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Describe a historical event that has shaped current guidelines and regulations for the ethical conduct

Describe a historical event that has shaped current guidelines and regulations for the ethical conduct

Describe a historical event that has shaped current guidelines and regulations for the ethical conduct
BIO 550 Discussion Ethical Conduct Of Epidemiologic Research

Describe a historical event that has shaped current guidelines and
regulations for the ethical conduct of epidemiologic research with human

Discussion 2

Describe the key principles, guidelines, and regulations governing
research with human subjects and relate them to the Tuskegee experiment and the
Guatemalan syphilis study.

A rich and growing body of literature has emerged on ethics in epidemiologic research and public health practice [1-11]. Recent articles have included conceptual frameworks of public health ethics and overviews of historical developments in the field [7,8,11]. Several important topics in public health ethics have also been highlighted [7,11,12].

This article provides an overview of ethical issues in epidemiologic research and public health practice for readers who do not necessarily have an in-depth knowledge of public health ethics. In the discussion that follows, a summary is provided of current definitions and conceptualizations of public health ethics and key ethical concerns in the field.

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Definitions and conceptualizations of public health ethics
The starting point for conceptualizations of public health ethics has often been general definitions of public health, such as the definition provided by the Institute of Medicine in 1988: “Public health is what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy.” As noted by Childress et al. [8], “Public health is primarily concerned with the health of the entire population, rather than the health of individuals. Its features include an emphasis on the promotion of health and the prevention of disease and disability; the collection and use of epidemiological data, population surveillance, and other forms of empirical quantitative assessment; a recognition of the multidimensional nature of the determinants of health; and a focus on the complex interactions of many factors – biological, behavioral, social, and environmental – in developing effective interventions.” Public health activities also include community collaborations and partnerships for health and the identification of priorities for public health action.

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BIO 550 Discussion Ethical Conduct Of Epidemiologic Research
BIO 550 Discussion Ethical Conduct Of Epidemiologic Research

Previous authors have identified ethical issues and core values in public health, and highlighted differences and similarities between public health ethics and other areas of bioethics [5,7]. Public health ethics, which can be defined as the identification, analysis, and resolution of ethical problems arising in public health practice and research, has different domains from those of medical ethics. Ethical concerns in public health often relate to the dual obligations of public health professionals to acquire and apply scientific knowledge aimed at restoring and protecting the public’s health while respecting individual autonomy [1,3]. Ethics in public health involves an interplay between protecting the welfare of the individual, as in medicine, and the public health goal of protecting the public welfare [1]. Other ethical concerns in public health relate to the need to ensure a just distribution of public health resources [13]. Public health ethics has a broad scope that includes ethical and social issues arising in health promotion and disease prevention, epidemiologic research, and public health practice [5,7].

In conceptualizing public health ethics and distinguishing it from other areas of bioethics, previous authors have often highlighted mandatory or coercive public health measures that are authorized by public health law (for example, quarantining people with contagious diseases) or activities that may infringe upon personal privacy or autonomy, such as public health surveillance. In many public health activities there is a tension between concerns over personal liberties and individual autonomy and public health perspectives, which may be utilitarian, paternalistic, or communitarian. Communitarian perspectives may favor limiting individual autonomy for the sake of the common good or public interest [7].

Despite the importance of mandatory public health activities required by law, many examples of voluntary public health activities can be cited. Public health surveys, for instance, depend upon the support and informed consent of members of the public. In deliberating about ethical questions in their own public health activities, public health professionals have increasingly referred to explications of moral reasoning methods useful for public health research and practice.

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