in Lugano (Università della Svizzera italiana) and online, Switzerland

Identifying and Navigating Ethical Issues in Public Health

blended course
when 19 August 2024 - 21 August 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 1 EC
fee CHF 850

Imagine you had a vaccine that, if given to one million children, can prevent 11,000 hospitalizations and 2,500 severe cases of disease, but that will also cause 1,000 hospitalizations and 500 severe cases of diseases in children who would not otherwise have fallen ill. Would you initiate a widespread vaccination program in a disease-endemic region? Is it ethical to give the armed gang in your community money so they let medical supplies go through? Should you accept funding from a popular fast food company when developing a campaign to fight obesity? What criteria should you use to allocate a private donation of 10 million dollars that the donor has given to you to address a problem related to “global health”?

Public health policy, practice, and research entail numerous ethical challenges. How should one decide what the right thing to do is? This course will equip participants with the tools, skills, and know-how that are necessary to assess and deal with ethical challenges that may arise in high, middle and low income countries. We will discuss real-life cases from participant's experiences, explore ethical approaches, and engage in ethical deliberations to find ethically-justifiable solutions.

Course leader

Dr. Marta Fadda & Dr. Caroline Brall

Course aim

By the end of the course, participants will:
- Be familiar with several real-life ethical challenges that may arise in public health work conducted in low, middle, and high income countries;
- Be able to critically reflect on a wide range of ethical arguments for addressing these issues, such as consequences and ethical principles;
- Be able to critically evaluate the feasibility of different solutions in the face of real-world constraints;
- Know how to identify an ethical issue and how to find an ethically justifiable solution based on ethical frameworks and values.

Credits info

1 EC
In order to get the Certificate of completion and the 1 ECTS participants MUST:
- Attend at least 80% of the course;
- Attend the plenary(s) offered during the days of the course;
- Actively participate in the course;
- Deliver a final presentation (to be delivered on day 3): it should last approximately 10 minutes and is intended to allow participants to demonstrate their critical reasoning on a public or global health ethical challenge of their choice.

Fee info

CHF 850: Online participation. 850 CHF as early bird price (until May 1st), 1000 CHF as normal price (after May first).
CHF 1000: Onsite participation. 1000 CHF as early bird price (until May 1st), 1200 CHF as normal price (after May first).


Discounts are available for PhD and Master students and participants from LMICs. Some scholarships are available especially for participants from LMICs.