Section Newsletter
Winter 2010

Important News

 Important News:

The Ethics SPIG has joined Facebook!

We are pleased to announce the launch of The APHA Ethics SPIG Facebook Page! If you are a Facebook user, please visit the page, bookmark it and become a fan. You can find the page by logging onto and searching for “APHA Ethics Special Primary Interest Group”. We created this page to provide an opportunity for all of our members, our colleagues and anyone interested in public health ethics to network, share ideas and information as well as engage in discussions with colleagues on current events and trends in public health ethics. To make this page the most valuable and up-to-date resource possible, we are asking that you keep us informed of any conferences, scholarship opportunities and other events that our “fans” may be interested in. Please forward anything you would like to share to: Feel free to pass this information along to others who may be interested in following us online. We look forward to social networking with you!

Ethics SPIG Chair publishes book on Health and Social Justice.

Our very own Chair, Jennifer Prah Ruger, has published a new book entitled Health and Social Justice. In this book, which includes a forward by renowned scholar Amartya Sen, Dr. Prah Ruger describes how societies make decisions and take actions that profoundly impact the distribution of health. For example, Why and how should collective choices be made, and policies implemented, to address health inequalities under conditions of resource scarcity? How should societies conceptualize and measure health disparities, and determine whether they've been adequately addressed? Who is responsible for various aspects of this important social problem? For more information about this book, visit


Two new books by Steven Coughlin on ethics in epidemiology and public health.

As highlighted in the November 2009 issue of The Nation’s Health, renowned public health ethicist and author Steven Coughlin has published two new books that may be of interest to Ethics SPIG members. The first book, Ethics in Epidemiology and Public Health Practice, 2nd Edition, is an anthology of articles that covers such topics as ethical issues in epidemiologic research, public health practice, ethics instruction, and ethics guidelines for epidemiologists.  Several theoretical and applied aspects of public health ethics at public health agencies and institutions are also dealt with including general ethical principles and organizational ethics. The second book, Case Studies in Public Health Practice, 2nd Edition, covers issues of privacy and confidentiality protection, informed consent in public health research, the ethics of randomized trials, vulnerable populations, genetic discrimination, AIDS prevention and treatment, health care reform, scientific misconduct, conflicts of interest, intellectual property, and more. Both books can be bought at a substantial discount through the APHA bookstore. For more information or to order the books, visit


Special discount available for Ethics SPIG members for the top-ranked journal Public Health Ethics.

Did you know that Ethics SPIG members receive a special discount rate for subscriptions to the journal Public Health Ethics? Public Health Ethics is a top-ranked, peer-reviewed international journal with a focus on the systematic analysis of the moral problems that arise in public health and preventive medicine. The journal combines theoretical and practical work from many different fields, notably philosophy, law, and politics, but also epidemiology and the medical sciences. For more information about the journal, and to subscribe, visit The $32 savings on the usual print subscription more than covers the cost of joining the Ethics SPIG as an affiliate member, so encourage your friends and colleagues to join the Ethics SPIG.

Exciting Opportunities

 Exciting Opportunities:

Young Scholar Award in Perinatal Bioethics (Deadline: has passed)

The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) and the March of Dimes are pleased to announce the annual Young Scholar Award in Perinatal Bioethics.  To be eligible for this award, applicants must be early in their career development, including those who are actively enrolled in graduate school, post-doctoral programs or no higher in their career achievement than the assistant professorship level. 

Applicants should submit proposals in the 'Perinatal Ethics' topic category in the ASBH Call for Proposals.  Proposals that would fall into the perinatal ethics topic category include but are not limited to topics such as pre-conception health, reproductive decision making, pregnancy, pre-natal genetic testing, labor and delivery, newborn screening, neonatal decision making and other topics related to the perinatal time frame.  Proposals may address clinical decision making, research or other bioethical or humanities-related topics.

Submit an abstract to the ASBH Call for Proposals on the ASBH Web site no later than March 3, 2010 at  To be considered for this award, submit your proposal under the 'Perinatal Ethics' topic category where indicated. From those submitted abstracts, a select group of applicants will then be asked to submit a full paper for review by the March of Dimes/ASBH review committee. 

