by Marie Fiori, CaSP Co-President
CaSP’s parent organization, the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), recently launched their 2020 Election Initiative. This initiative seeks to educate both candidates and the public about the science policy issues shaping the 2020 election. Last month, CaSP kicked off this process with a Meta-Review of strategies for combating emerging infectious diseases where we collected resources on infectious diseases for policy experts.This builds on the work we started with our panel of experts in February 2019. The Meta-Review was only Stage 1 of the NSPN’s 2020 Election Initiative. In Stage 2, a smaller group of CaSPers will work with Science Rising to craft an Op-Ed on the public to publish in a Wisconsin newspaper.
During the Meta-Review,CaSP used the US’s role in the international response to ebola and Zika viruses as case studies for how to effectively combat measles and influenza domestically. Ebola and Zika wreaked havoc on the communities that were affected by them, but these diseases were not relevant in the United States. Despite this, both epidemics dominated American news cycles. As a result, many Americans are more concerned about how ebola and Zika may affect them than they are about diseases that scientists believe pose a much larger threat to Americans, such as measles and the flu.
To understand international and domestic responses to our four diseases of interest we split into working groups. Each group focused on the policies surrounding one of the diseases. For example, what worked in the efforts to treat and prevent the spread of Zika and ebola, and what didn’t? How do these policies compare to the policies on preventing measles and the flu?Groups reported what they had learned in a shared spreadsheet.
We’re excited to keep learning about responses to emerging infectious diseases and how we can use that knowledge to help policymakers ensure the best infrastructure is in place to react to measles and the flu. Stay tuned for our Stage 2 publication in the coming months!