Skip Navigation LinksHome > July/August 2008 - Volume 14 - Issue 4 > Politics and Public Health Ethics in Practice: Right and Lef...
Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000324561.42039.47

Politics and Public Health Ethics in Practice: Right and Left Meet Right and Wrong

Gollust, Sarah E. BA; Baum, Nancy M. MHS; Jacobson, Peter D. JD, MPH

Collapse Box


As public health practitioners are no doubt aware, public health practice and politics are closely linked. Although theoretical discussion of the emerging field of public health ethics has been rich, scholars have paid little attention to the relationship between ethical issues and politics in public health practice. We conducted semistructured interviews with 45 public health practitioners across a range of occupations (eg, health officers, medical directors, sanitarians, nurses, educators, and commissioners) working at 12 local health departments across Michigan and the state health department. Practitioners were asked to describe the ethical issues they faced in their daily practice. Ethical issues that resulted from the political environment emerged as one major category of ethical issues our interviewees described. This article illustrates how political issues engender ethical challenges in 4 main areas: public health agenda-setting, political pressures, political conflicts with best practices, and the scope of public health practice. The findings suggest that politics and public health ethics intrinsically intersect, because political pressures and priorities often impose ethical challenges that practitioners negotiate in their daily work.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.



Article Tools


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.