Clinical genomic medicine and the need for a public health ethics account


  • Dr Ingrid Slade

    University of Oxford

Project summary

Clinical genomic medicine increasingly employs a population perspective in the use of data, but contemporary accounts of ethics and genomics tend to focus on the best interests of individuals. This does not address the new ethical problems that arise from the population approach in clinical genomic medicine, such as the use of population level datasets to interpret variants of unknown significance. An approach built upon public health ethics, which emphasises the balance between protecting and promoting the health of populations while avoiding individual harm, might be more suited to the assessment of clinical genomic practice. 

I will use conceptual ethical analysis and qualitative interviews with key stakeholder groups in the UK to explore whether public health ethics can offer a more fitting account for the ethics of clinical genomic medicine. I will combine empirical and normative analysis of public health ethical values for application in clinical genomic medicine and then design practical guidance for policy regarding clinical genomic medicine.