3339.0 Health, Professional Integrity and the Public Interest

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:30 PM
Public health professionals possess a large body of specialized knowledge and skills, engage in ongoing professional development and use independent judgment. While many professions may face challenges to professional integrity, those that confront the public health sector have an additional impact on the public at large. Principal among such challenges is pressure from external forces. Professional workers can find themselves being asked to compromise or ignore professional standards; to put personal or public safety at risk; and to alter, downplay or withhold research data or findings. Limitations on professional autonomy and ability to meet and respect professional standards are a second form these challenges may take. These limitations can appear in the form of inadequate staffing and resources; a lack of appropriate mechanisms to address misconduct, including ineffective whistleblower protections; and policies or procedures that prevent or restrict appropriate research and evidence-based practices. This session will examine the relationship between professional integrity and the public interest in the context of the public health sector. Comparisons of the role professional integrity plays in different public health professions will be drawn, while also differentiating the ways in which challenges to professional integrity uniquely impact each represented profession and sector. Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity, a coalition between professional associations and labor unions to address these professional integrity issues (of which APHA is a founding member), will also be discussed.
Session Objectives: At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1. Describe and discuss how professional integrity impacts health issues and analyze approaches to defending professional integrity. 2. Compare and assess how professional integrity is essential to various professions working on public health issues. 3. Identify and evaluate the impact that threats to professional integrity in the public health field may have on the public at large.

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Organized by: Labor Caucus
Endorsed by: Community Health Workers SPIG, APHA-Committee on Women's Rights, Socialist Caucus, Social Work

See more of: Labor Caucus