Common topics discerned in ethics in epidemiology and public health syllabi: in-depth review

Way Way M. Hlaing, Nicholas A. Kushch, Aidan E. Wells, Kenneth W. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


This commentary reviews ethics in epidemiology and public health (PH) syllabi collected in 2011 and 2018. The syllabi repository was an American College of Epidemiology (ACE) Ethics Committee project to support institutions and faculty introducing, furthering or improving ethics in epidemiology and public health courses. Of 83 syllabi from 52 accredited public health schools and programs, 80 were reviewed to identify the most common ethics topics. The extracted information was categorized into eight main groups: (1) ethical/moral foundations and theories; (2) case studies in epidemiology/PH; (3) ethical issues in PH practice; (4) ethical issues in general epidemiologic/PH research; (5) ethical issues in specific research areas; (6) ethical issues in information technology; (7) ethical issues in other emerging topics in epidemiology/PH; and (8) others. The frequency of topics in each category was computed, and common topics were presented. Ethical issues absent from the syllabi were inferred. This commentary is intended to promote a dialog among those desiring to elevate epidemiology and public health ethics to an educational level commensurate with its importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-34
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Curriculum
  • Epidemiology
  • Ethics
  • Public health
  • Syllabi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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