Health Science
Ethical, Legal, and Social Change Implications
Most fields, including professionals working in the field of public health, have their own stated standards of practice and ethical considerations. Professionals also have specific legal considerations that they must follow based on the jurisdiction in which they practice. As advocates, public health professionals work to improve population health in their communities and beyond. Whether their cause is influenced by the media or societal trends, advocates must be ethical and considerate of individual rights.
This week, you examine the impact of societal trends on public health policy. You explore ethical and legal barriers to advocacy in regards to employment settings. You also examine the role of advocacy in influencing positive social change.
Assess the impact of societal trends on public health policy
Analyze impact of public health policy on social change
Analyze legal and ethical barriers to advocacy
Analyze role of special interest groups in the creation of public health policy
Analyze social change implications of advocacy
Differentiate key terms, concepts, and principles related to ethical, legal, and social change implications of policy advocacy
Berman, M. L. (2011). From health care reform to public health reform. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 39(3), 328–339.
Blacksher, E. (2008). Carrots and sticks to promote healthy behaviors: A policy update. Hastings Center Report, 38(3), 13–16.
Vernick, J. S. (1999). Lobbying and advocacy for the public’s health: What are the limits for nonprofit organizations? American Journal of Public Health, 89(9), 1425–1430.
ACT UP. (n.d.). AIDS coalition to unleash power. Retrieved April 27, 2012 from
American Cancer Society. (2012). Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Priorities and resources in public health. Baltimore, MD: Author.
“Priorities and Resources in Public Health” Transcript
Optional Resources
Marsa, L. (2011). Fracking nation. Discover, 32(4), 62–70.
Hungry for Change. (n.d.) Food, Inc. Retrieved from
Food Politics. (n.d.). Retrieved on April 27, 2012, from
Gasland. (n.d.). Hydraulic fracturing FAQs. Retrieved from (2012). The health care law & you. Retrieved from
Partners in Health. (n.d.). Retrieved on April 27, 2012, from
U.S. House of Representatives (2010). Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Retrieved from
Discussion: Considering How Societal Trends Impact Health Policy
In the Week 2 Discussion, you examined how media such as news reports, articles, books, and films can impact health policies. Societal trends also can impact public health policy. Examples of societal trends include fracking (hydraulic fracturing), Affordable Health Care Act, and Food Politics. The public health policies that are formulated from these trends can impact social change. What other societal trends have produced large changes? How did these trends impact public health and public health policy?
To prepare
Review the Berman and Blacksher articles, as well as the following websites: Act Up, American Cancer Society, Food Politics, Gasland,, and Partners in Health. Reflect on how societal trends influence health policy and advocacy work.
View the media “Priorities and Resources in Public Health.”
Research societal trends that impact public health policy. Consider a range of public health policies such as environmental, health care, food, tobacco, etc.
Select a trend that you think has the greatest impact on public health policy.
With these thoughts in mind:

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