An “Easy” Question

Katie Sloter

Katie Sloter

Why do we care about health?

“Well Katie. That is pretty obvious isn’t it? Because errrr… we… want people to be healthy?”

Here is the deal. Is it really about the 50 pounds? The black lung? The jaundiced skin and the failing liver?

Keep focused. Keep in mind why you chose to do this, why you keep choosing it. Remember your motivation when you are looking for jobs, internships, etc. Why are you here? Why do you care about health in the first place?

I largely chose health as a field because it acts as a return to baseline. How will things change politically, artistically, socially, if people are dying and sick? How can you focus on development, infrastructure, women’s rights, education– when there is such a basic kind of disadvantage?

I chose to focus on health as a field because it is an equalizer of sorts.

It is less about the physical than the intangible value of time and quality of life. I measure things in time– particularly costs. This shirt is worth 1.5 hours of my life. This master’s degree is worth… (okay let’s not talk about that …)

But how much is that vaccine, that health center, that disaster response worth? Which is implicitly asking– how much is that population worth?

And then.

How much is a human being worth?

And of the things I know to be true, I know that the value and worth of an individual is equal to that of any other individual, and that each human being has the right to fight for that life, and create with it, and focus on more than just survival. Suddenly the intervention, the initiative, the response is no longer about money or health or accolades at a conference somewhere. It is about time and the value of a person’s life.

So, insert-correct-name-of-aspiring-health-practitioner-here. Why do you care about health?

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