Ethical dilemmas in public health

Public health leaders must grapple with, and lead their organizations through, any number
of ethically challenging circumstances. In this Discussion you will select a case study and
apply basic principles of ethical analysis to the issue.

Ethical dilemmas in public health

A proposal was developed to build a uranium-enrichment facility in Homer, Lousiana.
This facility was known to cause high levels of pollution in the surrounding environment
following its establishment. Homer was selected as the appropriate site for location of the facility
since its occupants were African-Americans, and it was one of the poorest towns in the US.
Members of this city had no power to oppose this decision because they were poor and belonged
to the minority group. Experts from outside offered to help the Homer inhabitants in stopping the
establishment of the facility.
The appropriate principles of ethical practice and public health that would apply in the
above cause would be the fifth principle. According to the principle,” public health should seek
the information needed to implement effective policies and programs that protect and promote
health”. Regarding this principle, it will be vital to collect several data on the level of uranium
that will be emitted into the surrounding, the anticipated effects, and the approximate size of the
population that will be affected. Upon careful review of the information revealed by the analysis
of data, it would be imperative to choose to locate the facility in a place that is not occupied by
people (Burke and Friedman, 2011). 
Establishing this facility in a place that is not occupied by people would mean additional
expenditures. Additionally, there will be several barriers including inaccessible transport and
communication lines, lack of electricity and sufficient water supply. Other costs may be

ETHICAL DILEMMAS IN PUBLIC HEALTH 2
warranted in order to overcome these obstacles and successful establishment of the facility
(Burke and Friedman,2011). 
In conclusion, these actions align with my personal views regarding community health.
Every person in the community, despite of their ethnic backgrounds, social and economic status,
should occupy a physical environment that assures them of good health. Setting up a uranium-
enrichment facility in Homer, Lousiana would be against the “Principles of the Ethical Practice
of Public Health” since the health of the occupants of Homer will be compromised.

ETHICAL DILEMMAS IN PUBLIC HEALTH 3

References

Burke, R. E., & Friedman, L. H. (2011). Essentials of management and leadership in public
health. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

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