UNNATURAL CAUSES is inequality making us sick? HEALTH EQUITY research topics and resources to learn more
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What You Can Do
Connect Up!
Events Calendar
Inspiring Stories

How to Plan an Event
Action Toolkit
Discussion Guide
Policy Guide
Handouts and Tools

User Survey
For Educators
National Partners
En Español

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Welcome to the UNNATURAL CAUSES Action Center

Laotian Community Organizing
The Laotian community organizes to address health issues in Richmond, CA.

In the Action Center section we've included tools such as the Connect Up! database, the Events Calendar, and Inspiring Stories to help you find and reach out to others working for health equity across the nation.

You will also find in-depth Discussion and Policy Guides, handouts, and resources for planning events that foster dialogue and action in your organization, community, and classroom.

Whether you're a long-time advocate or new to these issues, we hope you'll find something here to help you educate, advocate and organize for health equity.

Want to Get Involved?

1. Sign up for our e-Newsletter

2. Share this page with your friends and colleagues: Bookmark and Share

3. Link to the UNNATURAL CAUSES Web site

4. Join Connect Up!

5. Begin using the series in your work (see below)


Using the Series

Community Toolbox

There are many possible ways to use UNNATURAL CAUSES to further your work. In fact, the best approach is a multi-pronged one. The following examples, adapted from the Action Toolkit and supplemented with “how-to” information from the Community Tool Box and UNNATURAL CAUSES companion materials, illustrate a range of ways to work with different audiences to educate, organize, and advocate for health equity.

DVD Language Options

The entire Unnatural Causes series is available on DVD in English, with Spanish audio as well as English and Spanish subtitle options. To buy the DVD click here.

Place Matters Asian Languages Edition: The “Place Matters” episode is available as a stand-alone DVD with English, Lao, Hmong, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Cantonese audio, as well as English and Mandarin subtitles - all on one DVD. To buy the DVD or learn more click here.


EDUCATE and raise awareness about the root cause of health inequities

Internal screening with staff, students, or department heads. Use the series to develop a shared understanding of the distinction between health and health equity as well as the root causes of inequity, and examine the health equity consequences of existing programs and policies.

Staff training or workshop for members/constituents. Promote discussion of how the issues depicted in the film reflect inequities impacting your organization or community. How can we develop/renew an organizational commitment to promoting health equity?

Dialogue with partners and allies.Take a leadership role in educating partners about how the health equity framework applies to your combined efforts and can advance their work; create a shared foundation and common language for discussing health inequities and aligning your priorities.

UNNATURAL CAUSES Discussion Guide »
Communicating Information about Community Health »
Organizing Study Circles »
Conducting Effective Meetings »


ORGANIZE and mobilize to get people involved and eager for change

Do you have a particular policy target in mind?

Is this a public or private screening?

What promising policies and initiatives do you want to highlight?

How can people get involved and take action?

Mobilize partners. Work with existing allies and partners to build capacity and secure commitments to address a particular issue or set of issues that affect health equity. Use the series to underscore the importance of this work.

Build new alliances. Demonstrate to potential partners in different sectors (labor, economic development, education, etc.) how your work is intertwined and how these linkages represent a mutual opportunity; use the series to inform and validate new and unconventional coalitions.

Town Hall meetings and public dialogues. Convene public officials, health advocates and workers, community-based organizations, the press, and other stakeholders to draw local attention to existing health inequities, to build support for specific social reforms and promising initiatives, and to generate an eagerness for change.

Toolkit: Creating and Maintaining Coalitions and Partnerships »
Toolkit: Increasing Participation and Membership »
Troubleshooting Guide: Not Enough Community Participation »
Conducting Effective Meetings »
Promoting Participation Among Diverse Groups »


ADVOCATE for initiatives and policies that can advance health equity

Policy Briefings. Use one or two strategic clips in a forum for government officials and policy makers. Bring in "non-health" issues – policies that can shorten the socioeconomic pyramid, promote racial justice, and protect those lower on the pyramid from health threats. Discuss the distribution of power: who should be seated at the table and how can you make that happen?

Advocating for Better Policies (Praxis Project) »
Developing a Plan for Getting Community Health and Development Issues on the Local Agenda »
Developing Multisector Task Forces or Action Committees for the Initiative »
Involving Key Influentials in the Initiative »

Support a specific policy target. Use the series to build public will and support for a policy or initiative at the local, regional, state or federal level that advances health equity (e.g., a living wage law, extended bus routes, universal pre-school, or a community benefit agreement). A screening can also help raise the visibility of other news: a promising initiative, report, research agenda, or innovative partnership.

Toolkit: Influencing Policy Development »

Engage the media. Encourage the media to use a health equity framework to report on health issues, to cover innovative local solutions, and to expose social and economic policies in the United States that influence health equity for better or for worse.

Planning for Media Advocacy (Praxis Project) »
Preparing Guest Columns and Editorials »
Preparing Press Releases »
Arranging a Press Conference »


Check out our Action Toolkit and Discussion Guide for more planning tips and tools.

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Questions? Check our FAQ (PDF).