HEALTH 7000 - Ethical Challenges in Modern Health Care

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2020

This course provides students with ethical and philosophical tools to evaluate contemporary and emerging ethical challenges in modern health care and preventative health. These modern challenges occur both at the interpersonal level (e.g. practitioner-patient relations) and at broader levels (e.g. communities and populations). Modern health care and delivery is beginning to recognise the importance of more integrated or ?systems-based? approaches to health. This more integrated approach to health was urged by the 2010 Lancet Commission report, ?Health professionals for a new century.? That report also highlighted new infectious, environmental, and behavioural causes of poor health and the need for greater contextual understanding rather than a narrow technical health focus. This course reflects some of this emphasis. Because it addresses and compares health care at both the interpersonal and the population levels, it will be relevant to students interested in public and practitioner-patient health care, in synergies between those approaches, and in interprofessional teamwork that can overcome disciplinary silos. Current challenges to be covered in the course include the ethics of: preventative healthcare and health promotion; health ?nudging?; domestic and international health advocacy; interprofessional and multidisciplinary health teamwork; indigenous health; tackling ?upstream? health determinants that create physical and mental health problems. To allow students to address these current and emerging issues, the course introduces them to relevant core ethical theories/approaches such as utilitarianism, virtue ethics, liberalism, and communitarianism; and to ethical concepts/principles such as beneficence, non-maleficence, respect for autonomy, justice, proportionality, necessity, patient-centred care, human dignity, and rights. The course teaches and encourages critical ethical thinking about cutting-edge health issues ? ?hot-topic? questions in health ? enabling students to ethically evaluate and develop strategies for addressing current and emerging health challenges at various levels of health care and prevention.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code HEALTH 7000
    Course Ethical Challenges in Modern Health Care
    Coordinating Unit Health Sciences Faculty Office
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange
    Course Description This course provides students with ethical and philosophical tools to evaluate contemporary and emerging ethical challenges in modern health care and preventative health. These modern challenges occur both at the interpersonal level (e.g. practitioner-patient relations) and at broader levels (e.g. communities and populations).

    Modern health care and delivery is beginning to recognise the importance of more integrated or ?systems-based? approaches to health. This more integrated approach to health was urged by the 2010 Lancet Commission report, ?Health professionals for a new century.? That report also highlighted new infectious, environmental, and behavioural causes of poor health and the need for greater contextual understanding rather than a narrow technical health focus.

    This course reflects some of this emphasis. Because it addresses and compares health care at both the interpersonal and the population levels, it will be relevant to students interested in public and practitioner-patient health care, in synergies between those approaches, and in interprofessional teamwork that can overcome disciplinary silos.

    Current challenges to be covered in the course include the ethics of: preventative healthcare and health promotion; health ?nudging?; domestic and international health advocacy; interprofessional and multidisciplinary health teamwork; indigenous health; tackling ?upstream? health determinants that create physical and mental health problems.

    To allow students to address these current and emerging issues, the course introduces them to relevant core ethical theories/approaches such as utilitarianism, virtue ethics, liberalism, and communitarianism; and to ethical concepts/principles such as beneficence, non-maleficence, respect for autonomy, justice, proportionality, necessity, patient-centred care, human dignity, and rights.

    The course teaches and encourages critical ethical thinking about cutting-edge health issues ? ?hot-topic? questions in health ? enabling students to ethically evaluate and develop strategies for addressing current and emerging health challenges at various levels of health care and prevention.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr David Hunter

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Describe a range of current and emerging health ethics challenges affecting both individual patients and populations
    2 Explain key ethical and philosophical theories and concepts in health ethics
    3 Apply ethical theories and principles to health-related case studies, including analysing ethical tensions between individual and population health
    4 Justify strategies for addressing current ethical challenges
    5 Communicate ethical analysis of current health issues
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1 - 4
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    3 - 4
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    5
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    N/A
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1 - 5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    4 - 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    This course encourages and expects participants to read widely in order to gain a full understanding of the scope of public health ethics. Students must have a laptop computer (or equivalent).

    The two set texts for the course are:

    Holland S. (2014). Public Health Ethics (2nd Edition) Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Kerridge, I., Lowe, M., & Stewart, C. (2009). Ethics and law for the health professions. Sydney: Federation Press.

    Holland (2014) is available online in multiple copies at the Barr Smith Library, and also through UniBooks at the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia (City East campus) and Flinders University book shops.

    Further advice on Kerridge et al. (2009) will be provided at a later time.

    In addition, a reading list will be compiled which contains other required reading for the course – particularly in relation to emerging ethical challenges. This reading list is tied to specific topics and assessments. References and links will be made available on MyUni.

    Recommended Resources
    Additional reading, along with lecture notes and other teaching aids, will be made available to students electronically through MyUni.
    Online Learning

    Various course materials will be presented in MyUni. This will comprise the following:

    • Instructions/rubrics for assessments
    • Announcements
    • Discussion board
    • Lecture PowerPoints/other materials
    • Lecture recordings/videos
    • Links to required readings for lectures/tutorials
    • Links to additional/optional readings and websites
    • Online quizzes (formative and summative)
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    This course is targeted at postgraduate students in public health and various other health disciplines (e.g. allied health) who have had previous experience in research, essay writing, etc. Students will have – and will be encouraged to recall via the teaching and assessment activities – previous experience with and/or knowledge of health care and delivery. Accordingly, the learning will be pitched at students who have some such understanding of health practice and some of its moral issues, but who at the same time lack a detailed knowledge of health ethics and its tools.

