The IHS community is the largest and fastest-growing network of scholars, graduate students, and other intellectuals advancing the principles of a free society … in the world. And this incredibly talented network is having a profound impact not only in thousands of classrooms across the country but in research that applies classical liberal principles to the complex challenges we face.
Take IHS partner and business professor, Phillip Phan, (Johns Hopkins University). Professor Phan’s academic and professional work focuses on innovations in health care that impact patient safety and quality. He is a prolific scholar, authoring more than 200 peer-reviewed research papers and 13 scholarly books. He edits several journals, reviews for various governmental scientific grantmaking institutions, including the NIH and NSF, and serves as the director of the Networking and Mentoring Core for the Johns Hopkins Artificial Intelligence Collaboratory for Aging Research and as a Robert Bosch Policy Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, among other leadership roles.
His current research argues that open and honest debate, and the freedom of scientific expression, are essential in fostering an approach to a public health crisis that is rooted in empirical evidence and well-informed decision-making.
In an op-ed for The Hill, which Phan co-authored with Brain J. Miller in 2022, he emphasizes the need for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reform its approach.
“Unlike nearly every other federal agency, the CDC exercised regulatory power without an opportunity for public input or evaluation of the economic effects of its policy decisions,” the op-ed offers. “The CDC failed at its core mission while contributing to the pandemic’s economic hardship. Public mistrust also deepened as a consequence of constantly changing risk mitigation guidance founded on an unclear evidence base. The involvement of teachers’ unions — and not parental groups — politicized the CDC’s recommendations regarding the masking of students, and worsened public perceptions of what was once the country’s premier public health agency.”-Professor Phan, op-ed for The Hill, 2022
To help build scholarly community and momentum around this urgently needed work, IHS is partnering with Professor Phan to host a workshop that addresses the politicization of public health and identifies effective and evidenced-based strategies to combat public health crises, in ways that leverage the principles of a free society. Topics of discussion will include government suppression of scientific evidence related to vital pandemic measures (such as vaccines for children, masking, social distancing, and travel restrictions) and how censorship of speech contributes to a lack of preparedness for future health emergencies.
Additionally, Phan, Miller, and other colleagues further addressed the challenges surrounding the CDC’s top-down approach in a 2022 piece for Health Affairs, arguing that the CDC should have a “more responsive and meaningful voice while providing bandwidth to publicly exercise its statutorily endowed public health regulatory functions through rulemaking with notice and comment, building scientific consensus, and engaging stakeholders in real-time.”
This workshop will take place in the spring of 2024 and is one of dozens of programs we offer to support and connect scholars who are doing ground-breaking and impactful research around free speech-related issues. You can learn more about our Speech and Intellectual Freedom Initiative as well as other initiatives here.
For more information about how you can be a part of this work as a researcher, thought partner, or supporter, visit our programs and academic funding opportunities, or discover ways you can directly support scholars like Phillip Phan today.