The award will be presented at the ASBH Annual Meeting in October to the applicant whose paper is selected to be of the highest quality and intellectual rigor among the submitted papers.  The award winner will receive an honorarium of $1,000 and will present the paper at a plenary session at the ASBH Annual Meeting, which will feature an invited lecture by a distinguished scholar from the field of perinatal ethics.  For more information, please contact Alison Saylor at or Ann Umemoto at

ASBH Student Paper Competition (Deadline: has passed)

Students are invited to submit abstracts and papers for consideration for the ASBH Student Paper Award, to presented at the upcoming 12th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, to be held this October in San Diego. The award winner will receive an honorarium of $1,000 and will present the paper at the ASBH Annual Meeting. Students are defined as individuals who are actively pursuing an advanced degree and have not received a doctoral-level degree (e.g., MD, PhD, JD or equivalent degree). Interested students should submit an abstract for the Annual meeting via the online submission program ( Students should then submit an electronic copy of their full paper -- not more than 3,500 words in length -- to the ASBH office via e-mail. The full paper, double-spaced, with one-inch margins and in electronic format (Word of PDF format), should be sent to “ASBH Student Paper Competition" should be listed in the email subject line.

2010 Essay Contest (Deadline: March 8, 2010)

The Kaiser Family Foundation is sponsoring an essay contest on health care policy, open to undergraduate and graduate students. The Foundation is asking interested students to submit a 1,000-word essay addressing the following topic: “It is January 2015. What do you see as the major health policy challenges still facing the nation?” Submissions are due on March 8, 2010. For more information and contest rules, please visit

Upcoming Events

 Upcoming Events:

Disability and Ethics through the Life Cycle: Cases, Controversies, & Finding Common Ground (Schenectady, N.Y., May 21-22, 2010)

Albany Law School, the Rapaport Ethics Across the Curriculum Program of Union College, and the Bioethics Program of Union Graduate College and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine are hosting a conference on "Disability and Ethics through the Life Cycle: Cases, Controversies and Finding Common Ground," to be held May 21-22 on the Union College campus in Schenectady, N.Y. This conference will offer a forum for ethicists, disability-rights advocates, and other stakeholders with a different focus for discussing these issues by viewing disability from a life-cycle perspective. People confront disability through the life cycle: infancy, childhood, reproductive years, middle age and old age. At each age they confront situations with ethical dimensions that present them, their families, and their caregivers and biomedical researchers with ethical challenges. This conference is designed to promote interdisciplinary conversations about these less frequently discussed ethical issues. For more information about the conference, or for instructions on how to submit a proposal for a contributed paper or conference panel, contact or

12th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (San Diego, Oct. 21-24, 2010)

The 12th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) is scheduled for Oct. 21-24, 2010, in sunny San Diego. This year’s theme is Health and Community. The ASBH is inviting scholars to submit proposals to address health, disability and disease as it affects local, national and global groups. Health care professionals, researchers, humanists and lawyers can bring experiences, expertise and interests that shape our understanding of the health of communities as it informs and is informed by ethics, law, politics, medicine and the humanities.  Proposals that critically examine issues related to social groups -- such as the appropriate distribution of societal resources, the ways in which literature, film, and the arts inform concerns about the health of populations and our understanding of communities, health care professionals' duty to warn in cases of communicable disease (e.g., HIV/AIDS), the fair distribution of health resources (e.g., medical supplies, water, etc.) during a natural disaster, the various contributions of the arts and the humanities to the health of communities, the social determinants of health and disease, health care disparities, the ways historical perspectives can bear on present day policy issues, and conflicts of values between different populations -- are welcomed. The deadline for proposal submissions is March 3, 2010. For more information about the conference, or to submit a proposal, please visit

138th APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition (Denver, Nov. 6-10, 2010)

The 138th APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition will be held this year in Denver in early November. The Ethics SPIG is sponsoring a number of workshops and panel presentations, and invites abstracts for panel discussions, oral presentations, roundtables and posters on topics concerning ethics and public health. The theme of this year’s conference is Social Justice, and we encourage researchers, authors, teachers, those in public health practice, and meeting, visit