    Students will have access to readings prior to the course. In tutorials, student attention and engagement will be promoted by group activities and discussions of cases, think-pair-share, etc. Tutor support will be of benefit for students who have English as a second language. Tutorials will explore in more detail the ideas and cases that are presented in lectures.

    Support for the MCQ/short answer 1-hour test will be delivered via sample questions presented online and during lectures/tutorials. For the group presentation, students will have the opportunity to discuss their work in progress with their tutor. Direction will be provided in lectures/tutorials on essay writing.

    The teaching will be specifically structured so as to scaffold and support learning. More basic subject material will begin earlier in the course, with more general introductions to ethical concepts and theories. It will then then build to higher levels of critical thinking and the application of core ideas to case studies as the course progresses.

    Workload

    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

    Specific Course Requirements
    Not applicable.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Not applicable.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcomes being assesed
    Online Quiz 1 Formative 0% 2
    Online Quiz 2 Summative 5% 2
    Group Project Presentation

    Replaced with paper presentation
    Summative 20% 1 - 5
    Major Argumentative Essay Summative 50% 1 - 5
    MCQ and Short Answer Test Summative 25% 2 - 4
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Not applicable
    Assessment Detail

    Task 1: Online quiz (summative 5%)
    A 10-minute online quiz will occur in week 4 in order to give students some early feedback on their understanding. It will be a short and low stakes assessment, worth 5% of the final mark. The quiz will consist of several MCQ and True/False questions, posted on MyUni with a time limit of several days for completion.

    Task 2: Group Presentation (summative 25%) - this assessment has been removed - see replacement details below
    The group presentation is a 15-minute presentation that will take place in the second half of the Semester. Students will early on in the Semester be assigned to small groups (e.g. 3-4 people). Several topics will be available, and groups will also have the option of choosing their own topic which must involve an ethical challenge in contemporary health care or delivery. Groups must determine how they will meet and communicate (e.g. via google doc online, etc.)

    All group members must work together to design and present an ethical analysis of their topic. The analysis should reflect all of the learning outcomes (1-5) of the course. That is, the presentation should involve: a clear description of the ethical issues in that topic; the use of ethical theories/concepts to analyse the issues; a recommendation and justification of option(s) that address the ethical challenges or questions; team work and the clear communication of the argument to a group of peers.  

    Task 3: Major argumentative essay (Summative: 50%)
    Students will individually complete a 2500-word argumentative essay on a hot topic in health ethics. It will be due toward the end of Semester, but before the exam period. The essay is designed to test higher-level thinking skills, as is appropriate for postgraduate students. Accordingly, it requires students to not only identify, explain, and analyse ethical issues in the chosen topic, but also to critically develop, recommend, and justify a response to the ethical challenges. As the essay is longer piece of work, students will be expected to display a more nuanced and sustained critical analysis than in the group presentation.

    Students may choose from the set topics. Possible topics will include:

    1. The ethics of “nudging” patients (or populations) to adopt healthier lifestyles

    2. Ethical issues and the nature of virtue in interprofessional conflict, teamwork, and patient care
    3. Duties of health professionals/workers to advocate for refugee health or climate change action or developing world health or indigenous health

    4. The ethics of allocating resources to preventive (including “upstream” determinants) versus non-preventative health care
    5. The ethics of physical and/or mental health care in disaster zones

    6. The ethics of taxing meat (or other products with both individual and global/planetary health implications)
    7. Should participants in research in low-income countries be paid?

    8. Other.

    Additional option: Choose your own topic: Students are able to select a topic of relevance to contemporary health ethics that interests them, but they must discuss the essay question with the teacher. Students will be told that the essay question will need to be very carefully designed to ensure it meets with the learning outcomes of the course.

    Students will be told (including via a marking rubric) of the requirements of the essay structure:

    1. A concise introduction
    2. A clear description of the case and its relevant factual details

    3. Identification and explanation of relevant ethical principles/theories

    4. An analysis of the key ethical issues in the case

    5. Identification and explanation of possible strategies or responses
    6. Recommendation and justification of a response(s) to address the ethical challenges

    7. A concise conclusion

    Task 4: MCQ and short answer test (summative 25%)
    This test will occur either in-class later in the Semester or in the exam period at the end of the Semester. It will last for 1 hr. MCQ and short answer questions will be used to evaluate students on their understanding of key ethical concepts and theories. The short answer questions will involve case scenarios – students will need to identify the key ethical issues and concepts, briefly analyse the case, and present a strategy to respond to it.


    Modified arrangements have been made to assessments and the details provided here reflect recent updates:


    Removal of Group presentation and replacement with paper presentation: Each student will be assigned a paper to prepare and present in the second half of the course - the student will summarise the key points of the paper and lead discussion of it during the tutorial.

    Submission

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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