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Public Health Prof Receives Award to Survey Public Health Professionals’ Views about the Nature, Importance and Usefulness of Academic Public Health Ethics

December 18, 2013

The department of Community and Health & Prevention (CHP) Assistant Professor John Rossi, VMD, M.Bioethics along with co-investigators Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH; Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH from Drexel’s School of Public Health and Constance Perry,  PhD,  of Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, was awarded a $7,520 grant from the Social Science Research Fund (SSRF) for the project "A Survey of Public Health Professionals’ Views about the Nature, Importance and Usefulness of Academic Public Health Ethics."

The grant will allow the research team to develop and conduct a survey, aimed at non-ethics faculty and other professionals in public health, to assess their views about core issues in public health ethics.  Such a survey has never been previously conducted.  The results of the survey will be useful in gaining an appreciation of what ethical issues are viewed as most important to the teaching, research and practice of non-ethics faculty in schools of public health; in fostering better dialogue amongst ethics and non-ethics faculty in public health; and in deciding upon future directions in public health ethics education.

We spoke with John Rossi, VMD, M.Bioethics, to learn more about the grant:

John Rossi

Q: Why did your team decide to pursue this sort of project?
A: Public health ethicists help to define, reflect upon, and provide guidance about important ethical issues in public health. While there is now a good deal of dialogue between academic public health ethicists, there is a definite need to better understand what ethical issues are faced by non-ethics faculty at schools of public health and professionals in the public health workforce, and also to better understand how the public health community in general conceptualizes “ethics” at the most fundamental level.

Q: What impact will your project have on public health faculty and academics?
A: Overall, the results of this survey will help to foster dialogue between public health ethicists and the broader public health community. In providing important feedback from this broader community, the survey will help to make public health ethicists more aware of, and thus responsive to, perceived ethical needs in the field. It will also help to identify areas where ethicists’ training and analytical skills might be most usefully focused in order to improve ethics discourse within the broader public health community.