Expert Insights on COVID-19

How are decisions such as who receives COVID-19 vaccines? What is the process for approving and accessing drugs to treat COVID-19? Come to Ethics, Policy, and COVID-19 to find answers and insights from the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy. 

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Current Content

Opinion: Age-based vaccine distribution by Emily A. Largent, JD, PhD, RN; Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD; and Govind Persad, JD, PhD 

Equity and other risk factors, rather than just age, should be considered in vaccine distribution policy, recommends this Washington Post op-ed. 

Disadvantage Indices and Equitable Vaccine Allocation by Harald Schmidt, PhD 

Disadvantage indices, Harald Schmidt explains, bring data to decisions about vaccine allocation and can help address both public health and social justice needs.  

Strategies for National COVID-19 Vaccine Promotion by Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD; George Loewenstein, PhD; Alison M. Buttenheim, PhD, MBA

This JAMA Network viewpoint recommends approaches to promoting COVID-19 vaccine uptake and explores implementation issues.

COVID-19: Transmissions, Risks, and Reopenings by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD

Zeke Emanuel explains how COVID-19 spreads, ways to reduce risk, and safe practices for reopening schools and businesses.

Ethics, COVID-19, and Caring for Children: A Panel Discussion moderated by Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBe

Ethicists and pediatricians from Penn and CHOP reflect on the impact COVID-19 has had on pediatric care and research, in this panel moderated by Holly Fernandez Lynch. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Emergency Use Authorization with Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBe 

Ethicist Holly Fernandez Lynch discusses the regulatory issues of authorizing COVID-19 vaccines for use in this Penn Today article. 

Leadership in a Time of Uncertainty and Change with Michael Useem, PhD, and Atul Kalanuria, MD, FACP, MHCI 

Wharton’s Mike Useem draws on research to discuss the impact of decisions made by leaders during times of uncertainty and change, in this interview with MHCI alumnus Atul Kalanuria.

Narrative in an Epidemic by Lance Wahlert, PhD

Lance Wahlert—a scholar and faculty member in both bioethics and English—explores how to use poetry as a resource during COVID-19. 

Disability, Rationing, and COVID-19 by Emily Largent, JD, PhD, RN

About 1 in 4 American adults lives with some type of disability. How might their conditions influence decisions about COVID-19 care when ventilators, for example, are in great demand and short supply? Emily Largent draws on her background in ethics, nursing, and law to examine the issue and provide insights.  


Additional Content

Ethics and COVID-19 by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD

COVID-19: A Primary Care Perspective with Aimee Ando, DO, MHCI and Jennifer S. Myers, MD

Controlling COVID-19 with Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD; Alison M. Buttenheim, PhD, MBA; Vivian Lee, MD, PhD, MBA; Christina Roberto, PhD; and Mark Smith, MD, MBA

Optimizing and Implementing Contact Tracing through Behavioral Economics by Rinad S. Beidas, PhD; Alison M. Buttenheim, PhD, MBA; Rachel Feuerstein-Simon, MPH, MPA; Austin S. Kilaru, MD; David A. Asch, MD, MBA; Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD; Hannah G. Lawman, PhD; and Carolyn C. Cannuscio, ScD

Reimbursing Hospitals for COVID-19 Readiness by Christian Terwiesch, PhD; Kevin B. Mahoney; and Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD 

Queering the Quarantine by Lance Wahlert, PhD

Community Health Workers: Social First Responders  

The Struggle of Dementia Patients and Caregivers by Sara Manning Peskin, MD: Allison K. Hoffman, JD; and Jason Karlawish, MD

Research in Emergency Settings by Jill M. Baren, MD, MBE, FACEP, FAAP

Population Health and the Economy by Atheendar Venkataramani, MD, PhD, and Rachel Werner, MD, PhD

Behavioral Science Tips on Distancing by Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD, and Alison M. Buttenheim, PhD, MBA

Implications of COVID-19 for the Field of Bioethics by Jonathan D. Moreno, PhD

COVID-19: FDA Drug Regulation by Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBe 


Other Relevant Resources

Free online continuing education courses:
Ethics and Trial Design, from Penn MEHP Online
Telemedicine and Telehealth, from Penn’s School of Nursing


Send your questions and comments to us at MEHP Online Content.