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Quickly Noted: PBS Mini-series on Health Inequalities

March 26, 2008

PBS is showing a seven-part miniseries on health disparities starting this Thursday, March 28th at 10pm. I first heard about it at last year’s APHA convention in Washington, and have heard smatterings since then.

California Newsreel, the producers of the mini-series, had this to say:

We produced UNNATURAL CAUSES to draw attention to the root causes of health and illness and to help reframe the debate about health in America. Economic and racial inequality are not abstract concepts but hospitalize and kill even more people than cigarettes. The wages and benefits we’re paid, the neighborhoods we live in, the schools we attend, our access to resources and even our tax policies are health issues every bit as critical as diet, smoking and exercise.

The unequal distribution of these social conditions – and their health consequences – are not natural or inevitable. They are the result of choices that we as a community, as states, and as a nation have made, and can make differently. Other nations already have, and they live longer, healthier lives as a result.

You can see this is obviously not a balanced point of view, but one that I ascribe to — and one most special populations ascribe to. The single best example of how inequality can affect preparedness issues is Hurricane Katrina. If you’re doing any special pops planning — and if you’re a planner, you should be — understanding how those populations see health care and health agencies, is key to securing their trust and bringing them to the table as stakeholders. Besides the fact that it’s supposed to be a really well done series.

More information on the series can be found here. I encourage everyone to set their Tivo to tape this series.

Promo image from California Newsreel.

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