Just allocation of resources for control of infectious diseases can be profoundly influenced by the dynamics of those diseases. In this paper we discuss the use of antiviral drugs for treatment of pandemic influenza. While the primary effect of such drugs is to alleviate and shorten the duration of symptoms for treated individuals, they can have a secondary effect of reducing transmission in the community. However, existing stockpiles may be insufficient for all clinical cases. Here we use simple mathematical models (...) to present scenarios where the optimum policies to minimise morbidity and mortality, with a limited drug stockpile, are not always the most intuitively obvious and may conflict with theories of justice. We discuss ethical implications of these findings. (shrink)
This research explored how engineering student views of their responsibility toward helping individuals and society through their profession, so-called social responsibility, change over time. A survey instrument was administered to students initially primarily in their first year, senior year, or graduate studies majoring in mechanical, civil, or environmental engineering at five institutions in September 2012, April 2013, and March 2014. The majority of the students did not change significantly in their social responsibility attitudes, but 23 % decreased and 20 % (...) increased. The students who increased, decreased, or remained the same in their social responsibility attitudes over time did not differ significantly in terms of gender, academic rank, or major. Some differences were found between institutions. Students who decreased in social responsibility initially possessed more positive social responsibility attitudes, were less likely to indicate that college courses impacted their views of social responsibility, and were more likely to have decreased in the frequency that they participated in volunteer activities, compared to students who did not change or increased their social responsibility. Although the large percentage of engineering students who decreased their social responsibility during college was disappointing, it is encouraging that courses and participation in volunteer activities may combat this trend. (shrink)
Individuals of lower socioeconomic status display increased attentiveness to others and greater prosocial behavior compared to individuals of higher SES. We situate these effects within Pepper & Nettle's contextually appropriate response framework of SES. We argue that increased prosocial behavior is a contextually adaptive response for lower-SES individuals that serves to increase control over their more threatening social environments.
Engineers should learn how to act on their responsibility to society during their education. At present, however, it is unknown what students think about the meaning of socially responsible engineering. This paper synthesizes 4 years of longitudinal interviews with engineering students as they progressed through college. The interviews revolved broadly around how students saw the connections between engineering and social responsibility, and what influenced these ideas. Using the Weidman Input–Environment–Output model as a framework, this research found that influences included required (...) classes such as engineering ethics, capstone design, and some technical courses, pre-college volunteering and familial values, co-curricular groups such as Engineers Without Borders and the Society of Women Engineers, as well as professional experiences through internships. Further, some experiences such as technical courses and engineering internships contributed to confine students’ understanding of an engineer’s social responsibility. Overall, students who stayed in engineering tended to converge on basic responsibilities such as safety and bettering society as a whole, but tended to become less concerned with improving the lives of the marginalized and disadvantaged. Company loyalty also became important for some students. These results have valuable, transferable contributions, providing guidance to foster students’ ideas on socially responsible engineering. (shrink)