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UnNatural Causes

Unnatural Causes examines health concerns beyond mere medicine

KRCB-TV is partnering with the Sonoma County Department of Health to present Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? This four-part series highlights the socioeconomic factors that play a role in causing poorer health. The series started on Tuesday, September 23 at 9 pm and subsequent episodes will air the following three Tuesday evenings at 9.
 
KRCB is taking this opportunity to try to start a dialogue in our community about the influence that poverty and racism might play in making the people who live here sicker, and what we can do to change that. So we went to a few local leaders who work on health and poverty issues to ask them what they felt the major challenges were facing our community. We also asked some people on the street about their opinions of the intersection of poverty and health.

You've come this far - we invite you take another step: get involved in the local discussion.

Here are a few ways:

Get involved with some of the organizations working locally on health care access, reducing or equalizing the effects of poverty, or stopping racism:

Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County
Sonoma County Living Wage Coalition
Redwood Empire Food Bank
Sonoma County Health Access Coalition
Sonoma County Office of Education
Sonoma County Department of Public Health

Learn more:

Unnatural Causes web site (for video clips, more information, interactive activities and more)
MacArthur Foundation Study: Reaching for a Healthier Life
Health statistics in Sonoma County from the Sonoma County Department of Public Health

We also urge you to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your thoughts on the episode. We'll post some of the best responses on the web site, and might mention some on-air!


April 15 - In Sickness and in Wealth
This is a story about health, but it’s not about doctors or drugs. Set mostly in Louisville, Kentucky, it’s a detective story out to solve the mystery of what’s stalking and killing so many Americans before their time. The program uncovers the connections between healthy bodies and healthy bank accounts - and why residents of so many other nations, including many poorer countries, live longer and healthier lives. Solutions, evidence suggests, may lie not in more pills but in more equality.

April 22 - When the Bough Breaks / Becoming American
African-American infant mortality rates remain twice as high as white Americans regardless of education level. Investigators are circling in on how the chronic stress of racism throughout a life can become a risk factor embedded in the body. Recent Mexican immigrants, on the other hand, though poorer, tend to be healthier than the average American. But the longer they’re here, the worse their relative health becomes. Is there something about life in America that is harming their health? Conversely, what
is protective about new immigrant communities that we can learn from?

April 29 - Bad Sugar / Place Matters
Bad Sugar/Place Matters travels to the O’odham Indian reservations of southern Arizona where residents are marked not just by poverty but with the dubious distinction of perhaps the highest rates of Type 2 diabetes in the world. While public attention has been focused on risky behaviors and genes, evidence increasingly points to a link between chronic disease and “futurelessness.” The program also looks at a new approach to health—one rooted in communities regaining control over their destiny.

May 6 - Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?
Collateral Damage/Not Just A Paycheck Mainlanders view the Pacific Islands as a paradise, but diabetes, cardiovascular and kidney diseases and tuberculosis are taking a toll on the Pacific Islander population. In the Marshall Islands and in the unlikely spot of Springdale, AR, this program shows how globalization is affecting health—often in unanticipated ways.