Philosophical and Ethical Perspectives on Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Low-wage Workers


Won Ju Hwang, 80 Behr Ave. # 204, San Francisco, CA 94131. E-mail:


ABSTRACT One of the overriding goals of Healthy People 2010 is to reduce the health disparities observed among Americans. Because workers in small businesses tend to have little or no access to health screening or preventive health education programs, they may be unaware of their unique risk factors and are thus more at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Furthermore, occupational health nurses are more likely to be available in health programs to employees in large rather than small businesses. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how nursing values and philosophy might influence public health nurses' thinking about nursing science and ethical issues relating to the risk of CVD among low-wage workers. The following questions will guide the exploration of health disparities among low-wage workers: (a) What are the health disparities observed among low-wage workers with CVD risk? (b) What are the philosophical and ethical perspectives on the issues presented? (c) Based on these findings, how should limited resources be allocated? and (d) How does this affect nursing? These approaches will provide the foundation for developing a culturally sensitive ethical and philosophical perspective to prevent CVD and promote cardiovascular health among low-wage workers.