Unnatural Causes

PBS Series, KET Specials Examine Social Factors Affecting Health

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Connections Special
(1 hour)

Louisville Forum
(1 hour, 28 minutes)

Windows Media® or RealVideo® format

Did you know that good jobs, affordable housing, a clean environment, guaranteed sick leave, and a good education matter as much for good health as efforts to get people to eat right, exercise more, and stop smoking?

This provocative premise was explored in the PBS documentary series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?. Leading in to the miniseries premiere, KET explored these issues with a special companion edition of Connections with Renee Shaw. We also taped a town hall meeting held in Louisville that featured a preview of the PBS series and a discussion of the issues raised.

The PBS series probes why your economic status, race, and zip code are even more powerful predictors of your health and life expectancy than smoking. To illustrate the point, the series began right here in Kentucky with a look at health inequities in Louisville. “In Sickness and in Wealth,” the first program in the four-part series, compares the different constraints and stresses faced daily by a CEO, a mid-level manager, a service worker, and an unemployed mother of three.

Unnatural Causes: A Connections Special

Renee Shaw and a panel of guests followed up on the local connection to Unnatural Causes and examined the issues raised from a Kentucky perspective in a special hour-long edition of Connections with Renee Shaw from KET’s Louisville studio. Guests include Dr. Adewale Troutman, the director of Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness and a leading expert on health equity issues. Troutman is the founder of the Center for Health Equity in Louisville, which seeks to address glaring socioeconomic and racial inequities in health.

Other guests:

  • Ricky Jones, associate professor of pan-African studies at the University of Louisville
  • Loretta Maldaner, director for the Purchase Area Health Education Center in Western Kentucky
  • Sister Mary Schmuck, Bardstown area coordinator for the social action office of Catholic Charities of Louisville
  • Gerry Roll, executive director of Hazard/Perry County Community Ministries
  • Darrell Fuller, president of iServe Advisors and an insurance expert

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Unnatural Causes: A Louisville Town Hall Meeting

Dr. Adewale Troutman led a discussion of the issues raised in Unnatural Causes at a town hall meeting held at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in Louisville on March 20, 2008. Several hundred people gathered to watch a preview of the PBS series and to talk about how local government, community institutions, and individuals can work together to address the inequities it spotlights. KET’s coverage of the event is now available for viewing online.

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Be Well Kentucky Unnatural Causes: A Connections Special and Unnatural Causes: A Louisville Town Hall Meeting are 2008 KET productions. Made possible in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, they are part of KET’s Be Well Kentucky initiative.