Public Health Ethics: Global Cases, Practice, and Context
Drue H. Barrett, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Angus Dawson, The University of Sydney
Leonard W. Ortmann, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Copyright Year: 2016
ISBN 13: 9783319238470
Publisher: Springer, Cham
Conditions of Use
This textbook contains chapters for each public health area. Most of the areas are more-than-adequately covered, from newborn blood spots to fluoridation of drinking water and everything in between. The one exception is with the Environmental and... read more
This textbook contains chapters for each public health area. Most of the areas are more-than-adequately covered, from newborn blood spots to fluoridation of drinking water and everything in between. The one exception is with the Environmental and Occupational Public Health chapter. I think each of these topics requires its own chapter, especially in today’s political environment.
I did not read anything in which I questioned the accuracy of the narrative or data presented.
This is the first public health ethics textbook (that I know of), so its relevance is assured. The chapters contain all the relevant topics that are important in today’s public health world. In addition, case studies are currently relevant (e.g., case studies involving Syria), which is not common in textbooks. The textbook will be helpful for students as well as public health practitioners that have been practicing for many years, because public health ethics is a relatively new field by itself and this is the first public health research textbook (again, that I know of). I appreciate that the case studies do not have an ‘answer key,’ because, for the most part, these case studies have many “correct” answers. This textbook does not pick favorites and spends significant page space and case studies on all the topical areas. I really appreciate the important chapter on resource allocation. This chapter will be helpful for a broad range of public health practitioners, including practitioners at local and city health departments who are more likely to need to re-allocate resources to entirely different areas when needs arise. Only a brand-new textbook, such as this one, would be able to describe the social determinants of health and climate change as they relate to public health ethics. This book does a respectable job in both areas. I would like to see a case study involving climate change. Thankfully, social determinants are found throughout the book. I am very, very happy to see that this textbook has an entire chapter dedicated to vulnerable and marginalized populations! However, I completely disagree with the author’s assertion that the term ‘vulnerability’ is useless if a certain population is vulnerable in every public health situation. In fact, determining the vulnerable population for EVERY public health situation IS public health. Beyond the introduction, the authors write a thorough and thoughtful chapter.
In many topic areas of the textbook, a step-wise approach is presented to its reader. For example, chapter 1 presents a step-wise approach to public health decision making.
The case studies have a consistent structure throughout the textbook, which is very helpful.
The textbook is divided nicely into an introductory section and then a section with specific topic areas, such as chronic disease, environmental public health, vulnerability and marginalized populations, etc. This fits nicely into many courses that I teach, in which specific chapters can fill voids and be used for specific components of a couple of my courses.
The program in which I teach is based around practical applications of public health approaches and knowledge. This textbook fits in that mode nicely, with the use of case studies throughout the book. Students want these case studies to demonstrate the use of public health ethics in real-life scenarios. The readability of the textbook would be improved by including more figures and tables. Certain chapters are more engaging than others and figures and tables that break up the narrative text would help keep students interested and awake.
No interface issues noted.
No grammatical errors found.
The textbook has many case studies directly related to race, ethnicity, income, weight, etc. that are directly related to access to care, heath literacy, etc. Much of this book is written to make the reader consider how demographics affect public health decisions and determine if demographics should be a component of decision making and, if yes, which demographics should be considered.
I appreciate the fact that two of the authors are CDC staff. The state health departments follow CDC’s lead in the development and implementation of a public health ethics framework. I will use this book for specific modules in my environmental factors in public health course and my study design and research methods in public health practice course. I am grateful for its existence.
This textbook is quite comprehensive, as it includes overviews, case studies, and discussion questions for many common public health topics. Areas of this text could be used for environmental health discussions, social justice, disease prevention,... read more
This textbook is quite comprehensive, as it includes overviews, case studies, and discussion questions for many common public health topics. Areas of this text could be used for environmental health discussions, social justice, disease prevention, and policy discussions. As the title states, the case studies and discussion questions also use both US-based and international examples, so there is an opportunity to pull in examples from around the globe.
I did not see any inaccuracies in the text. Each chapter includes a reference list at the end, which is helpful. The contributors come from a wide-range of expertise.
