Washtenaw County, Mich., Health Department Features PBS Health Disparities Documentary
The University of Michigan's School of Public Health and Office of Public Health Practice have partnered with the Washtenaw County, Mich., Public Health Department for a public screening of a new PBS documentary that explores the causes of socioeconomic and racial health disparities in the U.S, Ann Arbor News reports (Mathis, Ann Arbor News, 3/9).
The four-part film -- called "Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?' -- is being shown in four hour-long viewings. The first viewing was held on Wednesday and followed by a panel discussion with local health professionals and community leaders (Larcom, Ann Arbor News, 3/13).
County Health Officer Ellen Clement said the county is "trying to stay educated ... and look for new and innovative ways to attack persistent health problems." She added, "We have a persistent difference in that African-American babies born in Washtenaw County are several times more likely to die than are white babies. We don't completely know why, but we have been attacking the problem with typical health interventions such as making sure that pregnant women have access to health care even it they're uninsured."
She said stressful economic conditions, inadequate housing, exposure to crime, and lack of education and employment likely contribute to the racial health disparities in the county (Ann Arbor News, 3/9). "It's an important public issue to engage communities in," Clement said, adding, "We don't really pay attention to the broader context that impinges on individuals' ability to be healthy.' The county will screen the remaining parts of the film on Thursdays beginning March 20 (Ann Arbor News, 3/13).
"Unnatural Causes" will air on PBS on Thursdays beginning March 27. Additional details about the film and local broadcast schedules are available online.