Public Health Ethics: Global Cases, Practice, and Context
Pub Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-3-3192384-7-0
Conditions of Use
The text is extremely comprehensive covering pertinent issues both in the US and around the Globe read more
The text is extremely comprehensive covering pertinent issues both in the US and around the Globe
The book provides multiple viewpoints and discussion effectively and thoroughly.
The content is up-to-date providing both an historical and current perspective. As topics are presented and discussed by multiple authors spanning the globe, the ability to update the material would be fairly simple to update without necessarily rewriting the entire tome.
The material provided was challenging to read - requiring the readers full attention. That being said, this is an asset as there is much to consider in this relatively new area. Additionally, while there were multiple contributors, the style of writing and reinforcement of key points was evident throughout the book.
As noted previously the book was consistent in defining ideas and terms - this was especially noteworthy given multiple contributors. In areas where authors might have differing perspectives or lens discussion was respectful and built on the works of other authors.
The text is well organized by topic (i.e. chronic disease prevention and promotion, resource allocation, etc.) and each topic area could be explored as a "stand alone". This also allows for flexibility in how sections are assigned and discussed.
As noted above, while sections of this book could be used as a "stand alone" piece, the book is logical and clearly discusses the topic in a thorough manner. Additionally, discussion topics/questions are also provided at the end of each section sin a consistent and straightforward manner.
There are many challenges with the interface in the book. Very specifically, the book consistently has excessive spacing between words, drops the last letter of one word and leaves it as a stand alone or adds it to the next word. While one can still understand what is said this is extremely distracting as one can find at 4 to 5 such errors on almost every page of the text. In this same manner comma's appear with extra spaces in between.
Although this is an extensive volume (>550 pages) grammatical errors did not appear to present or were so minimal they were not notices.
This book lived up to the title of looking at public health ethics from a global perspective. As previously discussed, authorship of the various topics varied and the writers were from around the globe. Additionally, many authors also presented the information from the perspective of his/her home country but often compared and contrasted this perspective with those of other countries and communities.
As mentioned in the introduction (and, of course, the title), the text's focus on cases. Thus, it is sometimes a little lacking in detailing a read more
As mentioned in the introduction (and, of course, the title), the text's focus on cases. Thus, it is sometimes a little lacking in detailing a theoretical approach to ethics (despite a well-written first chapter and introductory blocks in most other chapters). The text may be more appropriate for advanced students who already have conceptual foundations, or as a compliment to another book. The text, again by definition, does not delve into all issues in bioethics, but instead focuses on public health. The cases vary in theme and location, whether the reader is the "main subject" or simply observing the scenario unfold. Each case provides discussion questions and appropriate references. The index at the end of the text is effective. A lot of important concepts are covered, but I would have liked to see specific mention of Ms. Henrietta Lacks, if not in Chapter 1, then Chapter 7 or 9.
The text seems to try very hard to present ethical issues without bias (e.g., section 4-9). Since several cases are hypothetical (though based on reality), the details provided do appear accurate. No errors were noted in ethical principles or scientific information.
Both historical and contemporary cases are presented. Section 3-10 even makes mention of SOFA scores, which in and of themselves are currently a hotbed of debate among the medical community. Section 7-12 talks about refugees; section 8-6 talks about prophylactic drugs for HIV. Future editions of the text should not have significant problems eliminating dated content and/or adding newer issues.
The text provides appropriate context and definitions, but sometimes can read a little dry. Chapter 5 in particular does a good job of using illustrations or other call-out boxes to define terms and concepts.
Readability is preserved across chapters and authors.
Being theme- and case-based, the text could easily be broken down into reading assignments. Three or more cases are offered in each thematic block (except for the introductory chapter), allowing some flexibility with how concepts may be illustrated. With the appropriate background for each case being offered (e.g., defining what Anthrax is in the first place in section 4-14), sections should be able to stand on their own.
Given the modularity of the text, the chapters don't necessarily flow into one another. The themes are printed in a reasonable order, though, and within each chapter, the concepts are presented logically.
The text comes in PDF and EPUB formats. I noticed one innocuous spacing error in a title header in the EPUB version (it was not affected in the PDF), but have otherwise found no distortions or navigation issues. The formatting across pages is clean and crisp, without "stray" ideas or lines bleeding onto the next page.
The text is free of notable errors in grammar or spelling.
Cases are drawn from South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and even Oceania. Sometimes cases are purely hypothetical, without mention to a specific geographic area. A variety of authors are called upon, providing nuances in perspective and style. The text should be appropriate for any English-speaking reader the world over.
Nice text to complement a healthcare ethics or bioethics course. Recommended.
Table of Contents
Section I Introduction to Public Health Ethics
- 1 Public Health Ethics: Global Cases, Practice, and Context
- 2 Essential Cases in the Development of Public Health Ethics
Section II Topics in Public Health Ethics
- 3 Resource Allocation and Priority Setting
- 4 Disease Prevention and Control
- 5 Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
- 6 Environmental and Occupational Public Health
- 7 Vulnerability and Marginalized Populations
- 8 International Collaboration for Global Public Health
- 9 Public Health Research
About the Book
Introducing public health ethics poses two special challenges. First, it is a relatively new field that combines public health and practical ethics. Its unfamiliarity requires considerable explanation, yet its scope and emergent qualities make delineation difficult. Moreover, while the early development of public health ethics occurred in a western context, its reach, like public health itself, has become global. A second challenge, then, is to articulate an approach specific enough to provide clear guidance yet sufficiently flexible and encompassing to adapt to global contexts. Broadly speaking, public health ethics helps guide practical decisions affecting population or community health based on scientific evidence and in accordance with accepted values and standards of right and wrong. In these ways, public health ethics builds on its parent disciplines of public health and ethics. This dual inheritance plays out in the definition the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers of public health ethics: “A systematic process to clarify, prioritize, and justify possible courses of public health action based on ethical principles, values and beliefs of stakeholders, and scientific and other information” (CDC 2011). Public health ethics shares with other fields of practical and professional ethics both the general theories of ethics and a common store of ethical principles, values, and beliefs. It differs from these other fields largely in the nature of challenges that public health officials typically encounter and in the ethical frameworks it employs to address these challenges. Frameworks provide methodical approaches or procedures that tailor general ethical theories, principles, values, and beliefs to the specific ethical challenges that arise in a particular field. Although no framework is definitive, many are useful, and some are especially effective in particular contexts. This chapter will conclude by setting forth a straightforward, stepwise ethics framework that provides a tool for analyzing the cases in this volume and, more importantly, one that public health practitioners have found useful in a range of contexts. For a public health practitioner, knowing how to employ an ethics framework to address a range of ethical challenges in public health—a know-how that depends on practice—is the ultimate take-home message.
About the Contributors
Drue H. Barrett Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA, USA
Angus Dawson Center for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, Sydney School of Public Health. The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Leonard W. Ortmann Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA