Nebraska Hosts National Summit on Pandemic Preparedness

Nebraska Hosts National Summit on Pandemic Preparedness

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Participants from the nation’s state courts attended a Summit on Pandemic Preparedness at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) May 22 – 24, 2019. The summit, hosted by Nebraska Chief Justice Michael Heavican, brought together state court chief justices and other court leaders, health officials, and members of the legislative and executive branches to discuss ways in which a pandemic outbreak will be addressed by the court system and other entities when the need arises

Topics for the one-and-a-half day summit focused on legal issues that can emerge from a pandemic, such as quarantines.

Small discussion groups were lead through tabletop exercises designed to explore the potentially problematic aspects of isolation and quarantine law following presentations by the Center for Disease Control, medical researchers, and legal experts. Tours of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, National Quarantine Center, iExcel VizHub, and the Chihuly Sanctuary were included.

The goal of the summit is to ensure all government agencies work together to effectively meet the needs of the public during a public health crisis. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is providing staff support. The State Justice Institute (SJI) is providing funding.



Photo: Panel speakers for the Overview of Legal Issues Surrounding Quarantine & Isolation (speaking) Hon. Charles LaVerdiere, Chief Judge, Maine District Courts (ret.); Matthew Penn, CDC, Office of the General Counsel; Hon. Leigh Ann Retelsdorf, Nebraska District Court, 4th Judicial District; Taylor Wilson, Nebraska Medicine Media Relations. Judge LaVerdiere discusses the case of Kaci Hickox, the nurse who fought her Ebola quarantine: