Two key groups of researchers have worked in parallel to advance health equity—one on the descriptive component (those in public health sciences, e.g., epidemiologists) and one on the normative component (those in the humanities and social sciences, e.g., philosophers and ethicists). Yet a significant gulf exists between their respective research. Consequently, advances in thinking regarding the philosophical underpinnings and normative requirements of health equity have been largely divorced from the design of public health interventions that seek to reduce health inequities. As a consequence, public health interventions aiming to advance health equity may fail to target the most appropriate populations or the most ethically important health disparities and therefore likely fail to achieve the most ‘equitable’ health outcomes. At the same time, without empirically testing different philosophical criteria of health equity, philosophers will end up producing guidance for the design and implementation of public health interventions that may ultimately have undesirable (or less desirable) outcomes in practice. To discuss the contours of this challenge and possible avenues to address it, a meeting was held on December 5, 2022 at the University Club of Toronto with support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Public Health Ontario, Western University, and the University of Toronto. In this meeting report, we summarize the workshop proceedings, report key findings based on the expert contributions of meeting participants, and identify next steps.
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Citation of this paper:
Ritchie Z, Smith BT, Smith MJ. (2023). Ethics and Epidemiology Workshop Report: Towards Ethics-Informed Epidemiology and Epidemiology-Informed Ethics. Western University: London, Ontario, Canada.