Discussion 4

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This week’s Unnatural Causes film has been shown in a wide variety of community settings, with the following questions used to help promote dialogue. Please select 2 questions for your initial posts and submit to the matching thread titles on the forum. You are welcome to discuss more than two, as well as raise other burning questions and thoughts you had from watching this video.

  • Question One: How do the lives of Jim Taylor, Tondra Young, Corey Anderson, and Mary Turner exemplify concepts like the wealth-health gradient and the importance of power and control? What does comparing data maps of disease rates in the different Louisville council districts reveal? What might explain observed differences?
  • Question Two: Professor Leonard Syme defines control of destiny as the “ability to influence the events that impinge on your life.” Why is this ability an important factor for health?
    • What stories from Corey Anderson’s life exemplify a high demand /low control job and stressful home situation?
    • What stories from Jim Taylor’s life illustrate how wealth, power and status translate into better health?
  • Question Three: Some chronic stressors mentioned in the film are: being on guard all the time, having little control at work, living in an unsafe neighborhood, being uncertain about where food will come from, and worrying about one’s children.
    • What additional stressors can you think of?
    • How do exposures to stressors– and resources available to manage them– vary with class position? Describe the societal forces that create and reinforce these stressors.
    • What additional set of stressors might racism impose?
  • Question Four: Dr. Jack Shonkoff, when talking about early childhood, says, “The concept here is the pile-up of risk, the cumulative burden of having things that are increasing your chances of having problems, as opposed to the cumulative protection of having things in your life that increase the likelihood that you can have better outcomes.” What are examples of the “pile up” of cumulative advantage – and disadvantage?

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