Proposing a Code of Ethics for Public Health Professionals in Europe
Context: Public health practitioners are involved in a wide array of contexts. Local and national government public health agencies; domestic and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); and academic institutions are just a few examples of the settings where public health practitioners work. Acting ethically and meeting ethical commitments in a practical and transdisciplinary endeavor as complicated as public health necessitates careful consideration. Ethical practice ensures that public health institutions work properly and that individual public health practitioners maintain their integrity. There is little debate about the importance of ethics in public health professional practice and, as a result, the necessity for a corresponding professional code of ethics.
Policy Options: Only an US-American code of public health ethics has been created so far. Since ethical considerations in public health are heavily dependent in contexts, the aim of this document is to initiate a discussion surrounding the establishment of a Code of Ethics for Public Health Professionals in Europe.
- Stimulate the discussion on a European code of public health ethics.
- Make a clear distinction between public health ethics and medical ethics.
- Recognize public health as a profession and not just a medical specialty.
- Recognize the need for a common code of ethics among public health professionals in Europe.
- Use Kotter's Model based on the Theory of Change as a roadmap when creating the European public health code of ethics.
- Treat the European code of ethics as a "living document".
- Encourage further research on a European code of ethics.
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