Ellen Murphy Detroit, Michigan

Childcare starts with doctors (Michigan United)


For me, families need more than just healthcare. I come from a public health background. I used to work on food security issues. I ran a farm to cafeteria program. In 2012, I finished my English degree. Then went on to work on public health issues.
With my public health background, I worked in the ER and enrolled people in clinical trials and did health surveys. I followed patients through treatment. I interacted with lots of sick Detroiters. It was emotionally draining. Folks needed access to long-term care, childcare, and mental health services. I left the hospital because I didn’t want to just work on individual issues. i wanted to have a bigger impact.
That’s when I decided to go to med school.
In organizing, we face pressure to work on our own issues. but in life, we have to work on lots of issues at the same time. Doctors have to do the same thing.
Bold vision—child is born, parents get maternity leave, then get childcare assistance. It should be free for everyone.
A friend just had a baby. She only has 3 months off and then doesn’t have access to childcare. Her husband is the only one working. How amazing would it be if she got info about affordable childcare in the packet she gets sent home with when her baby was born?
Childcare should be mandatory. Just like school. Frame it as early education.
Pay for childcare workers needs to increase. If they’re not paid a living wage, they won’t be able to deliver care at their full potential. Workforce needs coaching and training.
How do you see yourself as a leader? Well, I’ve stopped working at just the individual level. I’m facilitating work between people and connections between issues.
Race always matters, especially in Detroit. We need representation that looks like our communities. Our legislature doesn’t look like our communities.
Childcare starts with doctors. If they don’t have the same experience, they can’t be strong advocates.