This documentary was helpful because it brought the foundational pieces that we’ve learned about health and social determinants of health together. It talked about how despite America’s industrialized and wealthy status, we still have pretty poor health outcomes. For example, we have higher infant mortality rates than we should have, specifically for black women. Part of this comes from the dramatic wealth gap that exists in this country where the wealth fo the top 1 percent is equivalent to the wealth of the bottom 90 percent. This wealth disparity directly affects health because individuals of affluence have less stress, more agency, more health knowledge, and even more access to healthy foods and lifestyle choices. With this, health varies across the district and income brackets. These disparities are simply exacerbated by the race of the individual.
The most interesting facet of this documentary was when they talked about how the most dramatic health benefits haven’t been due to medical innovations, but rather they’ve been correlated with policies that make the world a more equitable place for everyone. I think that having these facts accessible for everyone would definitely change political discussion we have surrounding health care and economic policy. If people understood how intertwined economic policy was with health policy, then I think we could come up with better solutions for the future. This all stems back to power.
I kept coming back to Chapter 15 where we got the foundation for institutional, personally mediated, and internalized racism. This film directly points to how governmental policies that may seem to have nothing to do with health, can actually be seen as institutional racism. Therefore, in order for us to become a healthier country, we need to be cognizant of who we are keeping in positions of power.