Learn by watching


In late 2007, PBS released a seven-part documentary called "Unnatural Causes: Is inequality making us sick?" It marks the first spirited effort to create awareness of social and economic determinants of health.

It looks at the myriad ways growing economic inequality in the United States makes Americans sicker and shortens their lives. This isn’t just about the effects of grinding poverty or the lack of health care that may first come to mind. Inequality hurts the health of everyone, up and down the income ladder—just moreso the lower someone ranks economically.

Find out when to catch it at: www.unnaturalcauses.org/
Interested in learning more about how income, race and social status can affect health? Or about the importance of involving communities in designing and implementing health interventions and initiating social change? We recommend the following readings:
This report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides a profile of the current state of health in America, focusing specifically on the role that social factors like income, education, and race and ethnicity play in Americans' health and the areas that hold promise for improving the opportunities for all Americans to live healthier and more productive lives.
This report explains the framework of place (economic, social, physical, and service environments) to understand the relationship between community conditions and health, analyzes the connections among all the environmental factors that contribute to a healthy community, and identifies environmental effects on community health.
This article by physician-anthropolgist Paul Farmer advances an agenda for research and action grounded in the struggle for social and economic rights, an agenda suited to public health and medicine, whose central contributions to future progress in human rights will be linked to the equitable distribution of the fruits of scientific advancement.
In this paper, Krieger argues that the use of these terms is problematic and adversely affects public health research, practice, and causal accountability. At issue are distortions created by conflating measures of space, time, level, and causal strength.