Competency 3: Ethics
Izzy Litwack is a recent graduate of the Masters of Public Health, Maternal and Child Health program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed her undergraduate degree in Health Education, and then realized she wanted to work more “upstream” in health, leading her to an MPH. Her public health interests include sexual and reproductive health, maternal health, reproductive justice, and health policy. Next up is a job with Children and Family Futures doing technical assistance for MCH programs across the country.
“Ethics plays a large role in public health decision making. Should vaccines be mandatory? Should abortions be legal? Should we control guns? So then, who gets to decide what is ethical and what is not- this huge difference between right and wrong? Through my time at my MPH program, I was trained to someday write or recommend a program or policy that directly impacts someone on the individual level, and ethics will have to be a very real part of that decision making process. There are many individuals and agencies involved with policy development, and who are responsible for promoting ethical practices. As public health practitioners, we will also be the ones who have to make those tough calls. Hopefully, we will also be the ones who call out injustices and correct them.
A moment I am truly proud of, was when I was asked to go to the offices of Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth to educate key stakeholders about public health practices I learned through the CoE-MCH. Walking into the offices of such important people brought out so many feelings: nervousness, anxiety, and excited jitters. I ultimately left with the feeling that I could maybe be in their position someday. Part of being more ethical includes engaging in problem solving with other MCH leaders, and in turn becoming a better leader yourself.
I’m not sure if it is possible to know if I have truly become more “ethical” through completing my MPH. But I do know that through the guidance of my professors and my peers, I have learned so much more about leadership, and about people who are different than I am, and also how to think at not only one section of the ecological model, or one moment of the lifespan. So I think it’s by understanding these different aspects of health, social justice, and the experiences of different people, than can help form more ethical decisions.”