What class?

LSHA 5153 – Ethics in Human and Health Services Administration

Why is it cool?

Many of the major ethical dimensions of ordinary human life cluster around decisions made in healthcare situations. Confidentiality, informed-consent, maternal-fetal conflicts, genetic engineering and reproductive technologies, human and animal experimentation, organ transplantation, end-of-life rights, diagnostic prejudices such as mental health disorders, HIV, AIDS and other medical conditions that invite discrimination.. They all coalesce into the pressing need for clear understanding of the landscape of healthcare ethics. Ethics in Human and Health Services Administration addresses this need, providing students with a broad-based educational environment in which to become acquainted with some of the most pressing issues in human and health services. 

Ethical challenges fuel debates over what is moral within healthcare settings and provide some of the most poignant case studies for ethics in general. This is especially true in societies that are comprised of people from different cultural traditions and religious orientations. For these reasons, the class is built on two major themes: 1) the nature of ethics, especially in the context of multicultural healthcare, and 2) moral problems within this landscape and how rational thinking can guide ethical thought in ways that address the challenges in healthcare policy and reform.

Throughout the class, students explore topics and complete exercises designed to clarify the basic moral theories that have shaped the modern world examine the role of critical thinking as the basis for ethical reasoning, teach them about the special relationship between healthcare professionals and their clients and the inherent responsibilities therein, discuss case studies in the major areas of controversy and examine how the landscape of ethical problems create various challenges for leaders in healthcare policy development and reform.

Understanding these themes is useful for all students who want to understand the morality of healthcare in any dimension, but is absolutely imperative for students either working in or planning on a career in human and health services. As such, this class is a useful tool in the belt of anyone looking for a foundation from which to build ethical careers in human and health services administration.

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Mary Wuestewald
Mary Wuestewald specializes in digital and content marketing at OU Outreach. In 2015, she earned a master's degree in Strategic Communication from OU’s College of Journalism and Mass Communication. She currently contributes to Insight magazine, the CLS blog and CLS social media efforts.

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