What Does Social Justice Require for the Public's Health? Public Health Ethics and Policy Imperatives

9 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2006 Last revised: 4 May 2015

See all articles by Lawrence O. Gostin

Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Madison Powers

Georgetown University - Kennedy Institute of Ethics

Abstract

Justice is so central to the mission of public health that it has been described as the field's core value. Our account of justice stresses the fair disbursement of common advantages and sharing of common burdens. It captures the twin moral impulses that animate public health: to advance human well-being by improving health and to do so particularly by focusing on the needs of the most disadvantaged. This commentary explores how social justice sheds light on major ongoing controversies in the field, and it provides examples of the kinds of policies that public health agencies guided by a robust conception of justice would adopt.

Keywords: public health, health law and policy, justice

JEL Classification: K00, K32, I10, I18

Suggested Citation

Gostin, Lawrence O. and Powers, Madison, What Does Social Justice Require for the Public's Health? Public Health Ethics and Policy Imperatives. Health Affairs, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 1053-1060, July/August 2006; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 920480. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=920480

Lawrence O. Gostin (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9038 (Phone)
202-662-9055 (Fax)

Madison Powers

Georgetown University - Kennedy Institute of Ethics ( email )

Box 571212
Healy Hall 4th Flr
Washington, DC 20057-1212
United States
202-687-6821 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://kennedyinstitute.georgetown.edu/index.htm

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