We are planning to continue our work in public health ethics by focusing on three goals in particular during 2013.
||Our first goal, an ongoing one, is to stay connected with the public health ethics community in Canada. As such, we plan to contact the practitioners and researchers we already know, and establish a connection with some whom we haven't met. |
Our overarching goal is to share the best work in public health ethics with practitioners in Canada, and to help it become part of everyday practice. To do this, we must remain aware of what others in this network are doing, help to share their work, inform our own work with their expertise, and avoid duplication. Communication and networking are essential to this.
Our second goal is to begin a series of short, clear documents introducing key concepts, theories, principles and values that inform public health ethics. These will be written with public health practitioners in mind, and will focus on practice-related examples.
One set of documents will introduce key principles and values in applied ethics that are of particular importance to public health. We will explore how these ideas have been articulated in philosophy and in public health, with emphasis on practical examples to show how they can be important dimensions to consider (and to balance among one another) when making difficult choices. We will be focusing on:
- Reciprocity (responding in kind)
- Solidarity (our collective ties)
- Autonomy (respect for the individual)
- Justice (distributive)
- Justice (social)
- Beneficience (doing good)
- Non-maleficence (avoiding doing harm)
We will add to this with another set of documents introducing key concepts and orientations in ethics, highlighting what considerations they can add to ethical decision-making in practice. Among these documents, we expect to see the following:
- What do we mean when we say "public health ethics?"
- Utilitarian (consequence-based) ethics
- Relational public health ethics
- Deontological (rule-based) ethics
Finally – Another goal is to highlight the utility of case studies in public health ethics as means to stimulate reflection, to draw out values and interests, and to explore commonalities and differences in the concepts we use and in our ways of understanding how to approach difficult issues and decisions. Cases can provide examples for discussion among colleagues or on a broader scale (for example, through workshops or online discussion groups). This kind of thinking about cases can in turn improve our capacity to analyze our own professional situations.
Related: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US) have recently issued a call for cases for their upcoming Casebook. The deadline for submissions is January 1, 2013. To learn more, click here (on the site of the CDC).
We would like to hear what your interests are in public health ethics, particularly if there are resources that you would like to see made available for you. Perhaps we could work together to find them, or to produce something new.
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/ Ilya Bushuev