and cleft palate. These chemicals are ubiquitous in our daily lives, components in everything from toothpaste to microwave popcorn to plastic water bottles. My dissertation looks at the history, science, and regulation of these impactful substances in order to answer the question of how endocrine disruptors appeared, got interpreted by different groups, and what role science played in the process. My analysis reveals that endocrine disruptors followed a unique science policy trajectory in the US, rapidly going from their proposal in 1991 to their federal regulation in 1996, even amid intense and majority scientific disagreement over whether the substances existed at all. That trajectory resulted from the work of a small number of scientist-activists who constructed a concept and category as scientific, social, and regulatory. By playing actors from each sphere against each other and advancing a very specific scientific narrative that fit into a regulatory and social window of opportunity in the 1990s, those scientist-activists made endocrine disruptors a national issue that few could ignore. Those actions resulted in the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, a heavily-criticized and ineffective regulatory program. My dissertation tells a story of the past that informs the present. In 2018, the work of researchers, public media, and policymakers in the 1990s continues to play out, evident in the deep scientific division over endocrine disrupting effects and the inability of the European Union to settle on even a definition of endocrine disruptors for regulation purposes.

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Date Created
  • 2018