In recent years, health care systems around the world have faced many ethical challenges in their decision-making, policies, and practice adjustments in providing care for their patients. At the onset of the pandemic for example, deciding which patients to treat, what to treat, and how to care for certain patients was a major challenge for providers and care systems. While large medical networks could leverage their resources and triage accordingly, the nature and extent of ethical challenges arising in primary care clinics were and remain a pressing problem. Community health providers have few places to turn for bioethical analysis and guidance on the practice challenges they deal with. This project will cultivate and inform ongoing bioethics-community health collaboration to support community health providers.
The Greenwall Foundation has awarded The Hastings Center and LZC a grant to launch a national study of nonprofit community health centers across the United States to explore the ethical challenges arising in primary care clinics serving low-income communities. LZC will be specifically conducting a national survey that will be distributed to thousands of providers and staff to understand the spectrum of bioethical dilemmas and practice challenges they experience. Results will then be used by The Hastings Center to conduct interviews and further explore these challenges. LZC will participate in conducting literature reviews and engaging an advisory committee, and will also support dissemination of findings. The Leah Zallman Center hopes that this study will advance health equity in community health practice, as well as contribute the field of bioethics research more broadly.