There is a growing interest in the ethical, legal, and social aspects of public health policy, research, and practice. There is a rising awareness that public health issues are inseparable from issues of human rights and social justice, problems of cultural and behavioral change, and environmental issues on a global scale.
Public health policy and interventions are always the product of controversy, and often remain surrounded by controversy as they are implemented. Routinely in public health, scientific considerations blend with political and ethical conflicts, and questions of autonomy, individual rights, coercion, justice, community, the common good, the norms of research, and multi-cultural values are central.
Public health ethics may be defined as the principles and values that help guide actions designed to promote health and prevent injury and disease in the population. It is a highly complex field that gives rise to many questions. What is the meaning of pivotally important abstract concepts that are common in public health: population, community, risk, harm, and benefit? How should society decide when it is necessary and appropriate to intervene to protect the public’s health? Are factors such as risk, effectiveness, cost, burdens, and fairness the best ways to evaluate public health interventions? How does the population perspective differ from the individual perspective? To what extent should social justice be an animating value in public health?
11 January, 2023
Report: Variability in public health ethics education across Europe
07 January, 2022
Ethical health security in the age of antimicrobial resistance
16 December, 2021
05 November, 2021
07 July, 2021