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Looking Ahead: Addressing Ethical Challenges in Public Health Practice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2021

Extract

In recent years, scholars have begun to lay the groundwork to justify a distinct application of ethics to the field of public health. They have highlighted important features that differentiate public health ethics from bioethics, especially public health’s emphasis on population health rather than issues of individual health. Articulations of public health ethics also tend to emphasize the role of social justice compared to the predominance of autonomy in the bioethical literature. Now that the field of public health ethics is developing a unique focus and a language of its own, including a code of ethics disseminated by the American Public Health Association, the future of public health ethics may well be global health ethics, focusing on issues of global justice. As public health ethics evolves from its nascent stage of reflection to a place of action and application in the national and global arenas, two interrelated developments will need to occur: (1) public health professionals, including practitioners, policymakers, and scholars, will need a richer understanding of the ethical challenges practitioners face on a daily basis and (2) scholars will need to develop useful tools (i.e., frameworks) that practitioners may employ for identifying and tackling these ethical challenges.

Type
Symposium
Copyright
Copyright © American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics 2007

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References

Some of the recent work that makes this point include the following: Bayer, R. Gostin, L. Jennings, B. Steinbock, B., eds., Public Health Ethics: Theory, Policy and Practice (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007); Bayer, R. Fairchild, A., “The Genesis of Public Health Ethics,” Bioethics 18, no. 6 (2004): 473–92; Childress, J. F. Faden, R. R. Gaare, R. D. Gostin, L. O. Kahn, J. Bonnie, R. J. Kass, N. E. Mastroianni, A. C. Moreno, J. D. Nieburg, P., “Public Health Ethics: Mapping the Terrain,” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 30, no. 2 (2002): 170–78; Callahan, D. Jennings, B. “Ethics and Public Health: Forging a Strong Relationship,” American Journal of Public Health 92, no. 2 (2002): 169–76; and Kass, N., “An Ethics Framework for Public Health,” American Journal of Public Health 91, no. 11 (2001): 1776–82.Google Scholar
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Emanuel, E., “Foreward,” in Danis, M. Clancy, C. Churchill, L., eds., Ethical Dimensions of Health Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002): At x.Google Scholar

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