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Coliseum Debate – National Debate: Public Health, Science, and Public Trust
04/21/2022 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT
Whom can you trust? What about when it’s your health and possibly your life in the balance? Who decides and how do they make those decisions?
For the past two years we have been in the grip of a pandemic that has changed our lives in many ways. Far-reaching decisions have been made by public health agencies, governments at all levels, businesses and ordinary citizens, based on shifting seas of information and fears, both rational and irrational.
Even prior to the pandemic, public trust in science showed some strains. The urgency of the pandemic and the level of political polarization in our country have led to an increasing politicization of science. This has been compounded by a 24-hour news and social media cycle that allows little to no time for review of and reflection on scientific research findings. And the findings, as always, evolve and change as more information becomes available. The information is complex and often very difficult to understand, much less evaluate.
Some believe that ordinary citizens can not assess this information accurately enough to make decisions about public health issues and are willing to trust the experts. Others believe that experts alone are not deserving of the public’s trust, that experts are often dismissive of citizens’ rights, and that citizens should have a critical role in shaping public health decisions.
Can we find a way to rebuild trust between citizens and public health leaders? Join us on Thurs Apr 21 @ 8pm EST to debate the issue and look for ways to do better in the future. Resolved: Public health decisions should be made by experts, not by ordinary citizens.
** This event is open to the media upon approval. Media contact: Ciaran O’Connor, firstname.lastname@example.org