I didn’t do as well as I would have liked on the Health Equity quiz, but it wasn’t terrible. I received a 6/10. I was surprised (and slightly thrown off at times) by how much of it was based on political economy, however having some history in the area from past classes ended up helping, and made most of the statistics provided seem much more logical and far less shocking. The statistic that I found most surprising, not to mention interesting (even watched the correlating ‘unnatural causes’ video) was that (new) immigrants are the healthiest of all people in the U.S., at least for the first five years.
The video I picked to discuss was, Collateral Damage, about the Marshallese people. This episode discussed the people of the Republic of Marshall, their constant relocating/recolonizing throughout history, the inequality of life among the islands as well as throughout the world, and the effects these and other elements have on their health. The people of these islands, live in a very unique situation; they are susceptable to a full spectrum of diseases & illnesses, such as Diabetes, Tuburculosis, Malnutrition. This is because although they live in poor, overcrowded communities (more densely populated than Manhattan) of developing/third world societies, they are also subjected to the developed ‘middle class’ society through the military base on a neighboring island (many islanders ferry over to work there, or once in awhile some go to do laundry). The obvious inequalities of social class, development, and wealth prove major factors in peoples health. Even when islanders are able to escape to a life in the US, their problems, health & otherwise, follow them and their families.
The development, spread, and treatment of illness are influenced by many factors: politics, economics, environment, culture, biology and individual choice all play their own role. Individual Choice for example, as depicted in this case study, was important because often people didn’t want others to know they were sick and therefore avoided seeking treatment. Economics was also very important in this study because these people were living in poverty stricken communities with about 20 people per household. They couldn’t afford medicine or hospital care, and living in such crowded environments creates easy access for the spreading of such diseases (it made me sick, having worked in a hospital & seen patients with TB in huge isolated rooms all to themselves & then to see this). And with the continued effect of TB on the families that moved to the US (still a much higher rate then others), biology comes into play.