Week 6: Public Health Ethics, Social Justice and Poverty
1. Social Justice vs. Market Justice
Public health nurses are also guided by the principles of market justice and social justice (Cornerstones of Public Health Nursing, MDH 2007). The economy of the United States has been shaped by the concept of market justice. Under this principle, people are entitled only to those things that they have acquired by their own individual efforts, actions, or abilities. The principle of social justice on the other hand is that the benefits of society should be fairly and equitably distributed to assure the functioning of society as a whole. Social justice reflects the belief that everyone should have the same access to societal resources and those societal resources should be used to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. Market justice reflects the belief that people deserve what they earn. At times, the principles of market justice and social justice are in conflict. Both perspectives have value. However, citizens do not necessarily agree with each other on which form of justice or set of beliefs should direct how health care is provided to the population as a whole. Review the Market Justice-Social Justice Table 13.4 (p. 257) and section on Market Justice vs. Social Justice (p. 256) in Schoon, Porta, & Schaffer (2019) to answer the following questions.
a. Which concept of justice is the best fit for you? Explain. No right or wrong answer. This is only an opportunity for reflection.
b. Pick either market or social justice and explain how advocating for that type of justice could improve the health of vulnerable populations and eliminate health disparities.
c. Why is it important for you to understand your beliefs around social justice?
2. Unnatural Causes Reflection
While we all will die, the video “Unnatural Causes” introduces you to what is called excess death. For instance, the video considers death in populations as it relates to unexpected age of death, degree of suffering, and to what degree causes are due to preventable diseases compared to what we would expect. Population health is shaped by social and economic conditions in which we are born, live, and work. Though this video is dated, many of the issues addressed may still have relevance. After watching the video, answer the following questions.
a. How may your position on the class pyramid affect your health? Provide examples.
b. What social changes have been most responsible for the 30-year increase in American life expectancy over the 20th century?
c. Identify at least two public health issues addressed in the video, and provide a rationale for if these currently remain issues. Include any associated/potential lasting effects of these public health issues.
d. Identify a local issue that came to mind for you in viewing this film in the community where you live, work, or play. What can public health nurses do to influence change related to this issue?
3. Health Equity & Health Disparities
a. Provide an actual example in which your local community has met/addressed health equity or health disparity needs within your community. What health concerns or social determinants were addressed? How did your community address this need? What population benefited from this initiative?
b. Identify a health equity or health disparity concern in your local community that still needs to be addressed. Identify and describe at least 2 causes or social health determinants associated with this concern. What population is most vulnerable? What are the potential long-term consequences for the vulnerable population if this concern is not addressed? Describe an example of a community or systems level of practice public health intervention to address this public health concern.