12 Oct Define leadership, in your own words, and then discuss why it is critical for responding to disease crises. 2) Elaborate on one infectious disease, except for Covid-19, that devasted
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Discussion Questions: 1) Define leadership, in your own words, and then discuss why it is critical for responding to disease crises.
2) Elaborate on one infectious disease, except for Covid-19, that devasted our nation (from colonial America to the present) by briefly describing what it was, how it was treated (if at all), and the impact it had on our country – do not discuss political leaders.
3) Explain a deliberate use of an infectious disease used by Americans/American troops for political or military gain, or against Americans/American troops, and the impact it had on those who used it and those who were the victims.
4) Discuss one different infectious disease crisis, except Covid-19, and how political leaders of the time were either viewed as successful or failures in their handling of the crisis – do not focus on the disease itself.
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1 The Dynamics of Leadership During a Disease Crises
In times of crisis, leadership is not a popularity contest; leaders have the knowledge, skills, and ability to deal with situations and guide people, teams, and groups toward a successful outcome. Several types of leaders are needed to lead specific aspects of a disease crisis. Leadership specific to dealing with a disease crisis is unique because there is not just one leader dealing with the situation; multiple leaders provide information, insight, guidance, and direction. For example, some specialists have studied or worked with specific organisms or smaller disease outbreaks and are considered leaders in their field. There are institutions whose leadership was hired and in the position because of overall business knowledge, and then there are political leaders who were voted into office by the majority of citizens in their jurisdiction. In each of these examples, it is expected that designated leaders know about the disease or pathogen they are addressing, institutional leaders know and understand their role and authority, and political leaders can understand the complex and complicated aspects of the entire situation, seek solutions, and can develop, share, and execute plans, to address known issues and be nimble enough to deal with the unexpected, all the while assuring the public is informed and understand that everything is under control and that everything will be fine.
H1N1, the Pandemic of 2009
The 2009 pandemic was caused by H1N1, commonly referred to as swine flu, which infected millions of people worldwide. Swine flu is usually an issue for pigs and sometimes for people working around these animals. However, in 2009, the swine flu mutated and was transmitted to humans. (See Key Facts about Human Infections with Variant Viruses | CDC) One of the reasons H1N1 is referred to as swine flu is because of the number of genes from the swine that were identified in the virus (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). The treatment included getting a flu vaccine, staying hydrated, and resting. Preventative means were to wash your hands, stay home if the person had symptoms, and rest. (Cleveland Clinic, n.d.).
The U.S. Government's Political Mistreat
Even today, America's most awful use of disease and testing was the Public Health Service Untreated Syphilis Study at Tuskegee (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023). This experiment started in the early 1930s and lasted until the mid-1970s (VONDERLEHR, 1936). The tragic part of this experiment was that it was supervised and funded by the U.S. government under the guidance of the U.S. Public Health Service. There was no attempt to cure the people being tested, but only to learn and understand the long-term effects of syphilis had on individuals (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). Though a treatment for the disease, penicillin, was found and used starting in 1940, it was not used on the people being studied at Tuskegee (Gaynes, 2017). It was not until the 1970s that the experiment was brought to light and ceased. President Clinton apologized on behalf of the federal government to normalize and build trust in the federal government's public health care system. Still today, there is mistrust in aspects of the federal government’s ability to treat everyone in America’s healthcare system fairly (Carmack et al., 2008).
Political leaders, successful or failures dealing with an infectious disease crisis
Ebola disease was first identified in 1976 and was thought to be a single one-off occurrence. There has yet to be a single political leader to address this disease; various organizations have taken the lead, such as the World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023b). Over the decades, the outbreaks of Ebola have continued, all occurring in Africa. The FDA has an approved vaccine for one of the four variants of Ebola.
The World Health Organization and the United States have recently done an excellent job of testing and supporting the countries dealing with the various outbreaks of Ebola. However, because the disease does not affect more significant swaths of the region or global population, there has yet to be a concerted effort to eradicate the disease. Various organizations have led efforts to identify treatments for Ebola to improve the individual's ability to survive the disease; however, the treatment must be administered at the earliest onset of symptoms (World Health Organization, 2023).
2 Hello to all, leadership to me is being able to properly make decisive commands and decisions that others might not. A good leader leads by example and nor by fear, they inspire guide a group of individuals towards a common goal or vision. It involves making decisions, providing direction, and motivating others to achieve desired outcomes. In the context of responding to disease crises, leadership becomes critical for several reasons. Leaders play a vital role in instilling trust and confidence in the response efforts. By providing accurate information, being transparent about challenges, and displaying empathy towards those affected, leaders can promote cooperation and adherence to recommended protocols.
One infectious disease that severely impacted the United States throughout its history is the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. This deadly influenza strain infected approximately one-third of the world's population and claimed an estimated 675,000 lives in the US alone.The treatment of Spanish influenza was a challenge at the time due to limited medical knowledge and resources. Hospitals were overwhelmed, and there was a shortage of medical personnel and proper equipment. Treatments focused on supportive care, such as bed rest, nourishment, and symptom relief, as antibiotics were not available.The impact on the country was devastating. The pandemic caused widespread social disruption, affecting daily life, commerce, and even national security. Public health measures such as quarantine, isolation, and mask-wearing were implemented, but their effectiveness varied across different communities. The economic consequences were significant, with businesses closing, industries disrupted, and labor shortages due to illness and death.
One infectious disease used by Americans on Americans is the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. Although not an infectious disease itself, it involved the unethical withholding of treatment for syphilis, thereby allowing the disease to harm African American individuals involved in the study.From 1932 to 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service conducted a study in Tuskegee, Alabama, where African American men with syphilis were recruited to study the progression of the disease. However, the men were misinformed about the experiment and were denied effective treatment even after it became available. This unethical study had severe consequences for the victims, leading to unnecessary suffering, complications, and, in some cases, death.The Tuskegee study resulted in lasting distrust among African Americans towards the medical establishment. It highlighted the need for ethical research practices, respect for individual rights, and the importance of informed consent.
A infectious disease crisis other covid that had an effect on politics is the influenza pandemic of 1957, known as the Asian flu, serves as an example of a different infectious disease crisis and the role of political leadership. This pandemic was caused by an H2N2 strain of the influenza virus and resulted in approximately 1.1 million deaths worldwide, with around 116,000 deaths in the United States alone.During this crisis, political leaders faced the challenge of balancing public health measures with minimizing economic disruption. Leadership responses varied, with some leaders being perceived as successful and others as failures.For example, the leadership of Dr. Thomas Parran, the U.S. Surgeon General at the time, was widely regarded as successful. He oversaw a vigorous immunization campaign and encouraged local public health departments to be proactive in their response. This approach helped in mitigating the impact of the pandemic and minimizing mortality rates in certain areas.On the other hand, there were instances where political leaders failed to effectively respond to the crisis. Some leaders downplayed the severity of the outbreak, delayed or lacked proper public health interventions, or faced challenges due to limited healthcare infrastructure and resources.
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