David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Preventive Medicine 55 (5):405-408 (2012)
Targeting high-risk populations for public health interventions is a classic tool of public health promotion programs. This practice becomes thornier when racial groups are identified as the at-risk populations. I present the particular ethical and epistemic challenges that arise when there are low-risk subpopulations within racial groups that have been identified as high-risk for a particular health concern. I focus on two examples. The black immigrant population does not have the same hypertension risk as US-born African Americans. Similarly, Finnish descendants have a far lower rate of cystic fibrosis than other Caucasians. In both cases the exceptional nature of these subpopulations has been largely ignored by the designers of important public health efforts, including the recent US government dietary recommendations. I argue that amending the publicly-disseminated risk information to acknowledge these exceptions would be desirable for several reasons. First, recognizing low-risk subpopulations would allow more efficient use of limited resources. Communicating this valuable information to the subpopulations would also promote truth-telling. Finally, presenting a more nuanced empirically-supported representation of which groups are at known risk of diseases (not focusing on mere racial categories) would combat harmful biological race essentialist views held by the public.
|Keywords||philosophy of epidemiology public health ethics race cystic fibrosis hypertension truth-telling|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
M. Verweij & A. Dawson (2012). Risk, Risk Groups and Population Health. Public Health Ethics 5 (3):213-215.
Paul B. Thompson (1999). The Ethics of Truth-Telling and the Problem of Risk. Science and Engineering Ethics 5 (4):489-510.
Matthew K. Wynia (2007). Ethics and Public Health Emergencies: Encouraging Responsibility. American Journal of Bioethics 7 (4):1 – 4.
A. Vilhelmsson, T. Svensson & A. Meeuwisse (2011). Mental Ill Health, Public Health and Medicalization. Public Health Ethics 4 (3):207-217.
Jonny Anomaly (2011). Public Health and Public Goods. Public Health Ethics 4 (3):251-259.
Michael Root (2009). Measurement Error in Racial and Ethnic Statistics. Biology and Philosophy 24 (3):375-385.
Angus Dawson (ed.) (2011). Public Health Ethics: Key Concepts and Issues in Policy and Practice. Cambridge University Press.
Matthew K. Wynia (2007). Mandating Vaccination: What Counts as a "Mandate" in Public Health and When Should They Be Used? American Journal of Bioethics 7 (12):2 – 6.
J. Luyten, A. Vandevelde, P. Van Damme & P. Beutels (2011). Vaccination Policy and Ethical Challenges Posed by Herd Immunity, Suboptimal Uptake and Subgroup Targeting. Public Health Ethics 4 (3):280-291.
Doris Schroeder (2007). Public Health, Ethics, and Functional Foods. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 20 (3):247-259.
Matt Commers (2002). Determinants of Health: Theory, Understanding, Portrayal, Policy. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
S. M. Outram & E. Racine (2011). Developing Public Health Approaches to Cognitive Enhancement: An Analysis of Current Reports. Public Health Ethics 4 (1):93-105.
Ger Palmboom & Dick Willems (2010). Risk Detection in Individual Health Care: Any Limits? Bioethics 24 (8):431-438.
Added to index2012-12-07
Total downloads3 ( #220,397 of 1,004,657 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #64,617 of 1,004,657 )
How can I increase my downloads?