For over 100 years, the field of contemporary public health has existed to improve the health of communities and populations. As public health practitioners conduct their work – be it focused on preventing transmission of infectious diseases, or prevention of injury, or prevention of and cures for chronic conditions – ethical dimensions arise. Borrowing heavily from the ethical tools developed for research ethics and bioethics, the nascent field of public health ethics soon began to feel the limits of the clinical model and began creating different frameworks to guide its ethical challenges. Several public health ethics frameworks have been introduced since the late 1990s, ranging from extensions of principle-based models to human rights and social justice perspectives to those based on political philosophy. None has coalesced as the framework of choice in the discipline of public health. This paper examines several of the most-known frameworks of public health ethics for their common theoretical underpinnings and values, and suggests next steps toward the formulation of a single framework.