Ethics and Epidemiology / Edition 2

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Written by epidemiologists, ethicists and legal scholars, this book provides an in-depth exploration of the moral dilemmas that routinely confront epidemiologists, including both theoretical and practical issues. An excellent introduction surveys the theoretical and practical problems while leading issues are examined in later chapters though an up-to-date, solid analysis. Topics covered include informed consent, privacy and confidentiality protection, the balancing of risks and benefits, vulnerable populations, institutional review boards, and professional education. All the articles collected in this volume are original, and each includes detailed references and an extensive bibliography. Epidemiologists, public health researchers, bioethicists, and health policy-makers will value the insight this book provides into the ethical dilemmas faced in epidemiologic research.

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Daniel Bustillos, JD, PhD (Saint Louis University)
Description: This general introduction to ethical issues pertinent to the field of epidemiology is much needed in this rapidly changing field and the book provides a timely update to the 1999 edition.
Purpose: In addition to a general introduction, the book provides an in-depth look at the practical and theoretical ethical issues that most concern epidemiologists and practitioners in fields related to epidemiology.
Audience: It is aimed at students, scholars, and practitioners of epidemiology. The authors are well known and respected contributors to this and other fields. The multidisciplinary makeup of the contributors bolsters their credibility in the interdisciplinary field of public health ethics.
Features: The contributors are a diverse group of scholars and practitioners who cover several foundational topics such as the moral basis for public health ethics and discuss how this differs from other applied ethics fields, such as medical ethics. Chapters take an in-depth look at certain ethical provinces within a more general public health ethics such as the consequentialist balancing of risks versus benefits and the special problems raised by epidemiological research on human subjects. The book is most successful as a general textbook for students of the ethics of epidemiology and for those who teach this oft-neglected subject in schools of public health. Of special interest for professors is the final chapter which argues persuasively for a robust curriculum of the ethics of epidemiology and gives concrete examples.
Assessment: This much needed update is a successful and serious addition to the discourse of public health ethics. Textbooks and narrower treatises abound in this area, but many suffer from a general thinness of discussion and philosophical sophistication on the topics they choose to cover. This book provides rigorous ethical analysis coupled with an accessible writing style and tone so as not to alienate uninitiated readers.
Jay S. Kaufman
In this new book, practicing epidemiologists, ethicists, and other contributors discuss the intersection of these two fields. The development of ethical guidelines is reviewed as well as their philosophical foundation and practical application. Several practical issues are highlighted, including informed consent, confidentiality, protection of certain vulnerable populations, and the development of an ethics curriculum for students of epidemiology. The purpose is to review for both the student and the practicing researcher the development and application of ethical guidelines within the field, as well as their rationale. The preface touches on issues of responsibility and obligation faced by researchers that are not well developed in the subsequent chapters. The book is appropriate for epidemiologists and students in the field as well as for others who are involved with human subjects research. The practical orientation of the book makes it perhaps less useful to pure ethicists, although references cited provide ample direction for those who desire a more detailed philosophical or historical treatment. The first several chapters provide overview and foundations, whereas subsequent chapters pursue specific practical questions. Those subjects highlighted are well defined and clearly presented. Many difficult issues are omitted, however, or mentioned only in passing, including the ethical consequences of racial and ethnic comparisons, the conduct of genetic epidemiology, and the myriad of problems encountered when conducting research in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This book is a useful and much needed addition to the epidemiologist's bookshelf. Ethical instruction is especiallylacking in training programs, and this work provides the basis for an ethics curriculum. Although several important ethical questions are left undiscussed, the practical orientation of this book and its accessible format and language give it great potential for having a positive impact in our field.
From the Publisher

"Epidemiologists, public health researchers, bioethicists, and health policymakers will value the insight this book provides into the ethical dilemmas faced in epidemiological research."--Issues in Law and Medicine

"This book is a useful and much needed addition to the epidemiologist's bookshelf....The practical orientation of this book and its accessible format and language give it great potential for having a positive impact in our field."--Doody's Health Sciences Book Review Journal

Reviewed in Journal of the American Medical Association

"A carefully and clearly reasoned discussion....Excellent"--The New England Journal of Medicine

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195322934
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/19/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 2.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven S. Coughlin, M.P.H., Ph.D., received graduate degrees from San Diego State University and Johns Hopkins University. He is currently Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Program in Public Health Ethics at Tulane University. He is eEditor of Ethics in Epidemiology and Clinical Research, a member of the editorial board of Epidemiology, and Associate Editor of the American Journal of Epidemiology. His main interests are in professional ethics in epidemiology and the prevention and control of chronic diseases.
Tom L. Beauchamp, Ph.D., received graduate degrees from Yale University and Johns Hopkins University. He is presently Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. He is the author of Philosophical Ethics and co-author of Principles of Biomedical Ethics, A History and Theory of Informed Consent, and Medical Ethics. Also, he is one of three general editors of the critical edition of the philosophical works of David Hume. His main interests in philosophy are in ethical theory, professional ethics, and the history of modern philosophy.

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Table of Contents

1 Historical Foundations 5
2 Moral Foundations 24
3 Professional Standards of Conduct for Epidemiologists 53
4 Epistemology and Ethics in Epidemiology 76
5 Legal and Ethical Considerations for Securing Consent to Epidemiologic Research in the United States 97
6 Confidentiality and Privacy Protection in Epidemiologic Research 128
7 Ethically Optimized Study Designs in Epidemiology 145
8 Ethical Issues in the Design and Conduct of Community-Based Intervention Studies 156
9 Ethical Issues in the Interaction with Subjects and Disclosure of Results 178
10 Ethical Issues in Epidemiologic Research with Children 199
11 The Ethics of Epidemiologic Research with Older Populations 219
12 Ethics and Epidemiology in the Age of AIDS 239
13 The Institutional Review Board 257
14 Scientific Misconduct in Epidemiologic Research 274
15 Toward an Ethics Curriculum in Epidemiology 290
Index 305
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