The first several chapters include historical discussions on public health, as well as grounding principles such as the Public Health Essentials framework. The case studies are recent and relevant, and although there will always be emerging public health issues, the basics of the text are sound.
The wording is clear and easy to read. The chapters are also short with each case study summary at the end so I can imagine students would also find the text easy to use and apply.
Even though each chapter had different contributors, there was consistency and continuity across the text.
As mentioned earlier, this text is easy to read and includes relevant background discussion in each chapter followed by the case study and discussion questions. Each case study stands on its own, or you can pull in additional information from other chapters or resources to help contextualize the example.
The text is well-organized and easily followed. Section I includes an overview of Public Health Ethics, while Section II goes into detail about relevant topics within public health. The Table of Contents is also nicely organized and I was able to refer back to it without problems.
There are some spacing issues with the PDF copy with wording split between several pages when it could be condensed into a smaller space. Otherwise, the links are valid and no other formatting issues were noted.
I did not notice any grammatical errors.
As the title states, this text provides a global ethics perspective, so many cultures and ideas and are expressed. I found the textbook to be a refreshing example of public health from a variety of cultures, since many current public health textbooks only focus on US-based public health.
This text will be a nice complement (or replacement) for a current Intro to Public Health textbook. For those looking for a more application-based textbook, I would highly recommend.
The didactic content covers all areas of public health ethics that are new to many. The ideas in the book are relevant to the case studies and vice versa. it is well-rounded book. The course index is clear and effective. The book has no... read more
The didactic content covers all areas of public health ethics that are new to many. The ideas in the book are relevant to the case studies and vice versa. it is well-rounded book. The course index is clear and effective. The book has no glossary.
The content is accurate and error-free. it was unbiased and the content is written in a way that is inclusive for all.
The content and the cases are current and up-to-date. The information is could be used today in the current environment of public health. The book could be easily updated in the future to add other topics and make changes.
The text is clear and the content is lucid. The didactic content flows well into the cases.
From chapter one all the way to chapter nine the text is consistent. Each chapter and the cases within them go together. The book flows. The cases within the chapters perfectly fit with the main theme. They provide discussion and insight into the important topics of ethics in public health.
As soon as I opened the book, I could tell from the table of contents the book was organized and the smaller reading sections would not only help me as a professor stay on track with the content. but my students as well. The book is broken down by specific topics in a very smart and methodical way. I can easily find the cases, discussions, etc.
The topics are and subtopics are very organized. The table of contents makes it very easy to find what you are looking for.
There were no interface errors, no distractions. The book was very professional for all reading levels.
No grammar errors.
Public health focuses on achieving social goods for vulnerable populations while respecting individual rights, adding ethics to this makes it more about inclusivity, The text clearly is culturally sensitive and uses examples and discusses a variety of races, ethnicities and backgrounds.
Great book! The cases were excellent! The book is written-well and organized, great for public health programs. Definitely recommend it.
Provides a very good overview of the topics and has a decent index although there is no glossary. Only area missing that I would have liked to see is more on the politics of public health e.g. public health and the economy, healthcare, the free... read more
Provides a very good overview of the topics and has a decent index although there is no glossary. Only area missing that I would have liked to see is more on the politics of public health e.g. public health and the economy, healthcare, the free market, R & D, etc. and perhaps more case law pertaining to relevant public health issues. The wide variety of case studies were helpful. I know it was stated that no answers were provided for the case studies but it would have been nice to have some expert opinions on the case studies.
Content seems to be accurate, unbiased and error-free.
Information in the text is VERY relevant to current public health issues. These issues are long term and the case studies do a good job to introduce the topical areas and address ethical decisions and dilemmas. I would have liked to see more emphasis on mental health issues and drug abuse as well as violence and rising environmental health issues.
The test is very well written although the writing is at a fairly high reading level and the concepts are more complex. This text is probably more appropriate for graduate level work although parts of it would be appropriate for undergraduate students.
The text does have some variability in terminology and framework mostly due to each chapter being written by different author (s). The variability does not detract from the usefulness of the content or the organizations.
This text is very usable in sections and could be used as a reference for a wide variety of public health courses where ethics are peppered throughout the coursework versus having a defined ethics course.
