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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Zandra Lee , PIO, Berkeley Public Health, (510) 981-5356

“Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” provides insight into dynamics between health, wealth and race; City provides forum for community discussion

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, April 01, 2008) - Berkeley residents are invited to join in a local and national discussion to address health inequities and their social causes by attending a community screening of “In Sickness and in Wealth,” an episode in the groundbreaking new PBS documentary “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?”

 “We need to mount a concerted community campaign to address these health inequities and the social inequities that contribute to them,” said Dr. Linda Rudolph, Health Officer for the City of Berkeley.

The community screening is an opportunity for Berkeley residents to learn how a community’s health is affected by a variety of public policies and initiatives. Refreshments will be provided.

WHO:     Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Berkeley City Council Members
WHAT:   Community Screening of “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?”
WHEN:   Wednesday, April 16, from 7-8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Berkeley City College auditorium, 2050 Center Street.

Although most Berkeley residents are increasingly healthy, health inequities based on race, income, neighborhood and education have negative affects on the quality—and longevity—of their lives. This divide is present in Berkeley and all over the U.S., and researchers point to many sources, including an inequitable distribution of resources, a deepening income gap, and chronic stress.

An illustration of how those discrepancies play out:

  • Berkeley has the lowest teen birth rates in the state, and youth tobacco use here is lower than in California overall;
  • African American children under 5 years of age are hospitalized for asthma five times more often than White children of the same age;
  • Children living in the Berkeley “flats” are hospitalized for diabetes four times as often than those living in the hills.

The “Key Indicators of Health,” which is a simplified summary of the 2007 Health Status Report, is now available at http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=13446.

For questions or special accommodations to the community screening, please contact Zandra Lee at zlee@ci.berkeley.ca.us or 510-981-5356.


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