Useful Resources

Useful Resources:

Public Health Ethics and Disasters

Ethics SPIG member Prof. Jim Thomas of the University of North Carolina has created a new Web site that focuses on public health ethics in disasters and mass casualty events. The site is designed to provide students, educators and public health officials with a starting place for understanding common public health ethics issues in disasters. We encourage you to visit the site at

Public Health and Social Justice

As we announced in the previous newsletter and fitting with the theme of this year’s APHA Annual Meeting in Denver, Ethics SPIG member Dr. Martin Donohoe has created a new Web site for students, educators and the general public called Public Health and Social Justice ( Updated regularly, the site contains articles, slide shows, syllabi and other documents relevant to topics in public health and social justice. References for most of the information contained in the slide shows can be found in the accompanying articles.

UNESCO Global Ethics Observatory (GEObs): Database on Resources in Ethics

The sixth GEObs Database on Resources in Ethics was officially launched in October 2008, and is freely accessible online to all Member States and the general public in the six official languages of UNESCO (i.e. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish). This new database is designed to reinforce ethics teaching, especially in regions where such activities are absent or minimal, by making resources in ethics available online through the GEObs. In this way, such resources can be accessed and downloaded by individual teachers as study materials to aid them in the creation of new ethics teaching programs, or to strengthen existing teaching programs. It would also be the repository for study materials of the proposed UNESCO Bioethics Core Curriculum. Ethics teachers and experts are invited to contribute to the content of this database in order to ensure that a wide variety of regional and cultural perspectives are represented. You can send contributions to the database and requests for further information to: To access the GEObs Database on Resources in Ethics directly, visit

Future Issues of the Newsletter

Have Your Event or Web Site Highlighted in Future issues of the Newsletter:

Have something you’d like to include in the Spring 2010 newsletter? Contact Newsletter Editor Sean Philpott at

A Letter From the New Ethics SPIG Chair

A Letter From the New Ethics SPIG Chair:

We anticipate with great excitement and interest the upcoming 138th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Denver, Nov. 6-10, 2010. This year’s theme, Social Justice, is especially relevant for our Ethics Special Primary Interest Group (Ethics SPIG), and we hope to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of all work that falls within the scope of this topic. We thank you for your past and ongoing participation, interest and communications with our SPIG and welcome any suggestions you have for full exploration of this theme from the perspective of public health ethics.  As always, we are particularly interested in greater student involvement in our sessions and activities and welcome student engagement in Denver and throughout the year.

Let me take this opportunity to thank outgoing SPIG Chair Andrea Kalfoglou for her wonderful leadership over this past year and to congratulate SPIG Chair-Elect Bruce Jennings and Program Chair-Elect Sean Philpott, who also currently serves as newsletter editor. I’d also like to thank Dr. Kalfoglou for serving as the membership chair for 2010, and to thank Dr. Kirk Allison for his continuing service as Webmaster, as well as for his efforts in backstopping all of the Ethics SPIG officers throughout 2009 and 2010.

In terms of official business, we look forward to your participation at the Annual Meeting Ethics SPIG business meeting.  This is an opportunity to participate in the ongoing development of the Ethics SPIG and to inquire about serving in a variety of capacities including as membership chair, Webmaster, program chair, newsletter editor, and ultimately as chair, and in liaison capacities to other SPIGs and Sections, as well as on APHA committees.

In terms of membership, we continue our major drive to increase membership in efforts to transition from SPIG to Section status. Please do continue to reach out to others and especially encourage friends and colleagues to join the Ethics SPIG under the secondary affiliation option under which one can add up to two additional affiliations beyond one's primary designation. This is particularly attractive as public health ethics cuts across many public health domains. (For additional details contact APHA Member Services Coordinator Yvonne Kazim at

Finally, thank you to all who participated in reviewing and submitting abstracts this year; we greatly appreciate your efforts and thank you for your continued commitment to the Ethics SPIG.


Jennifer Prah Ruger

Ethics SPIG Chair