The beginning two chapters do an excellent job of providing a strong overview of public health. I loved the section on social justice and equity although I would love to see more on the politics of public health and the section on theories of ethics was good also. It might have been good to include a couple of theories on moral development also. The overview and the case law was a great introduction and the case studies provided a broad view of ethical issues in public health.
The text has a strong and clear interface with no navigation problems, distortions or other distractions.
No grammatical errors were detected.
The text seemed to have cultural variety and competency and did not appear to have any insensitive or offensive language or topical areas. The case studies provided a broad base of cultural examples including race, ethnicity and background.
This text provides a nice overview of Public Health and the Ethics of Public Health as well as a large number of relevant case studies. It would have been nice to see more case law, information on the influence of politics on public health and case studies on environmental health, violence and more on mental health and drug abuse. Overall the text is extremely well written and very relevant for use in an ethics course or as a reference in a wide variety of other public health courses.
The book has nine chapters and covers an introduction to public health ethics in the first two chapters including a review of frameworks and providing essential cases in the development of public health ethics. Then the final seven chapters... read more
The book has nine chapters and covers an introduction to public health ethics in the first two chapters including a review of frameworks and providing essential cases in the development of public health ethics. Then the final seven chapters concentrate on topics in public health ethics including resource allocation and priority setting, disease prevention and control, chronic disease prevention and health promotion, environmental and occupational public health, vulnerability and marginalized populations, international collaboration and public health research. The index is succinct and topics are easily located within the book. There is no glossary. Cases related to genetics are not provided and this is an important area that is missing in this textbook.
Contributors are experts in the field of public health with appropriate earned degrees and a wide range of experiences. No errors or biases are identified.
Because the chapters are arranged by topics, this would allow for easy updating when changes occur in a particular subject area. One would expect there will be changes over time and will need updating but due to the nature of ethical issues, the information provided in this text would not be expected to become obsolete in a short period of time.
The book provides cases as examples to review the topics of public health ethics. This allows for greater understanding of the topics and presents the ethical dilemmas in a way that is easily understood by the reader.
The book is written with the chapters following a similar format. Background information is provided, followed by the case description and finally discussion questions. This makes the content easy to follow and allows for a better understanding of the topics.
The introduction material in the first two chapters could be covered together or separately. The topical chapters make it very easy to divide into smaller blocks of material for assignments.
The organization of the book has been noted earlier and is easy to follow. It is logical and clearly presented.
There are relatively few figures and tables presented within the book chapters. These are straightforward and do not have any display issues or distractions.
I did not find any grammatical errors within the textbook.
The book covers a wide variety of cases across the globe and material is presented in a non-judgemental way. I do not see any evidence of culturally insensitive or offensive material in the textbook.
This is a very useful textbook for studying ethics from a public health perspective. I teach in a graduate nursing program and could find this textbook very useful in our curriculum to present ethical issues.
This textbook covers many broad areas of ethical issues and dilemmas surrounding public health. While no glossary is provided, the index holds a wide selection of topics covered and where they can be found within the book. read more
This textbook covers many broad areas of ethical issues and dilemmas surrounding public health. While no glossary is provided, the index holds a wide selection of topics covered and where they can be found within the book.
The content appears to be accurate, error-free and unbiased. A disclaimer noted within the preface mentions in some of the cases that were presented, "based on actual or composite events, the case details were modified to exclude identifying information that could be considered private, sensitive,or disputable by others involved in the case."
Some cases are high profile, historical events that are very relevant to this day. The cases are clearly identified and arranged in a way that if necessary updates are needed, it would be relatively straightforward to implement.
The text is written in ordinary language and provides a generous amount of examples throughout in order to provide a clear, understanding of the material.
The terminology and framework are consistent from start to finish. Each chapter provides a topic, introduction, specific cases related to the topic, and references.
There is flexibility in how this textbook is arranged. It is set up as modules and may be realigned at the reader's discretion without disruption.
The chapters transition methodically in a logical, clear fashion. Case descriptions and discussion questions posed in each chapter align with the topic presented.
