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What’s happening to our health? While we pour more and more money into drugs, dietary supplements and new medical technologies, this ground-breaking documentary series crisscrosses the country to investigate the findings that are shaking up conventional understandings of what really makes us healthy—or sick.

UNNATURAL CAUSES sheds light on mounting evidence that demonstrates how work, wealth, neighborhood conditions and lack of access to power and resources can actually get under the skin and disrupt human biology as surely as germs and viruses. But it’s not just the poor who are sick—so are the middle classes. At each descending rung of the socio-economic ladder, people tend to be sicker and die sooner. What's more, at every level, many communities of color are worse off than their white counterparts. Compelling personal stories—spanning the country—demonstrate how social conditions are as vital to our health as diet, smoking and exercise. As Harvard epidemiologist David Williams points out, investing in our schools, improving housing, integrating neighborhoods, better jobs and wages, giving people more control over their work, these are as much health strategies as smoking diet and exercise. And these are the stories that UNNATURAL CAUSES tells.


UNNATURAL CAUSES is a medical detective story out to solve the mystery of what’s stalking and killing us before our time, especially those of us who are less affluent and darker skinned. The investigators — epidemiologists, biologists, doctors and health workers — keep peeling back the onion, broadening our inquiry beyond immediate, physical causes of death to the deeper, underlying causes that lurk in our neighborhoods, our jobs and even back in history. The perpetrators, of course, aren’t individuals but rather social and institutional forces that have made ours one of the most unequal—and unhealthy—nations in the industrialized world And these are not impulsive crimes of passion. These are slow deaths—the result of a lifetime of grinding wear and tear, thwarted ambition, segregation and neglect.
But this is also a story of hope and possibility, of communities organizing to gain control over their destinies—and their health. The good news is that if our bad health results in part from policy decisions that we as a society have made, then we can make other decisions. As some other countries already have.
The centerpiece of the series is an hour-long opening episode that explores some of the biggest health secrets of all: how health and longevity are correlated with socioeconomic status, how people of color face an additional burden and how solutions lie not in more pills or better genes, but in fairer social policies. The main hour is supported by six additional half-hour stories set in different racial and ethnic communities. Each deepens our understanding of the root causes of disease, illuminating the pathways by which social conditions affect physiology and bringing viewers face to face with innovative initiatives for health equity.

UNNATURAL CAUSES will air nationally on PBS at 10PM over 4 consecutive Thursdays beginning March 27, 2008. The programs will be packaged into four television hours for the PBS broadcast and available as separate modules on the DVD. Please be sure to check with your local station for exact dates and times.

Official Website: https://www.marineclub.com/Events/UnnaturalCauses/

Added by raines on February 16, 2008



Wow, the framing of this event is such disempowering bullshit.

tim kingston

Well that was a pissy comment dear tantek. Actually it is not "disempowering bullshit" it is using epidemiology as a tool to understand how health and politics are linked and ways to mesh the two. You have suceeded in grasphing exactly the wrong end of the stick. Congratulations! Maybe you should go and see what it is all about....