Online Program

Public Health Ethics as a Bridge Connecting Bioethics, Public Health, and the Environment

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 4:50 p.m. - 5:10 p.m.

Lisa M. Lee, PhD, MS, Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, Washington, DC
Public health ethics in the United States emerged from bioethics in the 1980s as a result of concerns outside the individual-and-provider relationship, such as organ transplantation, community-based prevention strategies, environmental influences on health, and increasing sensitivity to justice in health.  The field distinguished itself from clinical or medical ethics based on its broader focus on the determinants of health.  From 1980 through 2014, interest in public health ethics as a distinct field has gained traction as shown by the nearly 3800 articles published in the past 35 years.  In the medical and public health literature there was one article published on the topic of public health ethics in 1980, 403 in 2008, and approximately 200 in 2014.  Since the turn of the 21st century, the fields of medicine and public health have begun to reengage with each other.  The wisdom of seeing an individual as more than a sum of their parts, of recognizing the financial and health gains stemming from prevention, and the recognition that our context—literally our environment—has an impact on our health across the lifespan, has led practitioners and ethicists to consider how the synergy from the fields of bioethics, public health ethics, and environmental ethics should be accessed.  As public health ethics is concerned with communities, individuals, and the environment (both natural and built), we will examine its role as a bridge connecting these three “fields” of ethics to promote a healthier planet.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate the nature and priorities of biomedical ethics, public health ethics, and environmental ethics Compare differences and similarities in these ethical domains using health care issues across the life course

Keyword(s): Ethics, Social Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the executive director of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues and have worked as an epidemiologist and PH ethicist for >20 years. I have written on the formulation of PH ethics and the relationship between clinical and PH ethics. I teach graduate level PH ethics courses.
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.