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Materials & Resources

Teaching Materials and Resources
Case studies collections:
  • SpringerBriefs in Public Health Ethics: This series currently contains four volumes, each of 50-125 pages. The titles are explicitly designed for public health learners with little experience or background in ethics, and contain elements of both traditional textbooks and of scholarly monographs.
  • Public Health Ethics,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: While entries in the SEP are typically dense and written in a manner consistent with style and prose of academic philosophy, they also go through rigorous peer review and are considered excellent starting points for exploration of any ethical topic.
  • Public Health Ethics,” University of Washington School of Medicine: This entry in the “Ethical Topics in Medicine” series is written by Erika Blacksher, a faculty member in the Department of Bioethics & Humanities, and a leading public health ethicist. Case exercises are also available at this website.
  •  APHA Case Studies in Public Health Ethics  (Steven Coughlin): This volume focuses more on public health research than on practice.  It includes a range of topics as well as an instructor’s guide.
  • Good Decision Making in Real Time:  Public Health Ethics Training for Local Health Departments (Student’s manual --CDC):  As stated on the website for the volume “…this training manual was developed to support state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments in their efforts to address ethical issues that arise in the practice of public health. It provides tools to enable participants to become conversant in ethics and confidently engage in discussion of realistic case studies that foster practical decision making.”
  • Good Decision Making in Real Time:  Public Health Ethics Training for Local Health Departments: This online, self-paced course provides public health professionals with tools and practical examples to address ethical challenges that commonly arise in the practice of public health. After introducing the basics of public health ethics, this course will discuss the importance of using case studies to practice applying an ethical analysis framework to address issues that public health practitioners are likely to face. The course also explores the overlap between ethics and law.

Sample Syllabi from ColoradoSPH:


Sample Syllabi from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health:

Share your teaching materials 

We invite faculty to share materials or ideas about class exercise or assignments that might be suitable to use in other courses. If you have materials to share, email them to: for posting.

Newsletters, Journals and Other Resources on Ethics and History

In addition to the multiple readings listed in the syllabi here are some resources that may be of help.


  • A Code of Ethics for Public Health (Thomas JC, et al., Am J Public Health. 2002 July; 92(7): 1057–1059.
  • Principles of Ethical Practice in Public Health (American Public Health Association)    
  • The Importance of Public Health Ethics (Krebs JC) Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 86(8): 577-656, August 2008
  • Recorded lecture series by Jim Thomas at University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. This series of eight lectures (each about 30 minutes) provides basic concepts about public health ethics intended for students and practitioners.
  • Working Upstream: Skills for Social Change – a resource guide for developing a course on advocacy for public health (Lori Dorfman, Susan Sorenson, Lawrence Wallack)  This resource provides a series of lessons on public health concepts focused on achieving social justice. It includes suggested powerpoint visuals as well as discussion questions and readings. The goal is to help students learning about public health in academic settings address real-life problems in a social change context. 
  • Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics:  This institute provides training, some online lectures and a newsletter. The scope of material is more focused on biomedical issues than on public health, but there are topics of relevance to public health.
  • Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health (Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University);  This center is unique among schools of public health in the U.S. both for its focus on ethics & history and for its receiving funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is a world leader in the use of rigorous methods drawn from ethics & history to interrogate key issues in contemporary public health. 
  • The Hastings Center:  For the past 50 years the Hastings Center has provided a resource, including a newsletter addressing multiple topics related to bioethics, including health policy.  As stated on their website:  “The Hastings Center addresses fundamental ethical and social issues in health care, science, and technology. Through our scholars’ writing and speaking, and through the work of the many other people who participate in our projects or submit articles to our publications, we shape ideas that influence key opinion leaders, including health policy-makers, regulators, lawyers, legislators, and judges.”
  • American Public Health Association – Ethics Section. From their website they state that they “The APHA Ethics Section provides opportunities to connect and collaborate with colleagues — active professionals, retired professionals and students — from a wide variety of disciplines who are committed to advancing public health ethics in practice, teaching and research.”
  • Editing Tools group. Tab 2 of 2.
  • The Health Gap:  Challenge of an Unequal World  (Michael Marmot)
  • Selected lectures by Sir Michael Marmot: Confronting the Health Gap (30 minutes); Social Justice and Health Equity (1 hour)
  • Selected other videos suitable for classroom use: Changing the Way We Eat – Ted Talks, 2013; Inheritance and Health: What Really Matters for Health Equity (Nancy Kreiger, 1 hour)
  • Public Health Ethics: This is the online description of the journal, published three times a year :  “  … peer-reviewed international journal to focus on a systematic analysis of the moral problems in public health and preventive medicine. It contains original articles, reviews, and case studies about the nature of public health and related concepts (e.g. population, public, community, prevention); discussions of values in public health; and ethical issues in relation to all aspects of public health policy and practice. This includes normative issues in epidemiological research, health promotion, infectious diseases control, screening, population genetics, resource allocation, health care system reform, vaccinations, environmental and lifestyle factors relevant to health, equity, justice and global health.  PHE combines theoretical and practical work from different fields, notably philosophy, law, and politics, but also epidemiology and the medical sciences. Contributors are particularly encouraged to discuss the practical impact of their work on public health policies.  PHE  is therefore an important resource for scholars and students in bioethics and public health, but also for professionals and policy makers.”

History and general public health principles

Selected scholarly articles and books:  
Selected memoirs and journalistic accounts:

Selected taped lectures/Ted Talks/Documentaries:
Funding sources that support research on ethics:
The Greenwall Foundation: The Greenwall Foundation’s bioethics grants program, Making a Difference in Real-World Bioethics Dilemmas, supports research to help resolve an important emerging or unanswered bioethics problem in clinical, biomedical, or public health decision-making, policy, or practice. Our aim is to fund projects that promote the Foundation’s vision and mission through innovative bioethics research that will have a real-world, practical impact. Projects may be empirical, conceptual, or normative. Successful teams commonly involve a bioethics scholar and persons with on-the-ground experience with the bioethics dilemma, for example, in clinical care; biomedical research; biotechnology, pharmaceutical, big data, and artificial intelligence companies; or public service.
  • Editing Tools group. Tab 2 of 2.
NIH Fellowships:  The Department of Bioethics is a center for research, training, and service related to bioethical issues. The Department conducts conceptual, empirical, and policy-related research into bioethical issues; offers comprehensive training to future bioethicists and educational programs for biomedical researchers and clinical providers; and provides high quality ethics consultation services to clinicians, patients, and families of the NIH's Clinical Center and advice to the NIH IRBs, investigators, and others on the ethical conduct of research.

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