I did very poorly on the Health Equity Quiz. The statistic that was most surprising to me was that white neighborhoods in west Los Angeles contain 31.8 acres of park space per 1000 residents while black and Latino neighborhoods contain only 1.7 acres per 1000 residents.
The episode I chose was “Collateral Damage”. It was the story of the native peoples of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific. It also included some horrifying statistics such as their infant mortality rate being more than seven times that of the US and their frequency of tuberculosis being twenty-three times as high. It went on to explain that the United States is even to blame for these health issues. The US army decided the islands were a strategically significant area and moved hundreds of natives to other islands in order to create a base. This led to higher density living for the native Marshallese people which in turn led to spread of diseases such as TB. Furthermore, the army base attracted countless islanders looking for jobs which it could not supply, thus exacerbating poverty and susceptibility for disease.
Also, in a period of only twelve years after 1946, the US tested 68 nuclear devices around the islands which led to nuclear fallout, radiation poisoning and accidentally killing hundreds of natives due to a “miscalculation”. The quantity of explosions was given as “1.7 Hiroshima atom bombs every day for twelve years”. Today, the military base offers US families middle class accommodations including state of the art health treatment, while only three miles away on Ebi Island the natives experience frequent power outages, water shortages, and no indoor plumbing. It is considered one of the most dramatic dichotomies of social status and living conditions. In recent years thousands of Marshallese people have moved to American towns such as Springdale, Arkansas because they are allowed to work without a visa. Even there where they experience better living conditions, education, and economy they still suffer from higher rates of TB, as they are not acclimated to the cold. The episode ended with one researcher saying, “50 years from now we will be judged on what we did for the poorest and more marginalized people today”.