Introduction to Public Health Ethics (BETH5206)


This unit introduces the ethics of public health. Ethics is the study of what should be done. In public health this requires thinking about what we want healthcare to achieve, both for communities and individuals. As this always involves prioritization and compromise it is important to understand; how and why we focus on some health issues and not others; why we focus on some populations and not others; how we weigh up the benefits, harms and costs of intervening in people's lives; whether our interventions are fair, just and undermine or promote human rights; and how we can best engage with communities and maintain their trust. None of these issues can be understood simply by reference to evidence, efficiency, policy or law. This is where an understanding of ethics can help. By the end of the Unit you will be able to identify the values and ideas upon which public health rests and ready to start thinking proactively about the ethical and legal issues that are raised by public health interventions and health policy. This is a Core Unit for Graduate Diploma and Master in Public Health students. All assessments must be completed to pass this Unit.

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Further unit of study information


2x8hr intensives; or Distance Education (online). Attendance is compulsory if enrolled in block mode.


2xOnline Quiz (40%); 3x500wd short answer (60%)


Students are provided with a book of readings (in digital format). Most supplementary readings can be accessed through the library or online.

Faculty/department permission required?


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