Master, Zubin, Ahmadi, Martha, Health Law Review
In North America, the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancers and obesity are at an all-time high causing severe morbidity and mortality to individuals across the lifespan. Effectively tackling these growing trends will require both a public health focus and major medical advancements targeting therapies to individual patients. Strategies to restore and maintain health through preventative means should be recognized and equally combined with the treatment of illness. While moving forward on these various fronts, the ethical, legal, and social aspects related to public health and medical research ought to be given serious reflection.
Much of modern medicine and public health take multi-and interdisciplinary approaches to increase the health of individuals and populations in an attempt to address the wide array of variables that impact the health of individuals and populations. Variables impacting health may, at first glance, seem disparate, but they are related and some intimately intertwined. Examples include public perception of various modern biotechnologies, or the influence of pop culture references, media hype, or concerns for privacy on one's choice to undertake certain types of medical treatments. This has tremendous public health impacts since specific groups may reject certain biomedical or technological advancements if they perceive them to be ineffective or delivered from a less trustworthy source. Similarly, perceptions on preventative therapies will influence individuals from accepting measures such as healthy diets, exercise, stress management, early detection screening, and health education. When approaching public health or biomedical research, the related ethical, legal, and social aspects including respect for participants, privacy, and the protection of health information are also necessary considerations.
In this issue of Health Law Review, the four essays broadly capture the diverse aspects of public health, medicine and biomedical science. Collectively, these articles discuss public perceptions, prevention of disease, and privacy of health information in order to offer a richer understanding of the current issues in health needed to improve our approaches to health and healthcare. …