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Ethical principles and ethical issues in public health 

Ethical principles and ethical issues in public health
Ethical principles and ethical issues in public health

Nancy Kass

, Amy Paul

, and Andrew Siegel

Page of

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date: 06 July 2022

Public health ethics considers moral dimensions of public health practice and research. While medical ethics dates back hundreds of years, and bioethics writings emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, ‘public health ethics’, articulated as such, did not appear significantly in the literature for several more decades. There has been great interest recently in defining public health ethics, examining how it resembles or differs from medical ethics or bioethics, outlining frameworks and codes, and providing conceptual and practical guidance on how ethics can inform public health practice and research. This chapter describes the emergence of public health ethics; work in bioethics with relevance for public health; the relevance of social justice theory in addressing public health problems; and discusses literature on ethics and public health research, including whether public health research ethics might differ from ethical guidance for other human research. The chapter concludes with an overview of ethics issues related to genetic research and emerging technologies.

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