No issues with interfacing was experienced. Images and tables were formatted appropriately and easy to read.
No grammatical errors were identified in this textbook.
Case examples provided within this text are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. The authors took care to provide a global prospective in topics covered.
I am a dental healthcare professional and educator looking to integrate resources into a community dental health class. This textbook is a great fit as a supplemental resource for my course, providing students quality content and real-world case experiences, both domestic and globally, related to ethics and public health. This text is well laid out. I am able to easily navigate through various topics listed in the table of contents, select cases that are relevant to the material content I am covering, and utilize discussion questions provided at the end of each section.
I find the text very comprehensive. Section I gives an introduction to public health ethics for those who may be new to the subject. This is good because it gives the student an understanding of public health ethics even if they did not have any... read more
I find the text very comprehensive. Section I gives an introduction to public health ethics for those who may be new to the subject. This is good because it gives the student an understanding of public health ethics even if they did not have any background in ethics. The text also gives a wide range of public health topics in Section II 1. Resource Allocation and Priority Setting 2. Disease Prevention and Control 3. Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 4. Environmental and Occupational Public Health 5. Vulnerability and Marginalized Populations 6. International Collaboration for Global Public Health 7. Public Health Research Under each of these topics are many case studies allowing for students to explore public health ethics in a problem-based learning setting.
I have not found any error or bias in the text and I am yet to have any student bring issues of error or bias to my attention.
The way the editors have arrange the text into two sections is good because any updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement. For example, if more introductory material need to be added to the text, this can be done in Section I. And if more public health topics or case studies need to be added, this can be done under Section II.
The text is an easy read.
I have not found any inconsistency in either terminology or framework.
The arrangement of the course is such that the instructor can assign the sections or chapters at different times during the course. See my final comments on how I use the text in my class. The modularity of the text is one of its strengths and I intend to use it more in my class.
The division of the text into two sections gives it a logical flow. Section I introduces public health ethics and explains how to conduct an ethical analysis in public health. Section II then gives you specific public health topics with case studies. This makes the text to flow in a logical manner.
There are not many images, charts or display features in the text to distract or confuse the reader. The bulk of the text is writing and the font is friendly to the eye when reading it on the computer.
I have not found any grammatical error in the text.
I have not found any culturally insensitive or offensive material in the text. It is my opinion that the examples used in the text are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. There are case studies from different parts of the world and no person or group have been portrayed negatively.
This is the second year I am using this text for my Public Health Leadership and Ethics class. I use this text in conjunction with a Public Health Leadership text. For this text, I divide my class into groups and they select a topic under Section II through a lot system. Each group choose a case study under their assigned topic they got by lot. Each group carefully read their assigned topic and then read their chosen case and answer the discussion questions under the case. For example, if their lot falls on “Disease Prevention and Control” as their topic and they select “Case 2: Public Health Approaches to Preventing Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission” then they will answer the discussion questions from page 110. Students are generally to read Section I in addition to other assigned readings on Public Health Ethics before handling their topic and case study. Each group will then prepare a PowerPoint to present to the class. In their presentation, they give a summary of the case, the ethical issues involved and their answers to the discussion questions. The presentations generate many meaningful discussions among the students and help them to appreciate the many ethical challenges in Public Health. I highly recommend this text because it gives students the opportunities to work on cases from around the globe. Last year (Spring 2018) a student commented to me that she learned more about Public Health ethics through this group exercise than from an ethics class she took earlier.
I thought that this book navigates a challenging and often "vague" subject of Public Health ethics rather well. At the very outset, it lays out why the intersection of public health and ethics can be a slippery slope. The author also emphasizes... read more
I thought that this book navigates a challenging and often "vague" subject of Public Health ethics rather well. At the very outset, it lays out why the intersection of public health and ethics can be a slippery slope. The author also emphasizes the key premises of Public Health ethics that include Social Determinants of Health, Health equity, Social Justice. The book provides a thorough index and glossary of terms, as well as a detailed contents. It addresses a wide range of issues and topics as well as real-life scenarios to highlight these.
