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Minnesota Department of Health launches flu preparation site


SAINT PAUL, Minn. The Minnesota Department of Health Friday morning unveiled its Minnesota Pandemic Ethics Project, a Web page through which individuals and organizations may help shape the debate over how the state can best prepare an emergency response against a potential avian flu pandemic.

“You are invited to offer your advice on this important question,” the web site states. “Your voice is important, and we want to hear from as many people as possible—whether or not you live or work in Minnesota or are familiar with pandemic planning.”

The goal of the Ethics Project is to propose ethical frameworks and procedures for rationing scarce health resources in Minnesota during a severe influenza pandemic. The frameworks recommend how to decide in what order different groups of Minnesotans should be prioritized to receive resources. There are also recommendations about how to implement the ethical guidance provided by the frameworks.

Preliminary recommendations have been developed by a broad-based panel and work groups of more than 100 Minnesotans. An important part of this project is to gather public input so that the final recommendations include broader perspectives, the department stated. 

Public comments are being accepted Jan. 30 through March 16.

The project is funded by the Minnesota Department of Health and is led by the Minnesota Center for Health Care Ethics and University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics.

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