The course gives an introduction to key issues in public health ethics.
A major difference between (clinical) medical ethics and public health ethics is that in public health, many decisions are motivated by explicit utilitarian considerations: what policies will yield the greatest good for the greatest number of people? Therefore, a critical examination of utilitarianism is important in public health ethics.
Public health interventions are usually implemented by governments. The aim is to advance the health of populations. This population perspective creates inherent tensions between what benefits the population as a whole and the potential infringement of individual liberties. Attention will be given to core concepts in political philosophy, such as liberalism and communitarianism. Topics include claims of individual autonomy vs. the protection and improvement of public health, personal integrity and the collection of health information, ethical issues in epidemiology, health concepts and health promotion, research ethics: principles and guidelines.
The student should be able to identify, describe, reflect upon, analyze, and discuss central topics in public health ethics.
Knowledge and understanding:
The students have to hand-in and pass one written, individual assignment before they can take the exam. Assignments shall be handed in as specified in the assignment instructions. The students can write the assignments in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. The assignments are graded as approved or not approved. The obligatory assignments must be passed in order to take the final exam. Attendance to the on-campus classes is mandatory.
One individual home-based examination. The student must write a paper on a given topic, and the paper should should have an extent of 1800-2000 words. The students will be given four days to write the paper. The paper shall be handed in as specified in the exam text. Students can write assignments and examinations in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. Grading scale: A-E equals passed, F equals failed. If a student fails the course, an examination re-sit will be organised. Students with valid absence from the exam will be offered a re-scheduled examination. See examination regulations.