Online Program

A meta-analysis of public health ethics textbooks

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 10:50 a.m. - 11:10 a.m.

Daniel Swartzman, JD, MPH, Department of Public Health Sciences, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL
Of the almost 150 accredited schools and programs of public health, a small minority require a course in ethics.  Many of these required courses are focused heavily on IRB processes and how to navigate them.  If the field hopes to expand the number of programs that require ethics courses, it would be good to be able to recommend the material that such courses might address.  There are now almost a dozen books that are offered as texts for ethics courses as schools and programs of public health.  They have much in common with each other, but they also differ in many ways.  Most offer a range of possible intellectual “homes” for public health ethics, but only a few actually pick one and make the case for its adoption.  Most offer case studies, and there is some overlap in the problems and issues presented in these, but there is still a wide range, with no uniformity.  Some of the books blend their discussion with legal material or references to governmental actions; others do not.  This meta-analysis will examine the available texts as a “body of work,” identifying similarities and differences, identifying possible consensus and likely disagreements.  It will identify any gaps in the coverage of the books, or areas that are not sufficiently covered.  It will make recommendations for a dialogue on content for new public health ethics courses and areas where consensus building might be helpful.

Learning Areas:

Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Public health or related education
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify the range of material covered in current textbooks in public health ethics. Identify the similarities and differences in the books. Explain areas where continued dialogue may be necessary to develop a consensus on what might be covered in courses in public health ethics.

Keyword(s): Ethics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have taught public health ethics at a school of public health for 36 years. I have written and presented in the field. I am the Chair-Elect of the Ethics Section.
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.