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Ethics in Public Health Work

Analyze how public health upholds individual rights while protecting societal rights through prevention strategies of both types of diseases (e.g., adding fluoride to the water to reduce dental carries).
Discuss the ethical issues associated with the role of public health in protecting societal rights as well as individual rights

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First, look at how public health is defined. Public health is focused on protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention (APHS, 2014). This appears a straightforward mission but can become complicated as individual and societal rights must both be weighed to avoid unethical behaviors in decision-making. To help protect both the rights of the individual and meet the need of the community the American Pubic Health Association (APHA) set forth basic principles to guide the processes. See the attachment for specifics contained in the principles.

In addition, laws are set in place to set parameters for public health to maintain focus, and not ignore individual rights. The greatest health benefits for the greatest number of citizens is the most important aspect of public health law, rather than focusing on an individual. However, at the same time special considerations are given to individual rights by the governing bodies to ensure no measures are taken that would be a breach of civil or human rights. In addition, no action that would be considered criminal battery may be taken in the guise of public health betterment.

Consider for a moment the focus of the outcome in public health, the improvement of health and safety of the community. This sets the parameters for action. What is in the best interest of the majority of the community will take precedence over an individual. More specifically, the action taken must be beneficial to the majority of the population without damaging the ...

Solution Summary

The field of public health focuses on the safety and improvement of health within communities. This document will discuss preservation of societal right to advantages discovered through public health interventions. Likewise, the individual's right during conflict with public health decision will be illustrated.