Introduction to Public Health Ethics 3: Frameworks for Public Health Ethics

The first document1 in this series of briefing notes2 began with the observation that public health practitioners often struggle with ethical decisions in their practice but may not have relevant tools and resources to deal with these challenges. An assumption underlying this third paper is that by providing public health practitioners and decision makers with some guidance about practical public health ethics frameworks, they will be supported in making difficult ethical decisions that are unique to public health practice. In part, the management of ethical challenges will be implicitly or explicitly based on the kind of philosophical perspective one holds in relation to ethical problems in public health and it is important for practitioners to sort out what perspective makes sense to them, so they are guided in their own ethical decision making. The second document in this series3 presents the major philosophical and theoretical perspectives that provide the basis for ethical decision making in public health and that ground various public health ethics frameworks. The purpose of this paper, the third in the series, is to present, compare and critique selected ethics frameworks for public health, relating these to their theoretical and ethical foundations. A brief discussion about the future of public health ethics concludes the paper.

1 MacDonald, M. (2014).
2 This series of papers is based upon a previously published book chapter (MacDonald, 2013).
3 MacDonald, M. (2015).

Introduction to Public Health Ethics 3:  Frameworks for Public Health Ethics
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