Content of Public Health Ethics Postgraduate Courses in the United States

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 12 (3):409-417 (2015)

This paper evaluates the content of the syllabi of postgraduate courses on public health ethics within accredited schools and programs of public health in the United States in order to gain an awareness of the topics addressed within these courses. Methods: Data was gathered via the analysis of syllabi of courses on PHE. In 2012, information was requested by e-mail from the 48 schools and 86 PH programs accredited by the U.S. Council on Education for Public Health for 2012. The “Epidemiology and PHE Syllabi” project of the University of Miami also was consulted. A table of topics was drawn up in order to carry out content analysis of the documents. Results: Data was obtained from 25 schools and 36 accredited programs ; 36 syllabi were gathered and 75 different topics were found. Of these, 38 topics were addressed in six or more syllabi and can be grouped as follows: foundations of PHE; autonomy and its limits; infectious disease control; justice; research ethics; health education and promotion; environmental and occupational health; screening; genetics; privacy and confidentiality; and community-based practice and vulnerable populations. Conclusions: The analyzed syllabi show high variability in curricular content. The debate with regard to whether a core curriculum on PHE should be established is ongoing. The results of this work might be of interest for schools and programs of PH in other countries or regions of the world in order to develop or ameliorate their own PHE syllabi
Keywords Ethics  Bioethics  Curriculum  Public health professional education
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DOI 10.1007/s11673-015-9608-x
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