Public Health Ethics 8 (2):173-184 (2015)

Authors
Maxwell Smith
University of Western Ontario
Abstract
Health equity is increasingly identified as a principal goal to be achieved through public health policies and activities. However, what is to be measured in the assessment of health equity and how inequities in health ought to be redressed are among the pressing questions that must be answered if health equity is to serve as a meaningful and consistent ethical guide for measurement and intervention in public health. In this article I argue that the concept of health equity, in the form it is predominantly found in public health, suffers from normative indeterminacy and is therefore unlikely to provide actionable normative guidance to public health policy-makers, practitioners and researchers. I argue that the concept of health equity, as it is commonly defined in public health, ultimately rests upon assumptions of a more fundamental, yet tacit, conception of justice to do its normative work. In this vein, I expand upon a critique of Margaret Whitehead’s oft-cited definition of health equity made by James Wilson to raise additional reasons not explored by Wilson, or others, as to why Whitehead’s definition remains inadequate in providing normative guidance to policy-makers, practitioners and researchers in public health
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DOI 10.1093/phe/phu042
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References found in this work BETA

Just Health: Meeting Health Needs Fairly.Norman Daniels - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
Just Health Care.Norman Daniels - 1985 - Cambridge University Press.
Health, Luck, and Justice.Shlomi Segall - 2009 - Princeton University Press.
Just Health Care.Cheyney Ryan - 1990 - Philosophical Review 99 (2):287.

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Citations of this work BETA

Justice, Inequality, and Health.Gopal Sreenivasan - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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