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The Two Most Important Questions for Ethical Public Health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numberFDZ005
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Public Health (United Kingdom)
Early online date4 Jul 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 3 Jan 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 4 Jul 2019


Public health ethics is a distinct and established field, and it is important that its approaches and rationales are understood widely in the public health community. Such understanding includes the capacity to identify and combine principled and practical concerns in public health. In this paper, we present a background to the ideas that motivate public health ethics as a field of research and practice, and rationalise these through a critical ethico-legal approach to analysis. Two essential points of inquiry are identified and formulated to allow philosophical and practical agendas regarding public health to be combined. These come through asking the theoretical question ‘what makes health public?’; and the practical question ‘how do we make health public?’. We argue that these two questions require to be addressed if we are to achieve a robust and rigorous, ethical public health.

    Structured keywords

  • Bristol Population Health Science Institute

    Research areas

  • Ethics, Public Health

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Oxford University of Press at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 153 KB, PDF document


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