Videos and web resources for Section 7, Health Inequalities and the Social Gradient.

Unnatural Causes – California Newsreel

This seven-part documentary works wonderfully in the classroom. It clearly lays out the social determinants of health, with engaging case studies and interviews with prominent public health experts in the field. Episodes cover aspects of socioeconomic and racial health disparities in depth. While showing the entire documentary would take too much class time for most instructors, each episode can stand alone, and each one can be shown within a class period.


Harlem Public Health Commute

This website, created by an MD/MPH student to help medical students understand public health concepts relevant to working in Harlem Hospital, has sections with engaging videos and links on the social determinants of health; race and health; health systems; injuries and violence; substance use; alternative health systems; environmental health; and sexual health. Each section collects engaging short videos and other resources from around the Web.


How Economic Inequality Harms Societies – Richard Wilkinson

This TED talk by the groundbreaking researcher Richard Wilkinson outlines issues of economic inequality and health. It very clearly explains the concept of the social gradient. (17 min)


The Rich Live Longer Everywhere. For the Poor, Geography Matters – New York Times

These interesting interactive maps and graphs analyze the interaction between poverty, neighborhood, and health—specifically looking at areas where poor people live longer. The New York Times is paywalled, but a few article views per month are free, and most universities have access to it.


Same City, but Very Different Life Spans – New York Times

These maps of life expectancy by neighborhood in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Richmond, Virginia, show how powerfully ZIP Code can affect life expectancy. They are especially interesting for students with familiarity with these cities. A particularly detailed map of northern Virginia (which includes information on income, race, and education, as well as life expectancy) is available at the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, and less detailed maps of additional cities are also available from the VCU Center on Society and Health.


Health Equity Monitor – WHO Global Health Observatory

This health inequality visualization tool allows students to explore changes over time in inequality in reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health in the world or within a particular country.


Inequality Is Real

An engaging interactive website exploring income inequality in the United States. It does not directly address issues of health but would be a good activity for a class looking closely at US health disparities.


The Biology of Skin Color – Howard Hughes Medical Institute

This accessible short video explains how the range of skin color seen in modern humans evolved. (19 min) There are also assignments on the website appropriate for students with some basic background in genetics.

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