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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


PELLEGRINI FILHO, Alberto  and  ZURITA, Laura. Preliminary evaluation of Chile's First Citizen Consensus Conference. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2004, vol.15, n.5, pp.351-357. ISSN 1680-5348.

This piece provides an initial assessment of the First Citizen Consensus Conference, an event held in the city of Santiago, Chile, from 22­24 November 2003, on the subject of "The Management of My Medical Record." This conference was the first citizen consensus conference that has been held in Chile as well as the first such conference in Latin America. Consensus conferences were devised by the Danish Board of Technology in 1987 as a way to assess science and technology issues through discussions between experts and a panel of lay persons. At the end of a consensus conference, the lay persons express their opinions and recommendations in a consensus report that is directed at policymakers, decisionmakers, and the public in general. The objective of a consensus conference is to bridge the gaps that routinely exist among the general public, experts, and elected officials. So far, the Danish Board of Technology has organized more than 20 of these conferences, using a methodology that has become established as a model. Taking into account the changes that have occurred in the relationship between science and society at large, the Pan American Health Organization has decided to support the holding of consensus conferences in Latin America and the Caribbean. The First Citizen Consensus Conference adapted the Danish methodology to conditions in Chile, and this piece assesses the modifications that were made. In addition, some 6 to 12 months after the conference, there will be an external evaluation of the outcomes and impact of the conference, especially in the communications media, public debate, decision-making, and perceptions of the persons who were involved. Despite the criticisms made in this piece and some shortcomings that are pointed out, the First Citizen Consensus Conference achieved all of its objectives and will serve as an excellent model for similar conferences in other countries of the Americas.

Keywords : participación comunitaria; reuniones de consenso; Chile.

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