Ethics Guidelines

Committee Ethics Guidelines Syllabi Publications Events

The current  version of the ACE Ethics Guidelines is available here. The document is undergoing a major revision and update. To learn more about or to contribute to this effort, please email Ken Goodman.

The need for ethics guidelines in epidemiology had been debated for some time. A special supplement to the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology in 1991 addressed the idea (see references, below).

The Guidelines were based in part on an ACE-funded survey of North American epidemiologists regarding their views about what useful and appropriate ethics guidelines should address. That report formed the basis for a course, Ethical Issues in Epidemiology, offered at the University of Miami in 1995.  The survey was later published as

Prineas RJ, Goodman KW, Soskolne CL, Buck G, Feinleib M, Last J, Andrews JS.  Findings from the American College of Epidemiology's survey on Ethics guidelines. The American College of Epidemiology Ethics and Standards of Practice Committee.  Annals of Epidemiology 1998;8:482-489, DOI: 10.1016/s1047-2797(98)00016-7 .

The Guidelines address core values, professional practice, research, advocacy, diversity, and a broad array of other challenges in epidemiologic practice. They were initially published as

Coughlin S, Soskolne CL, Weed DL, Buck G, Snider DE, McTyre RB. American College of Epidemiology Ethics Guidelines. Annals of Epidemiology 2000;10(8):487-497 (PMID# 11138815)

…with an accompanying editorial:

McKeown RE. American College of Epidemiology Ethics Guidelines— Filling a Critical Gap in the Profession. Annals of Epidemiology 2000;10(8):485-486, DOI: 10.1007/s11948-003-0008-y.

The ACE Guidelines have been used in a variety of courses in the intervening 20 years. Following are some related initial references.

  • Beauchamp TL, Cook RR, Fayerweather WE, et al. Ethical guidelines for epidemiologists. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 1991;44 (Suppl. I):151S-169S.
  • Fayerweather WE, Higginson J, Beauchamp TL, eds. Industrial Epidemiology Forum's Conference on Ethics in Epidemiology. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 1991;44: (Suppl. I).
  • McKeown RE, Weed DL, Kahn JP, Stoto MA. American College of Epidemiology Ethics Guidelines: Foundations and Dissemination. Science and Engineering Ethics 2003;9:207-214.
  • Soskolne CL, Light A. Towards ethics guidelines for environmental epidemiologists. Science of the Total Environment 1996;184:137-147.
  • Weed DL. Science, ethics guidelines, and advocacy in epidemiology. Annals of Epidemiology 1994;4:166-171.
  • Weed DL, Coughlin SS. New ethics guidelines for epidemiology: background and rationale. Annals of Epidemiology 1999;9:277-280.

Other Organizations

The utility of ethics codes and guidelines has been marked by a number of other professional organizations and learned societies.

To offer additional sites/organizations or offer suggestions or corrections, please email [email protected].