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Ethical Dilemmas in Health for Social Work and Other Health Professions

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SW705, Section 001

From a beginning in efforts to protect human rights in biomedical research, the field of health-related ethics, sometimes called “bioethics” has grown rapidly. It now encompasses such major areas as equity of access to, and delivery of, health care services, and the impact of the rapid proliferation of technologies (e.g. genetic and advanced diagnostic testing, prenatal, mind-altering and life-prolonging treatments) on how human life is defined, and on health care decisions and quality of life. While many of these issues, and the dilemmas they create, focus on the rights and burdens of individuals and families, ethical dilemmas in health have increasingly far-reaching implications for communities and societies. These dilemmas pose challenges to social workers, social service and health care practitioners, administrators, policy makers and social and health scientists. Issues that have traditionally been private concerns are increasingly played out in the public arena, with passionate constituencies and extensive, and often inflammatory, media attention. The key roles and importance of well-trained and practiced social workers and other health care providers, administrators, planners and policy makers in assuring equitable treatment and protecting individuals, communities and societies, provide the central rationale for this course.

This course will use a case-study approach. It will use ethical frameworks from social work, medicine, public health, nursing, psychology and others health-related fields for decision-making, both generally and as applied to specific dilemmas. The course will also include discussion of conflicts between professional ethics codes and federal, state and local laws, regulations and codes (e.g. penal, mental health).

Semester: Fall 2017
Instructor: Edith C. Kieffer
U-M Class #: 31846
Program Type: Residential
Credits: 3 Credit Hours

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