I spent the last three months on maternity leave getting to know my daughter. She came into the world like most babies, unwillingly leaving behind a nicer, easier place for the cold and the bright of a hospital room. I can’t say that my first thoughts were of how the health policies we create now will impact her throughout her life, but as I settle back into the Bree Collaborative my mind turns to picturing her future in this specific way. Health care will certainly be a part of that future – as it is for all of us.

I hope that we are creating a world that will be able to sustain her generation. That will give her access to newer and better cures. I have no doubt that innovation will continue and that her chances against the diseases plaguing our pasts will be better than mine. She is already unlikely to contract the chicken pox that caused me to spend a summer in oatmeal baths just as I didn’t contract the measles of my mother’s generation or the polio of my grandmother’s.

However, I have my doubts as to whether her world will be more just and more equitable; whether babies born in 2018 will have the same expected longevity of those born ten years earlier. I wonder whether she or any new baby be able to afford comprehensive health coverage or have access to Medicare. I wonder whether place of birth and health outcomes will ever be untangled in such a way as to give every baby born in our country the same shot at a full, healthy life; whether maternal mortality outcomes will continue be so unequal based on mother’s race.

Building this better, more equitable, healthier world is what keeps me coming to work. I hope to be part of the solution to reducing the inequities in our world and ask that all our health care community do the same. Come to our meetings and let us know what is important, how we can be an organization that better serves Washington State. Importantly, vote if you haven’t already in tomorrow’s election. Vote on local issues, vote for your representatives in Congress in Washington State and Nationally. Get involved in your community; speak out about issues that matter to you. Build a healthier Washington and a healthier country for all our children.

Ginny Weir, MPH
Program Director, Bree Collaborative