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Dr. Erika Blacksher

Erika Blacksher, PhD
Associate Professor

Office: A20-P Health Sciences Building
Phone: 206-685-9532
Email: eb2010@u.washington.edu

Recent Publications | Recent Talks |Courses | Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

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 of and inequalities in health, particularly as they relate to theories of social justice, 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.

Select Recent Publications:

  • Blacksher E. “Public Health and Social Justice: An Argument Against Stigma as a Tool of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.” In The Handbook of Stigma, Discrimination and Health. Link BG, Dovidio J, Major B., eds. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press 2017, in press).
  • Blacksher E. “Obesity Prevention in Children: Media Campaigns, Stigma, and Ethical Considerations” (Case Study). Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe. Springer Press, available online at http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319238463  (hard cover in press).
  • Blacksher E, Goold SD. “Black-White Infant Mortality: Disparities, Priorities, and Social Justice in Public Health” (Case Study). Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe. Springer Press. available online at http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319238463  (hard cover in press).
  • Van Dyke ER, Blacksher E, Echo-Hawk AL, Bassett D, Harris R, Buchwald D. Health Disparities Research among Small Tribal Populations: Describing Appropriate Criteria for Aggregating Tribal Health Data. Am J Epidemiol 2016;184(1):1-6. PMID: 27268030. PMCID: PMC4929243. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwv334.
  • Blacksher E, Maree G, Schrandt S, Soderquist C, Steffensmeier T, St. Peter R. Health Policy, Ethics, and the Kansas Legislative Health Academy. Am J Public Health 2015;105:485-489. PMID: 25607945. DOI:10.2105/AJPH.
  • Brazg T, Dotolo D, Blacksher E. Finding a Seat at the Table Together: Recommendations for Improving Collaboration between Social Work and Bioethics. Bioethics 2015;29(5):362-8. PMID:25066240. DOI:10.1111/bioe.12106.
  • Blacksher E. Participatory and Deliberative Practices in Health: Meanings, Distinctions, and Implications for Health Equity. Journal of Public Deliberation 2013,9;1: http://www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol9/iss1/art6.
  • Abelson J, Blacksher E, S. Boesveld, Goold SD, Li K. Public Deliberation in Health Policy and Bioethics: Mapping an Emerging, Interdisciplinary Field. Journal of Public Deliberation 2013,9;1: http://www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol9/iss1/art5.
  • Blacksher E. Redistribution and Recognition: Pursuing Social Justice in Public Health. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 2012;21(3):1-12. PMID:22624535. DOI:10.1017/S0963180112000047.
  • Blacksher E, Diebel A, Forest PG, Goold SD, Abelson J. What Is Public Deliberation? Hastings Center Report 2012;42(2):14-17. PMID:22733324, DOI:10.1002/hast.26.
  • Blacksher E, Lovasi G. Place-focused Physical Activity Research, Human Agency, and Social Justice in Public Health: Taking Agency Seriously in Studies of the Built Environment. Health & Place 2012;18(2):172-179. PMID:21940195. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.018.019.
  • Blacksher E, Rigby E, Espey C. Public Values, Health Inequality, and Alternative Notions of a “Fair” Response. Journal of Health Policy, Politics, and Law 2010;35(6):889-920. PMID:21451157. DOI:10.1215/03616878-2010-033.
  • Blacksher E. Health Reform and Health Equity: Sharing Responsibility for Health in the United States. Hofstra L Rev 39(2010):41-58.
  • Blacksher E. Health: The Value at Stake. Hastings Center Report, Special Supplement (2009):27-29.
  • Blacksher E. Children’s Health Inequalities: Ethical and Political Challenges to Seeking Social Justice. Hastings Center Report 2008;38(4):28-35. PMID:18709918.
  • Blacksher E.  Carrots and Sticks to Promote Healthy Behaviors: A Policy Update. Hastings Center Report 2008;38(3):13-16. PMID: 18581931.
  • Blacksher E. Healthcare Disparities: The Salience of Social Class. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 17;2(2008):143-153.

Select Invited Talks and Seminars

  • "Rethinking Responsibility for Health: A Social Connection Model." The Sickness of Society: What Kind of Inequality Matters for Health? Benjamin Rabinowitz Workshop. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. April 29, 2016.
  • "Should we use stigma as a public health policy tool?" American Public Health Association, Annual Meeting. Chicago, Illinois. November 3, 2015.
  • “Ethical Tools to Promote Health in the 21st Century: An Argument Against Stigma.”  34th International Academy of Law and Mental Health, Vienna, Austria. July 14, 2015.
  • “Community Forum Demonstration Results: Implications for Public Deliberation” Commentator. Results of the Community Forum Demonstration: Public Deliberation on the Use of Evidence in Societal and Personal Health Care Decisions. AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting. Minneapolis, Minnesota. June 14, 2015.
  • “Public Health Ethics: It’s in the Water.” Keynote Address. Kansas Governor’s Public Health Conference. Wichita, Kansas. April 29, 2015.
  • “LBJ’s (Not So) Great Society After Fifty Years: A (Poor) Health Legacy.” Medical Center Hour. University of Virginia School of Medicine. Charlottesville, Virginia. February 11, 2015.
  • “Public Health and Social Justice: Should Stigma Be Used as Policy Tool to Tackle Obesity?” Center for Population Health, Harvard University. Boston, Massachusetts. December 4, 2014.
  • “Shared Responsibility for Health: The Promise of a Social Connection Model.” American Public Health Association. Annual Meeting, Ethics Section. New Orleans, Louisiana, November 18, 2014.
  • “Health vs. Health Care Disparities: A Distinction and Why It Matters.” Panelist. Social Justice: The Best Preventative Medicine, Gitenstein Institute for Health Law and Policy Leaders in Health Series. Hofstra University. Hempstead, New York. October 16, 2013.
  • “Health Equity, Public Values, and Public Deliberation.” McMaster University, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Seminar. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. February 21, 2012.
  • “Making Marginalized Voices Count in Public Policy.” Panelist. 9th Annual Trudeau Foundation Conference on Public Policy: The Common Good: Who Decides? Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. November 23, 2012.
  • “Health Reform and Health Equity: Sharing Responsibility for Health in the United States.” Hofstra University, New Directions in American Health Care: Innovations from Home and Abroad Conference. Hempstead, New Jersey. March 11-12, 2010.
  • “Deliberative and Participatory Processes in Public Health: A Conceptual and Ethical Assessment.” University of Michigan, Public Deliberation, Ethics, and Health Policy: Advancing a New Research Field. Ann Arbor, Michigan. September 10-11, 2010.
  • “Reorienting U.S. Health Reform Toward Health for All.” Rethinking Healthcare Conference, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, October 14, 2009.
  • “Distributive Equity and Equal Recognition: Demands of and Challenges to Social Justice in Public Health. American Public Health Association, Annual Meeting. Denver, Colorado. November 9, 2010.
  •  “The Ethics of Healthy Behavior Programs.” Center for Bioethics Summer Intern Seminar Series. Yale University. New Haven, Connecticut. June 30, 2009.
  • “When Life Makes You Sick: The Social Determinants of Health and the Ethical Implications for Health Care.” Ethics Night. Brown University. Providence, Rhode Island. January 14, 2009.


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