Introduction: Ethics is needed to support the decision-making process in public health and to face moral issues during practice. However, professionals are often not adequately trained.
Objectives: In 2015, the National Conference of Public Health Medical Residents of the Italian Society of Public Health started the ‘Public Health Ethics’ workgroup to evaluate how the Italian Schools of Public Health train their residents in ethics, and which are residents’ beliefs, knowledge and attitudes about public health ethics.
Methods: A survey was built and emailed to the Italian public health residents.
Results: Residents are interested in ethics/bioethics (83.2%) and are aware of its importance for professional practice (97.2%). However, few of them (19.6%) evaluated their competence above a satisfactory level. They believe that a training in ethics should be offered during residency (92.1%). Nonetheless, in Italy only two schools required a course on bioethics, and one a course in public health ethics. According to residents, a public health ethics trainer should be a public health professional (23.2%) or a social scientist (22.8%).Conclusions: In Italy, Schools of Public Health do not train future professionals in ethics or public health ethics during residency. Training should be implemented in curricula, and trainers should have a strong competence in both public health and ethics.