Limited resources in public health
In this writing assignment, you will analyze the ethical concerns related to distributive justice.
Step 1: Read the following case study
The public health system in the United States has long been underfunded. Analyses by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that federal, state, and local health departments often are hampered by limited funds and consequently unable to carry out core functions.1
Budget shortfalls pose difficult decisions for local health departments about which programs will be discontinued. These decisions are often “tragic choices” in which programs that are valuable for the community’s health must be sacrificed in order for other programs and services to survive.
In response to chronic underfunding and pressing health needs, public health agencies increasingly are looking to the private sector as a funding source, and in some instances public health organizations have developed partnerships with the private sector as a way to achieve important health goals. These public-private partnerships (PPP) have been promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and have played an instrumental role in addressing global health issues, such as access to drugs and vaccines in poor countries.2,3
You are the director of a local public health department facing a significant decrease in state funds for the coming financial year. The budget cuts threaten a major health promotion initiative developed in response to a recent study showing that rates of obesity are particularly high in your area. The planned initiative targets childhood obesity, and has received significant input and support from the local community. After budget cuts are implemented the cost of the initiative will exceed the department’s available funds for health promotion activities.
A national company that makes products for the diet industry, including diet shakes and other meal supplements, has offered money to your department for health promotion activities in your community. Many of this company’s products promote extreme diets and dieting techniques. The funds offered will enable the department to implement its planned initiative targeting childhood obesity.
In exchange for the funds the company wants their logo to be used on all educational materials distributed to the community.
Step 2: In a 500+ word paper discuss the following:
- Analyze the impending budget cuts and the impact to the community.
- Compare and contrast the potential risks and benefits for the local community of a partnership between the diet products company and the health department
- Identify if any ethical conflicts are present in the case. If so, what ethical concerns are present?
- Make a recommendation based on your ethical approach.