175447 Public health ethics and the accreditation of public health agencies

Monday, October 27, 2008: 12:50 PM

Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH , Division of Public Health Policy and Practice, University of Virgina School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA
Armando Bolmey, MBA , Department of Health Evaluation Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Alan Melnick, MD, MPH, CPH , Family Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Robert Hood, PhD , Office of Public Health Research, Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, FL
Leslie Beitsch, MD, JD , College of Medicine, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Kathy C. Vincent, LCSW , Alabama Department of Public Health, Montgomery, AL
What is the role of ethics in efforts to accredit public health agencies? Emerging standards for accreditation of public health agencies do not adequately address consideration of public health ethics or public health research ethics, even though research is an essential public health service. This panel uses the Principles of the Ethical Practice of Public Health as a framework to explore different tools, such as quality management and evaluation, that can be used in accreditation. First, the Principles can provide rationale for including public health ethics as an explicit consideration in the development of accreditation standards. Justification provided in support of accreditation often cites the ethical value of accountability; however, application of the Principles demonstrates that other values are relevant, such as the role of accreditation in increasing transparency of decisions and fostering community trust. Second, the Principles are flexible, and allow public health ethics to be incorporated into a variety of different accreditation approaches, at both the local and state agency levels. The Principles do not require particular mechanisms, such as ethics committees, but allow for experimentation with various approaches to community involvement. Third, Principles are extensible, and can be applied in different areas of public health practice, ranging from traditional areas such as disease control to novel areas such as public health genomics. Finally, the Principles are compatible with movements to accredit particular programs, including efforts to accredit public health research ethics review. Presenters will keep their presentations short to allow audience members time to share their experiences.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe emerging models of public health agency accreditation, at the local and state levels. 2. Analyze the ways the Principles of the Ethical Practice of Public Health can be applied in different ways, to accommodate different approaches to public health agency accreditation 3. Incorporate the Principles of the Ethical Practice of Public Health into efforts at local and state agency levels to accredit public health agencies and programs, including incorporating the Principles within other accreditation efforts.

Keywords: Accreditation, Ethics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served on the Steering Committee for the Exploring Accreditation Project. I now serve on the Standards Work Group developing the national standards for the Public Health Accreditation Board. I was a member of the Ethics Work Group for the Public Health Leadership Society which developed the Code of Ethics for Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.