Today on the blog, I’m delighted to have a brief discussion with Dr. Michelle Morse. Michelle and I went to medical school together at the University of Pennsylvania, and she has been doing great things since, in Haiti and around the world.
Question (Philip Lederer)
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Answer (Michelle Morse)
Philadelphia, PA, specifically West Philly.
What drew you to medicine?
Being a math and science whizz as a kid, and loving the idea of being so close to people all the time. Eventually I learned more about the social justice in health work but early on didn’t see that connection and planned to do them separately. Some people grow up knowing and reading all about Freire and Baldwin and Biko and that’s how they find their way to social justice. For me it wasn’t like that, it was my lived experience in West Philly that made me outraged and engaged in social justice and only later did I read the greats and reeducate myself about the worlds history of resistance.
What are you working on now, in terms of social justice and global health in Haiti, and elsewhere?
My focus right now is continuing my reeducation by reading and writing more radical things than ever before. While in Cuba for two weeks I read Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, by Manning Marable, and it has already shifted my direction. I’m currently a community fellow in Marshall Ganz’s community organizing course right now and that has been a dramatic and disruptive experience in my life and work, in all the best possible ways. I’m still heavily involved in Haiti through our programs in EqualHealth as well as through a medical education grant with the Zanmi Lasante team.
What are the challenges, and opportunities you see going forward?
I worry about the future of global health in the Trump era, and I worry that we are going to continue to be reactive instead of rethinking what our country really needs in terms of political systems and radical change.