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November 6, 2023

Impediments and Roadblocks to Geopolitical and National Health Care Policymaking

Event Series: Global Health Security Seminars

A balance scale

This seminar investigated various impediments and actual roadblocks to the development of balanced, equitable health care policymaking. Professor Emeritus George P. Smith, II discussed broad-brush issues such as the lack of trust and cynicism by the public in governmental actions as well as their intellectual passivity and recklessness in failing to be "informed" of accurate information in order to make informed decisions; a societal disregard for judging actions measured by the effect of decision-making on the common good; and rationing of health care resources by gatekeeping such as diagnostic and prognostic algorithms as well as by triage. He also surveyed major geopolitical issues such as nation-state conduct which ignores humanism as a value in health care decision-making; jurisdictional overreach; economic underdevelopment as an excuse for not implementing health care needs and the principle of progressivity; and a search for a global health jurisprudence.

Smith concluded this seminar by contending that this is, indeed, a time of reckoning for public health care management. Failure to recognize this and to take measured steps for improvement foredooms global society to more and more public health crises, which test the very fabric of societal survival and compromise all efforts to have a dynamic concept of federalism.

This event was open to all Georgetown University faculty, students, staff, and affiliates.

This event was co-sponsored by the Center for Global Health Science and Security, the School of Health’s Department of Health Management and Policy, and the Global Health Institute.


George P. Smith, II is professor emeritus of law at the Catholic University of America. He is also a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Indiana University, Bloomington. Smith began his research into biomedical and public health issues at Georgetown University and worked with Edmund Pellegrino, Andre Hellegers, and Fr. Richard McCormick, S.J., from 1977 to 1981. Smith received a Fulbright fellowship to the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, in l984 and held subsequent teaching and research appointments over the years at the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, and Perth, as well as the University of New Zealand and Dunedin. From 1990 to 1991, Smith was a visiting scholar at the Center for Advanced Study and worked with Dr. Pellegrino again as a visiting scholar at the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University. His complete bibliography consists of 316 titles: 17 books, 11 book chapters, 152 law review articles, 25 monographs, 32 review essays, and 79 major papers given at domestic and international colloquies and conferences. Indiana University awarded Smith an LL.D. honorary degree in 1998 and the university's Bicentennial Medal in 2019 in recognition of his professional life achievements.