• Introduce and simulate different methods of engagement exercises
The workshop examined theories and practices of public engagement, explored challenges and lessons learned, and included sample public engagement exercises. The workshop was organized in two parts. First, invited panelists provided background on crisis standards of care (CSC) and public engagement and discussed specific examples of recent public engagement exercises and lessons learned in their communities. In the second part, attendees participated in two simulated, interactive public engagement exercises using two different methods. These abbreviated exercises were intended to give attendees a better sense of the engagement process and a sampling of tools available to them for working with their own communities.
Public engagement is a useful approach for obtaining public input about pending policy decisions that require difficult choices among competing values (IOM, 2012a). Although average citizens may lack the expertise to comment on technical issues (e.g., the use of Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores to allocate ventilators), they are very capable of deliberating on the values underlying public policy decisions (e.g., whether to withhold or withdraw life-preserving care, such as ventilators, in crisis situations where resources become scarce). Some of the benefits of public engagement are that it can help inform members of the community, include their input in disaster planning to increase legitimacy and acceptance, and reveal public misunderstandings, biases, and areas of deep disagreement. Policy makers can then work to address these matters during the development of disaster plans and during the plan dissemination phase by having community members at the table in the beginning stages of the process.
The report that follows summarizes the presentations by the expert panelists and the open panel discussions that took place during the workshop. Beginning by framing and defining public engagement outreach during the planning stages, it moves to describing the specific case studies speakers presented during the workshop. These include Seattle and King County, Washington; Harris County, Texas; the State of Michigan; and an example from the IOM and the Centers for Disease