Campus News

‘Unnatural’ film series, discussions examine health disparities in U.S.

‘Unnatural’ film series, discussions examine health disparities in U.S.

Most people believe that if they eat right and exercise, go to the doctor and are lucky enough to have “strong” genes, they will live healthy lives. But what if health is a product of wealth? 

This question is the focus of “Unnatural Causes” a seven-part documentary film that explores the social and economic factors that shape diseases and illness. The first episode, “In Sickness and in Wealth” was shown March 22 at the Athens Public Library. It introduced the overarching themes of the series: the connections between health, wealth and race. 

The organizing committee, led by Jan Levinson of the Richard B. Russell Library, will hold four more free public screenings, to be followed by discussions led by community and UGA campus speakers. Each of the half-hour episodes explores the social and health conditions of a different ethnic/racial community.

“The Russell Library is interested in doing something about inequality and health care issues. We are not just about old dusty stuff. Health inequalities are a wonderful opportunity to see how much the past is still with us,” said Jill Severn, head of access and outreach at the Russell Library. 

The remaining screenings and discussion programs are scheduled for April 19 (Bad Sugar), April 26 (Place Matters), May 3 (Collateral Damage) and May 10 (Not Just a Paycheck) from 3-5 p.m. All of the programs will be held at the public library except the May 3 screening, which will be held at the Paul D. Coverdell Building. Each event will pair the screening of one episode with a panel of community and UGA speakers whose professional interests and activities complement the topics addressed. After the film screening, a moderator will collaborate with panelists to generate questions and dialogue with the audience.