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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bernard J. Turnock, MD, MPH (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Description: This book presents the findings and recommendations of a special committee of the Institute of Medicine that was convened to examine the formulation of policies to protect the blood supply from HIV during the 1980s.
Purpose: The hope was that a thorough and critical review of the policy and decision-making processes would result in recommendations that would enhance the protection of the nation's blood supply in the future.
Audience: Many health professionals involved in the blood donation and supply industry will find this book of interest, especially those concerned with the special issues involving hemophiliacs. Governmental and industry policymakers are another audience for this book. Students of public policy and public health interested in decision making amid scientific uncertainty will find this to be an excellent case study.
Features: The book appropriately uses illustrations, tables, and appendixes that are replete with original documents. The references are pertinent and timely; other features of this book are average, including appearance.
Assessment: This is a fascinating case study of how important public policy and public health decisions are made amidst scientific uncertainty and competing agendas. It unravels some of the mysteries as to how federal agencies work with and against each other. The importance of maintaining a safe blood supply and the myriad of obstacles complicating that task are also well presented. Although these lessons may not be of major interest to all audiences, many policymakers, professionals, and students will find this book of value.