Ethics Pedagogy in Public Health Education: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?


Over the last decade there has been a noticeable increase in attention, on the part of public health scholars and professionals, to the important ethical challenges that arise in the context of public health policy, practice and research. This has arguably been a driver for the development of public health ethics (PHE) as both a specialized field of study in bioethics and a subject for professional education. But how is PHE taught in public health programs and schools? Are current educational approaches sufficient to provide future professionals with the necessary tools to address the diverse ethical challenges they will encounter? In this article, we examine the international public health and bioethics literatures regarding PHE education in public health programs and schools. Specifically, we 1) summarize the results from studies that describe PHE education in the United States, Europe, Canada and in some developing countries, 2) explore current attitudes and educational approaches toward ethics curricula in public health, and 3) identify and discuss reported barriers to PHE education. We conclude with some general recommendations and a research agenda to guide future work on implementing PHE into different public health programs.

In International Journal of Ethics Education (IJEE).