I did not see any obvious errors or misrepresentation of facts. As far as bias, I am strongly in favor of social justice and health equity and believe that as Public Health advocates and as long as it is backed by evidence, I do not see any problems with that. The facts of this book are all cited appropriately
The book does a good work balancing recent content with older or well-known facts. It addresses plenty of general topics that are always relevant and provides contextual evidence. It addresses everything from disease prevention and control to chronic diseases to stigma . One aspect where I feel the book could improve is focus a bit more on the issues affecting certain parts of the world that are always ravaged by wars, say, places like Syria, Afghanistan, where survival is often challenging. It is true that addressing the unique issues facing these situations, so Public Health as we know of may not exist. Nevertheless from an ethical standpoint, I think there issues need more attention
Everything is clear, articulate and to the point
The book maintains consistency throughout the different chapters as well as between various chapters.
That is one of the things I liked. It is organized very well.
The contents are organized very well indeed
I found it very easy and convenient to navigate. I have looked at both the epub (online version) as well as the pdf files and like the interface of both. Perhaps the presentation could be made more appealing (cosmetically), but I understand the limited budget for an open book.
I am a bit confused by the scoring matrix here, but I am assuming that 5 implies grammatically error free.
Same here: I hope 5 is the most culturally sensitive.
I have not encountered a good Public Health ethics book that is informative yet manageable, detailed yet not overwhelming. This is an interesting field and I think this book is an asset. I just hope that the authors and publishers are motivated to keep updating it (new editions) it on a regular basis, so as to address this dynamic topic.
While the text does a nice job of covering a great diversity of cases, there are some gaps in content that are important to note. The text does not provide case examples that highlight genetics (a key field that will continue to gain importance in... read more
While the text does a nice job of covering a great diversity of cases, there are some gaps in content that are important to note. The text does not provide case examples that highlight genetics (a key field that will continue to gain importance in public health) nor does it incorporate cases surrounding LGBTQ+ populations (another important and growing aspect of public health). As public health moves forward, the ethics surrounding these issues will continue to gain complexity. Having a foundation of ethics examples would be beneficial in preparing for those changes.
All elements of the text appear to be accurate and supported by evidence. There was not evidence of bias noted in the text and those noted as contributors come from a wide variety of backgrounds, helping to increase accuracy and limit potential bias.
Public health ethics is a field with a deep history and an ever-expanding agenda. The content in the text provides both important historical context and numerous examples of present day challenges that will remain with us as a field for years to come.
The text is clearly written and provides clarification and/or definition as needed throughout. One element that improves both clarity and engagement is the creation of case study text that tends to bring the reader into a role as part of the case.
The text is very consistent in both the presentation and utilization of the framework across sections. The layout also demonstrates a consistent approach, a vital benefit for students who can anticipate what the flow of material will be and where they might search for specific elements of a case.
The text is designed in such a way that the user can select a specific focus area and pull just those pages for a course. This design also lends itself to the reorganization of the chapters to suit the progression of individual courses and/or the paring down of material based upon the work at hand. In addition, it is easy to select one or a few case studies from each section as they are capable of standing alone.
The flow of material in the text is logical and consistent. The introductory section provides a nicely developed overview of both the history of public health ethics (including landmark cases) and the logic behind the layout of the text. As you move into the various sections, the consistent layout of the introduction for each and the subsequent case studies to follow is comforting and definitely increases the utility for students.
I did not note any issues with the interface and found links, etc. to be clearly visible and functional.
The text is clear and well written with no significant errors of grammar or spelling.
The text provides sound examples that include a good diversity of populations. Each case is handled with respect and sensitivity both to those who played a role in the case and to the reader.
One of the things I find most impactful about this particular text is the clear distinction it provides for the reader between the more commonly known bioethics and public health ethics. While they do share many of the same principles and underlying theories, there are important differences between them which create a distinct field of knowledge and practice. The other element I find particularly appealing and useful with this text is the lack of "answers" for the case studies. The authors acknowledge that responses to ethical dilemmas vary across time and place - and make clear that giving you tools to dissect, discuss, and decide upon the answers for the cases is a major goal of the text. The opportunity for students to freely work through cases without those prepared responses being available is of benefit.
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 theoretical approach to ethics (despite a well-written first chapter and introductory blocks in most... 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