Online Program

An Ecological Public Health Ethics: Intersections of Ethics, Law and Environment

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 12:45 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Mary E. Morrissey, PhD, MPH, JD, Fordham University Global Healthcare Innovation Management Center, Fordham University, West Harrison, NY
A Health in all Policies approach to public health helps to foster a broader ecological understanding of the complex interaction among health and social systems and practices, legal and ethical norms, and environments and support more robust ethical decision making in public health. Legal and ethical standards for guiding public health decision making must take account of communities and the public value that resides in communities. While public health has historically recognized critical social determinants of health such as education, income, neighborhood, race, ethnicity, literacy and culture, there has been a firm and settled resistance among Americans to accepting limitations upon personal autonomy in the balancing of individual and social interests, often to the detriment of communities and especially resource-poor communities. The adoption of an ecological perspective and ecological ethics in public health planning must drive policy formulation as we move into the next decades, accounting for the needs of diverse peoples and communities and the just allocation of resources in both non-emergency and emergency situations across the globe. Investments must be made in building citizen-friendly environments that will increase the capacities of communities to support global health and the concomitant goals of increased access to competent professional and lay workforces, clean air and water, green space, good foods, essential medicines, and basic palliative care to relieve pain and suffering so widely prevalent in all parts of the world. Making communities and their ecological contexts and concerns central to the foundations of twenty-first century public health policy will advance a global ecological ethics that is attuned to persons as well as nonanthropocentric life and process.

Learning Areas:

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

Learning Objectives:
Analyze complexities of ethics, law and environment as conditions of possibility for achieving the highest attainable standards of community health and well-being. Design an ecology of public health policy making that will engage systems of ethics, law and environment.

Keyword(s): Public Health Policy, Ethics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My education and training in health law and policy, ethics and gerontological social work research qualify me to present on the subject of ecology and public health that will be the primary focus of this special session.
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.