Monday, March 24, 2008

Ahead of the curve in Athens, GA

Last week closed with a flurry of news stories about how the rich are not only getting richer but also living longer than poor people in America. These stories were triggered by a new analysis of Department of Health and Human Services data conducted by GK Singh and M. Siahpush.

The night before the story really broke, Grady College and OneAthens gave Athenians an advance look at another perspective on the same sad story. Together we previewed part one of "Unnatural Causes: Is inequality making us sick?"

This new PBS documentary series begins airing nationally on March 27. It is a fast-paced, vivid piece of filmmaking that turns mountains of data into flesh and blood stories about real people. Three of the characters work at the same hospital, but social and economic factors make their lives -- and life expectancies -- quite different.

During panel discussions after the screening, local activists and public health experts agreed that everything the filmmakers documented in Louisville, KY, also happens in Athens.

On the plus side, we've been engaged in a community-wide study of poverty for nearly two years now and have plans for addressing it. Partners for a Prosperous Athens has spawned OneAthens, the implementation stage of the effort, and Grady College ADPR students are helping publicize this effort.

So although we're far from perfect in the Classic City, we're already moving in a good direction.

1 comment:

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