Justice and Health Care: A Catholic Perspective

Course Code: RGT3937HS


Bridget Campion


Winter 2017
Monday 16:00 – 18:00



Course Description

Informed by the social determinants of health and the ethos of Pope Francis’ papacy, Justice and Health Care will view issues in health care ethics through the lens of justice and the priority of attending to the needs of the poor.


Topics will include the meaning of justice; health as a communal rather than solely an individual phenomenon; effects of poverty on wellbeing; at-risk patient populations; health care professionals and justice. Using a combination of lectures and directed discussion, Justice and Health Care seeks to answer the questions: given the effects of socio-economic factors on wellbeing, what might justice mean in health care? what might a culture of care require? Students will be evaluated on one short in-class presentation, two 3-5 page reflection papers, one final examination and class participation.

Course Objectives

Students successfully completing this course will be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. (Not all categories will be required for all courses.)


— critical thinking skills through case work and directed discussion;
— effective communication skills through in-class discussions and assigned reflection papers;
— the ability to marshal factual information required for bioethical analysis through lectures and assigned readings;
— the ability to work collaboratively to moral and personal insight through directed in-class discussions.
(B) IN RESPECT OF THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE CONTENT OF ONE OR MORE THEOLOGICAL DISCIPLINES, through the readings and lectures students will develop:
— an understanding of approaches to Moral Theology and bioethical theory;
— an understanding of Catholic Church teaching on various bioethical issues;
— an understanding of historical and current intersections of Catholic Moral Theology and Bioethics
(C) IN RESPECT OF PERSONAL AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION students will have the opportunity:
— to become aware of personal assumptions and biases operative in their understandings of Moral Theology, Catholic Church teaching, and issues in Bioethics;
— to consider alternative approaches to and understandings of bioethical issues in light of Catholic Church teaching;
— to have in-depth dialogue about issues, ethical theory, Catholic Church teaching and personal moral and spiritual development in a forum that is curated and safe.
— a familiarity with current bioethical issues;
— the capacity to bring critical thinking to those issues;
— the ability to view those issues in light of Catholic Church teaching.

Course Schedule

A detailed course schedule is available for download.

Week 1

Introduction to Justice and Health Care; review of Bioethics and bioethical theories; discussion of justice

Week 2

A “culture of care” and “revolution of tenderness” as visions for health care

Week 3

Social determinants of health; reconsidering the meanings of “health” and causes of ill health

Week 4

Poverty and health care

Week 5

Poverty, children and health

Week 6

Food insecurity and health

Week 7

Housing and health

Week 8

Aboriginal health and the social determinants of health

Week 9

Social isolation and health

Week 10

Health care professionals and justice in health care

Week 11

Global health and justice

Week 12

Summary: building a culture of care