RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Area(s) of Expertise:
Public Health Ethics, Ethics of Health Promotion, Theories of Social Justice as they Relate to Population Health, Children's Health Inequalities, Health Care Disparities
Erika Blacksher, PhD, is an associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her research examines the ethical and policy implications of social determinants and social inequalities in health, particularly as they relate to ethics of health promotion, U.S. health system reform, and participatory and deliberative approaches to advancing health equity. Her normative scholarship addresses topics such as the health responsibility debate, the demands of social justice in public health and health policy, and social values as determinants of population health policy. Her empiric work examines participatory and deliberative approaches to engaging minority and underrepresented voices in the health arena. She teaches two courses annually: Social Justice and Health, which examines the moral grounds for the view that social inequalities in health are unjust, and When Life Makes You Sick: Ethics and the Social Determinants of Health, which engages health professions students in ethical questions that arise in the delivery of care to poor and minority patient populations. Her education and training include receiving a PhD and MA in bioethics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, 2 years as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at Columbia University in New York City, 3 years as a research scholar for public health ethics and policy at The Hastings Center in Garrison, New York, and 5 years at The Center for Practical Bioethics, a community-based bioethics center in Kansas City, Mo. Blacksher has undergraduate degrees in philosophy and in journalism from the University of Kansas, Lawrence.