Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 35 (2):295-299 (2007)

Abstract
Multiple scholars and institutions have asked what distinguishes public health research from public health practice. Most often, they ask in order to have a clear definition of what one does in various public health settings to assess oversight and/or regulation of human subjects research. More importantly, however, whether something is considered public health research or public health practice has real ethical implications in terms of the general moral considerations at stake and the obligations of public health researchers/practitioners to the populations they serve or study.Numerous examples in recent history of research ethics, including the Kennedy Krieger Lead Abatement Study and EPA’s Children’s Environmental Exposure Research Study, suggest that an exploration of the ethics of public health, or more generally population-based research, may be warranted. Although we acknowledge that there are important ethical issues to consider in the implementation of public health practice, we leave that discussion for other authors.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1748-720x.2007.00138.x
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