Annals of Health Law
stakeholder interfacing into the planning, decision-making, and policy-making processes arguably yields more robust plans, policies, and laws that
are responsive to all aspects of public welfare.
Multi-stakeholder interfacing can be strengthened if supported by public
policies with enforcing legal structures. Legislative acts or executive
regulations similar to those from Boston and other Massachusetts
localities116 would give administrative policy practices such as those from
Maryland117 greater legitimacy as a democratic means to ensure that public
welfare is protected through the regulation of DURC and other risky
biomedical research occurring in communities. The legal structure
provided by such acts and regulations also gives potency to such policy
practices by effectively operationalizing the philosophical principles of
public participation in ways that can be observed, evaluated, and modified
(through subsequent legislative or regulatory amendments) if needed. In
this way, legal tools can be used innovatively to harness a fundamental
principle of democracy into an often under-utilized (if not entirely new)
public policy strategy to address a modern (and relatively new) public
health and safety issue of significant concern to communities throughout
the United States and the world.
With the continuing societal burdens posed by infectious diseases and the
continuing threat of bioterrorism around the world, scientists have a
compelling motive to continue investigating highly pathogenic diseases in
the laboratory. However, scientists conducting such research need to better
understand the implications of their research on members of the public,
especially those living in the communities in which they work, as well as
the legitimate interests of government officials to protect and promote
public health and safety. Greater interfacing between scientists,
government officials, and the lay public during planning, decision-making,
and policy-making processes in areas of common concern can yield plans,
policies, and laws that better protect all aspects of the public’s welfare.
Community-based participatory planning, decision-making, and policy-
making can serve as a mediator between the interests of scientific
advancement and public welfare, and laws and policies that facilitate such
multi-stakeholder interfacing can facilitate the alignment of these interests.
While such an environment can be difficult to establish, its value can be
measured with each safely-developed medical countermeasure that prevents
See Part V( D)(2)(b), supra.
See Part V( D)(2)(a), supra.