Who's in Charge?
Leadership during Epidemics, Bioterror Attacks, and Other Public Health Crises
by Laura H. Kahn
September 2009, 236pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-99485-3
$55, £41, 48€, A75
eBook Available: 978-1-56720-760-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In April 2009, a swine flu outbreak crippled Mexico City. Cases were soon confirmed in a number of countries and across the United States, most dramatically in a Queens, New York, high school. In an effort led by its top public health official and the Homeland Security Secretary, the United States declared an emergency and begin a widescale effort to contain the disease.

A detailed exploration of leadership problems that can develop during public health crises such as the anthrax attacks, SARS, and Mad Cow disease.

An imminent threat to the public health, such as the swine flu outbreak, is no time for a muddled chain of command and contradictory decision making. Who’s In Charge? Leadership during Epidemics, Bioterror Attacks, and Other Public Health Crises explores the crucial relationships between political leaders, public health officials, journalists, and others to see why leadership confusion develops.

Who’s In Charge? begins by looking at the overarching issues of leadership, public health administration, and the threats of bioterrorism. It then examines five recent emergencies—the 2001 anthrax attacks and 1993 cryptosporidium outbreak in the United States, the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto, the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease crisis, and the decade-long battle against Mad Cow Disease in the U.K. A perfect text for schools in public health, or as a reference for elected officials at every level of government, the book shows how each event developed step-by-step to pinpoint specific leadership issues. Engaging and absorbing, the work presents official reports, medical literature, first-person accounts from officials and journalists, and discussions of the role of law enforcement and the military during health care emergencies.

Features

  • First-person accounts from leaders involved in the actual crises, as well as leading experts, scientists, and others
  • Primary documents including excerpts from official reports and the medical literature
  • Chronologies of five recent public health emergencies
  • A comprehensive index organized by disease and by individuals involved in emergency response
Laura H. Kahn is a physician and research scholar in the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. Dr. Kahn writes monthly online columns on medicine, public health, and biosecurity issues for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (http://www.thebulletin.org).

Reviews

"A perfect text for schools in public health, or as a reference for elected officials at every level of government, the book shows how each event developed step-by-step to pinpoint specific leadership issues. Engaging and absorbing, the work presents official reports, medical literature, first-person accounts from officials and journalists, and discussions of the role of law enforcement and the military during health care emergencies."—Veterinaria Italiana, September 1, 2009

"The book can be used as a supplemental text for courses in public health, or as a reference for elected officials at every level."—SciTech Book News, December 1, 2009

"Kahn’s examples of the generalities between the political and bureaucratic gravity fields in government is expanded in the first few chapters into an excellent framework of historical facts and lessons learned. . . . If you want to better understand the 'how' and 'why' behind the United States’ health care responses to H1N1 Influenza Outbreak and the Haitian earthquake disaster, read this book!"—Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, January 1, 2010

"This well-written, thoroughly researched, and authoritative book will interest public health and medical professionals and public policy students, along with the general public. Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."—Choice, April 1, 2010

"Who’s in Charge? is written in an easy, informal style that can be understood by readers with minimal knowledge about medicine and public health....the content is strong, and the result is a useful, thought-provoking book and valuable resource for public officials. The volume also raises a number of important policy issues that warrant attention and action—or at least serious reflection—by those likely to be in charge the next time disaster comes calling."—Health Affairs, September 1, 2010

"Who's in Charge? Leadership During Epidemics, Bioterror Attacks, and Other Public Health Crises is a well researched and easily readable book that offers valuable insight into many leadership challenges that politicians, health authorities, and medical scientists faced when dealing with some large and widely publicized health crises. ... This text is a valuable contribution."—JAVMA, March 15, 2010

"Remarkably well-crafted and eminently readable, Who’s in Charge offers insight into the challenges to leadership posed by the turmoil and confusion of six different major disease outbreaks—from anthrax to 'mad cow disease'. Laura Kahn skillfully and vividly weaves together first person accounts of key political and professional leaders in four different countries that serve to elucidate critical elements of success and failure under unexpected and potentially disastrous scenarios. Not only is it an all-absorbing, well-referenced book but the subject matter is of sufficient importance that this should be the basic text for a core course in every school of public health and a reference for seminars for chief executives at federal, state and community levels."—D. A. Henderson, Professor of Medicine and Public Health
Center for Biosecurity, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Author of Smallpox—the Death of a Disease: The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer


"In this highly intelligent book, Laura Kahn nails the most important factor in any public health crisis, and that’s leadership. What is leadership?--how does it work effectively?--how does it fail? Public health crises unfold at many levels simultaneously--medical, political, legal, economic, social, and can involve terrorism and national security. Such crises require leaders who can see the big picture and can manage across boundaries. Kahn comes up with observations on leadership that go well beyond public health, lessons that anyone in government could take to heart."—Richard Preston, author of "The Hot Zone" and "The Demon in the Freezer"

"Laura Kahn has written an extensive history of epidemics, pandemics and germ warfare. Have we learned the right lessons? Are we ready? Do we have trained leadership in place? This is a book that should be read by all government decision makers and concerned members of the public."—Former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, Chair of the 9/11 Commission

Praeger Security International

International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.

Covering global hot spots from Iran to Venezuela and subjects ranging from terrorism and cyber warfare to food security, books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, academic researchers, journalists, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth analysis and international perspectives that are unavailable in the mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students, researchers, and policymakers as well as for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.

Features

• Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals • Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
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