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2007 Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Lecture
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Alexander Capron: "Ethical Challenges in Preparing for a Pandemic"

Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 12:30 PM, Law School Auditorium

World Health Organization Director to talk about Preparing for a Pandemic.

Alexander Capron, the first Director of Ethics, Trade, Human Rights and Health Law at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva will be the featured speaker at the USC Law School's annual Johnson & Johnson Lecture on February 28. His topic is Ethical Challenges in Preparing for a Pandemic.

Preparedness is critical. How prepared are we if the unthinkable were to occur?

Public health authorities are particularly concerned about the H5N1 avian "bird flu" virus that could mutate into a new strain of flu against which humans would have no immunity.

If a severe pandemic were to hit the U.S., life as we know it could be seriously disrupted. Businesses and schools might have to shut down. Travel could be restricted. Essential government services - including sanitation, water, power, and social services - could be interrupted. The food supply could be affected. If the U.S. is to meet this threat, every segment of our society must be informed and prepared.

Alexander Capron will be addressing the global concerns and ethical challenges the world will face in the event of a pandemic. As policies are developed by the World Health Organization for communities, states, and nations to assist them in preparing for and coping with an avian flu or other infectious pandemic, many important questions need to be answered:

How do you control the behavior of the stricken as well as the healthy?
Who gets treatment when supplies are scarce?
Who is responsible for distributing supplies and treating the sick?
The questions are global and the time for answers is now.

The lecture is hosted by the USC School of Law and is open to the public and media. Alexander Capron will be available for interviews.

Alexander Capron

Alexander Capron joined WHO in 2002 to launch the Ethics and Health Initiative in the Director's General Office. He previously taught law, medicine, and ethics at Georgetown, Pennsylvania, Yale and most recently at the University of Southern California where he was University Professor, Henry W. Bruce Professor of Equity, Professor of Law and Medicine, and Co-Director of the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics. From September 1979 to March 1983 he served as the Executive Director of the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research.

Mr. Capron, who earned his LL.B. at Yale University and B.A. (High Honors) from Swarthmore College, specializes in health policy and medical ethics. He has written or edited eight books, including Law, Science and Medicine and the Treatise on Health Care Law. His recent articles and chapters treat such issues as brain-based determinations of death, current controversies in human gene therapy, genome mapping, and human cloning, and research with human beings.