Public Health Objectives
With respect to education in the discipline of Public Health, the Faculty of Health Sciences bases its practice upon a Public Health Code of Ethics. Specific statements of value and belief about health, community, persons, teaching and learning are available from the program.
1. Employs complex thinking processes in the public health practice.
2. Is a reflective practitioner and a life-long teacher/learner.
3. Is an excellent communicator.
4. Bases practice in sound knowledge from the arts and humanities; and from the biological, social, health, and public health sciences.
5. Demonstrates a holistic understanding of the determinants of population health and health promotion strategies for work with diverse individuals, groups, and communities. Service learning and practicum placements offer opportunities for the integration of theory in practice.
6. Demonstrates information management, data analysis, and risk management skills.
7. Demonstrates skills in core public health competencies at the level of a beginning practitioner with a concentration on skills in applied public health (e.g. chronic disease management, health aging, and mental health promotion), health promotion/health policy, or public health administration.
8. Utilizes public health and health promotion research as a foundation to support and evaluate public health practice. Demonstrates the knowledge and skills to participate in research and to apply critically and appropriately evidence in their practice.
9. Demonstrates a commitment to public health values, principles, and ethics and to the discipline of public health.
Standards of Professional Conduct
The ethical standards expected of students and faculty are guided by the Public Health Code of Ethics of the Public Health Leadership Society [PHLS] (2002) and the American Public Health Association [APHA] (2002). Currently, a public health code of ethics is under review by the Public Health Agency of Canada and public health partners. The values and beliefs underlying the PHLS/APHA Code of Ethics for Public Health are as follows:
a. Health & Wellbeing: Humans have a right to the resources necessary for health and wellbeing. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is affirmed by public health practitioners.
b. Community: Humans are inherently social and interdependent. Positive relationships (among individuals, families, groups, institutions, and communities) contribute to healthy communities. Each person in a community should have an opportunity to contribute to public discourse. Collaboration is a key element to public health. The rights of individuals and one’s right to make decisions for one’s self must be balanced against the common good and impacts on other people (e.g., vulnerable members of society).
c. Trust: Communication underlies public trust and the development of trusting relationships. Factors that contribute to trust include: truth telling, transparency, accountability, reliability, and reciprocity. Listening as well as speaking is a critical part of reciprocity and communication with communities.
d. Interdependence: People (individuals, families, and communities) and their environments (physical and social) are interdependent.
e. Basis for Action: Knowledge is important and powerful. Science is the basis for much of public health knowledge (including both qualitative and quantitative methods). Knowledge is not morally neutral and often demands action. Public health practitioners have a moral obligation to share what is known, to work in collaboration with communities/partners, and to take timely action based on what is known.
Respect & Dignity: Respect for the fundamental value and dignity of each human being informs public health action. Information alone is not adequate as a basis for action. Values inform the application of information or the choice of action in the absence of information.