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PBHE532 - Ethical Issues in Public Health

Course Details

Course Code: PBHE532 Course ID: 3888 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course will investigate ethical issues in public health through discussion of case studies and applicable ethical theories.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
05/21/21 - 10/29/21 11/01/21 - 12/26/21 Fall 2021 Session I 8 Week session
06/28/21 - 12/03/21 12/06/21 - 01/30/22 Fall 2021 Session D 8 Week session
07/27/21 - 12/31/21 01/03/22 - 02/27/22 Winter 2022 Session B 8 Week session
08/31/21 - 02/04/22 02/07/22 - 04/03/22 Winter 2022 Session I 8 Week session
09/28/21 - 03/04/22 03/07/22 - 05/01/22 Winter 2022 Session D 8 Week session
10/26/21 - 04/01/22 04/04/22 - 05/29/22 Spring 2022 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Explain a rationale for the study of ethical theories and issues in the public health profession.
  2. Explain various codes of ethical conduct for health professions.
  3. Explain the role of ethics in health conduct and policy.
  4. Explain a personal and professional code of ethics.
  5. Develop a decision-making ability through discussion and case study.
  6. Discuss a reasonable and feasible future course of action for public health ethics.


Please join the Discussion each week. Replies must be posted in the week due and replies after the end of the each week will not be graded or receive credit. The discussions are for student interaction and input and must be submitted before the week ends in order to receive full credit. Students should demonstrate their own knowledge in the discussions and avoid copying and pasting from websites. The Rubric is attached to discussion description.


Initial Response:

  • Post your initial response to each discussion by 11:55pm, ET, Wednesday.
  • Initial responses should have substance where students explore, explain, and expand upon issues being discussed, and apply relevant course materials.
  • Students should analyze course concepts, theories or materials correctly, using examples or supporting evidence.
  • Initial responses should be supported by at least two references (APA referencing format is not required for discussions)

Peer Responses:

  • For each discussion, reply to at least 2 of your classmates by 11:55pm, ET, Sunday.
  • Students are required to respond to at least two (2) other student’s initial postings (and the instructor) with significant comments that have substance.
  • Students should collaborate with fellow learners, relating the discussion to course concepts, add several innovative ideas, and provide considerable additional insight that relates to core concepts.
  • Peer responses should include at least two (2) of the following components: Offering advice; posing a question; providing an alternative point-of-view; and acknowledging similar experiences.
  • Peer responses should be supported by at least one reference (APA referencing format is not required for discussions)
  • All discussions can be accessed in the discussion section of the course.
  • A Discussion rubric is included in the discussion section of the course
  • More in-depth specific instructions for each discussion can be found in the discussion tab within the course.
  • Late Discussion posts receive a 10% per day late penalty. If your 2 peer responses are posted after the week is ended (after Day 7, Sunday) they receive a zero, and that the discussion is finished. You cannot receive credit for participation in a discussion with others after the discussion week has closed.
  • If there are less than 3 students in the course, only one (1) peer posting will be required. Your peer postings should challenge or expound upon at least one of the points made by your peer, and “I agree” does not constitute as an adequate response. As graduate students, you will be expected to provide comprehensive, relevant and well supported points in your assignments.

We all bring something unique to the classroom, from our understanding, our experiences, and our value systems. We honor and respect each person’s diverse beliefs to help us see beyond the classroom to be the most effective individuals we can be. Therefore, we should all be respectful of others while expressing our viewpoints and opinions. Proper Netiquette behavior is expected. Any inflammatory, demeaning or disrespectful language in a posting will be immediately removed from the discussion space.


Case Studies: Students will be required to complete 5 case studies for this course (Due weeks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6). These case studies will be located in a folder in the Course Materials tab. Students will review ethical dilemmas and will provide recommendations on how to ethically manage and resolve the issue. In your response, assess the risks involved in the situation and discuss the ethical implications (and/or legal implications) and provide a rationale the steps your chose for your resolution. Students must: Identify the major ethical and or legal issue(s) in the scenario; identify all those invested in outcome (e.g. family members, patient, doctors, hospital administration, policy makers, etc); identify one action plan to resolve issue(s) – with proper literature support; discuss personal reaction to the scenario. Case study assignments should be no less than 1000 words in length, and proper grammar, spelling and APA format are required. These assignments are to be submitted to the Assignment area of the course.

Final Paper: Students will be required to complete an 8-10 page final paper for this course. The final paper will require the student to select a topic related to an ethical issue in health care. Since topics may vary, formatting will as well; however, students will need to provide:

  • Abstract
  • Overview, current scope of selected topic on the field of public health
    • If applicable, a historical perspective on past and present legal/political impact of selected issue
  • Review of literature
    • Current impact topic has on various entities (legal system, policies, health care research, etc)
  • Discussion/Recommendations
    • Policy or legal modifications
  • Future implications

All papers will require an abstract (no more than 150 words), and referencing/citations in proper APA format (these items will not be included in required page total). Any graphs or charts provided must be included in an appendix (these items will not be included in required page total). Your selected topic must be approved by the instructor (via email) by the end of Week 4. Your paper will be due by the end of Week 7.

Exams: There will be a final exam for this course. This exam will consist of 10 essay questions and will be untimed. Students must complete the final by the end of week 8.

Your paper must include at least 8-10 scholarly references (no Wikipedia!). Avoid use of secondary sources like websites or textbooks, instead us primary, scholarly journals, reports, etc. If you include a graph or chart (data), the chart/graph should take up NO MORE than ¼ page, and be properly cited.

APA 6th edition format (these items will not be included in the required page total). Also, any graphs or charts provided must be included in an appendix (these items will not be included in required page total).

Final Papers will be graded according to the 500-600 level Rubric.

  • More in-depth specific instructions for each assignment can be found in the Assignment tab within the course.
  • Assignments submitted late without advance notice will receive a 5% per day late penalty and will not be accepted for grading five (5) days past the due date.
  1. Refer to the Lessons and Resources sections in the classroom for information about all readings in this course.
  2. Each week’s Lesson contains all the material for the week.
  3. For most weeks, course readings are a mix of professional sources (such as peer-reviewed journal articles and governmental publications) and “popular” sources, such as newspaper articles, professional magazine articles, and websites intended for the public. All required course readings are freely downloadable from the course website, the APUS library or from other websites.
Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.