UNNATURAL CAUSES is inequality making us sick? HEALTH EQUITY research topics and resources to learn more
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Scholar Interviews

Many of the country’s leading health equity researchers, practitioners and advocates were interviewed during the making of UNNNATURAL CAUSES, including the following key individuals (*appears in documentary):

(For a complete list of scholars interviewed for the film, please see the episode production credits.)

*Margarita Alegría, director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research (www.multiculturalmentalhealth.org) at Cambridge Health Alliance, is the principal investigator for two large-scale studies on Latino health, including the National Latino and Asian American Study (NIMH).

Hortensia Amaro, director of the Center for Urban Health Research and Distinguished Professor, Bouve School of Health Sciences at Northeastern University, is vice chair of the board of the Boston Public Health Commission, and has been principal investigator on numerous studies investigating HIV/AIDs, substance abuse and mental health issues among women.

Lisa Berkman, Cabot professor of public policy / epidemiology and chair, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, is a social epidemiologist whose work focuses extensively on psychosocial influences on health outcomes. The majority of her work is devoted to identifying the role of social networks and support in predicting declines in physical and cognitive functioning, onset of disease and mortality, especially related to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease.

Stephen Bezruchka, MD, is an emergency room physician and founder of the Population Health Forum (http://depts.washington.edu/eqhlth), an organization of health activists working to promote awareness and dialogue about the impact of social inequities on health. He also lectures in the University of Washington Department of Health Services.

*Angela Glover Blackwell is founder and CEO of PolicyLink, an Oakland-based research and advocacy organization advancing economic and social equity. She is a renowned community activist and expert on race, policy and neighborhood revitalization (www.policylink.org).

*Harvey Brenner, professor emeritus of Johns Hopkins University and chair of the University of North Texas School of Public Health, has tracked the relationship between unemployment and death rates for 30 years.

*Sheldon Cohen, Robert E. Doherty professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, has conducted rhino-virus experiments that explore the role of social and environmental stress on health and well-being.

*James Collins, MD, and *Richard David, MD, are neonatologists in Chicago whose studies, including one comparing birth outcomes in the U.S. among African-born, African American, and white women, point to racism – not genetics – as a key risk factor.

*Ana Diez-Roux, MD, is a University of Michigan epidemiologist and a leading expert on neighborhoods and health.

*Carol Hogue and *Fleda Jackson are principal investigators on a multi-year project exploring ways to measure stress among African American women. Hogue directs the Women's and Children's Center, Rollings School of Public Health at Emory University and Jackson is a visiting assistant professor with the center.

*Anthony Iton, MD, director of the Alameda County Public Health Department (CA), is helping shift public health practice to tackle the root causes of health inequities. His survey found that recent Latino immigrants, although poor, have the best health in the county, but their health status deteriorates the longer they are here.

*Camara P. Jones, MD, is research director on social determinants of health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She is pioneering ways to measure racism and investigate the structural causes of health inequities.

*Ichiro Kawachi, MD, director, Harvard Center for Society and Health (www.hsph.harvard.edu/centers-institutes/society-and-health), Harvard School of Public Health, has authored or co-authored several books linking larger social forces such as income inequality to population health.

*Jim Yong Kim, MD, is an expert on tuberculosis, chief of the Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of health and human rights, Harvard University School of Public Health. He co-founded Partners in Health (www.pih.org).

*James Krieger, MD, is director of epidemiology, planning and evaluation, Seattle-King County Public Health Department, and one of visionaries behind the new High Point mixed-income neighborhood in West Seattle.

*Nancy Krieger, professor of society, human development and health, Harvard School of Public Health, is an international leader in social epidemiology whose research explores the links between social justice and public health.

*Steve Larson, MD, worked with the Kennett Square Mexican community in the early 1990s. During his career he has treated and researched thousands of Latino immigrants.

*Michael Lu, MD, is an obstetrician and gynecologist at UCLA. His “lifecourse perspective” suggests that the added stress burden of racism over a lifetime, not just during pregnancy, increases the risk of pre-term labor.

*Sir Michael Marmot is chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, professor at University College London, and principal investigator of the groundbreaking Whitehall II Studies of British civil servants, which link occupational status to health risks. He is also author of The Status Syndrome.

*Bruce McEwen is Albert E. Mirsky professor and head of the Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Rockefeller University. His lab explores the long-term impact of stress and stress hormones on the brain and on immune function.

*Neal Palafox, MD, is a University of Hawaii professor and family practitioner who researches health issues affecting Pacific Islanders.

*Richard Price, psychologist, directs the University of Michigan Prevention Research Center, which is a national resource on the connections between employment conditions, economic stress and health (www.isr.umich.edu/src/seh/mprc).

Dennis Raphael is professor at the School of Health Policy and Management at York University in Toronto, Canada, and a member of the advisory committee for Canada’s National Collaborating Center on the Determinants of Health. He is editor of Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives and author of Poverty and Policy in Canada: Implications for Health and Quality of Life.

*Carol Shively is professor of pathology, Wake Forest University Bowman School of Medicine and professor of psychology, and studies social hierarchy and health in macaque monkeys.

*Jack Shonkoff, MD, Julius B. Richmond FAMRI professor of child health and development, Harvard School of Public Health; director, Center for the Developing Child (www.developingchild.harvard.edu) and chairs the National Scientific Council for the Developing Child.

*S. Leonard Syme is professor of epidemiology (Emeritus), School of Public Health, University of California-Berkeley, principal investigator of the Youth Empowerment Strategies Project (YES!), and many other studies.

*Adewale Troutman, MD, is director of Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness and founder of the Louisville Center for Health Equity (www.louisvilleky.gov/health/equity).

*William Vega is professor of psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and principal investigator on a national study of drug use and risk factors for Latino youth.

*Donald Warne, MD, comes from an Oglala Lakota family of traditional healers and is a Harvard-trained doctor, a professor of law at Arizona State University and an expert on American Indian health policy.

*David R. Williams, Norman professor of public health, Harvard University School of Public Health, and executive director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America, is one of the country’s leading authorities on health inequities.