A few weeks ago, I gave the guest reflection at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson on maternal and child health in Arizona. Below is the text of my talk or you can listen to the podcast here. I have been talking with people for months about this topic, and many of you have expressed an interest in working on solutions to improve maternal and child health. My plan is to hold stakeholder meetings on the state of Maternal and Child Health in Arizona, with the goal of crafting bills for the 2020 session. Stay tuned on the PowersForThePeople.net blog and on my Facebook page. I will be giving another talk on this topic at the Salt of the Earth Labor College on September 21, 2019.
Prevention: A Public Health Model for Social Justice (reflection text)
As the Public Health Parable in the Message for All Ages previewed, today, we are going to talk about prevention not only a public health strategy but also a social justice strategy.
Like the industrious carpenter in the video, we are going to assess the current problems, walk upstream to examine the root causes, and brainstorm long-term solutions to tackle those root causes.
Rather than focus solely on putting out fires today—as our government often does—the Public Health Parable teaches us to not only put out the current fire but also to devote significant effort to preventing those fires in the future.
My original idea for today was to discuss three unfolding public health crises: migration, housing security, and maternal and child health, but when I started to pull everything together, I realized we would be here all day if we tackled upstream solutions for those three, highly complex issues.
These three seem like disparate topics– migration, housing security, and maternal and child health—but they have commonalities.
Can you name some?
[Pause for audience to shout out ideas.]
Poverty is a big factor in all of these, right?
But many of the “isms” are also involved: racism, sexism, classism, capitalism. And let’s not forget capitalism’s destructive cousins: war, austerity and bad policy.
How we tackle the unfolding crises of migration, housing security, and maternal and child health could have wide-ranging, positive OR negative repercussions on children, families, communities, future generations, and the climate.
Now we’re talking interconnectedness of all life, right?
Today, I want to focus on the area that has received the least amount of attention: maternal and child health. We hear a lot in the news about migration and housing, but there is a statewide and nationwide crisis in maternal and child health that is being ignored.