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5a. A Socratic Interchange on the Goals of the Health Sector

Raymond Richard Neutra PhD (Neutra Consultants)

Data: Dimecres, 3 de desembre de 2014 Hora: 13:00
Lloc: Auditorium PRBB

Veterinarian public health is not primarily an end in itself but on the contrary serves some human purpose.  There is not a similar clarity of understanding of the ultimate values  and underlying our goals for human public health. While we understand the moral basis for the  provision of  available technology for prevention, cure and care  for individual  human beings we simply take for granted that we should intervene with whatever available technology is at hand to alter the pattern of morbidity and mortality that we are capable of affecting. 

We accept and understand that there are differing goals for the veterinarian who cares for our pet dog and the veterinarian who promotes the health and brief survival of the flocks of chickens that we breed and eat. Veterinarian public health is not primarily an end in itself but on the contrary serves some human purpose. There is not a similar clarity of understanding of the ultimate values and underlying our goals for human public health. While we understand the moral basis for the provision of available technology for prevention, cure and care for individual human beings we simply take for granted that we should intervene with whatever available technology is at hand to alter the pattern of morbidity and mortality that we are capable of affecting. But certain questions should be asked:

· From the point of view of a functional, sustainable and resilient society, what suite of morbidities and mortalities, what demographic size, and composition as to age and gender are to be preferred and why?

· Were the technologies that are available to us developed only for the common good or because they are profitable?

· If the goals of individual patients are satisfied does this always serve the common good?

After a presentation by Dr. Neutra discussing questions such as these, and describing how philosophers have discussed the prioritization of health sector interventions, he will conduct a facilitated small group and plenary discussion with the goal of raising to consciousness, in the attendees, their political and moral assumptions about the societal goals of individual medical and public health interventions.

Raymond Richard Neutra grew up in a family of architects interested in environmental health and acquired a medical degree from McGill University in Montreal and a masters and doctorate in epidemiology at Harvard. He worked on the Navajo Indian Reservation, and taught and did research in Cali Colombia, Harvard, UCLA and UC Berkeley and headed research and policy support at the California Department of Public Health for nearly thirty years. He co-authored a book on quantitative decision analysis in medicine and is widely published in environmental epidemiology. He was founding president of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology where he continues to serve on the ethics and policy committees. 

5a. A Socratic Interchange on the Goals of the Health Sector

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