There is a direct connection between the health of people and the social conditions under which they live. Lower income, lower social status, and the relative lack of control over one’s life create stress that acts as a primary driver of ill health. This is manifest as lower life expectancy and increased risks for virtually all major causes of death for all who are below the top in wealth and status. The lower the income or status, the higher the risk of premature death. This is According to the PBS documentary “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” which CHEER showed at a kick off event for the Takoma Park and Long Branch community health assessment on Thursday October 14.
About 35 people attended the event. In the discussion that followed participants said that disparities in income and health are plainly evident in Takoma Park. This raised questions. “What can we do to improve health in our community?” “How do we de-stress our community?” What initiatives are in place to improve better living conditions for mid to low income earners living in apartment communities?” Some suggested looking at state policy and coordinating with others to see what can de done to reduce disparities. Others suggested improving access to healthier food choices, examining challenges for immigrants, and looking at rent stabilization and its effect on health.
CHEER Board Chair, Christopher King, and CHEER Health Group Member, Mary Carter-Williams introduced the program and State Delegate Heather Mizeur who offered her perspective on health care legislation and areas where we can focus on improving health in Maryland. Corinne Warren led the discussion afterward. Sponsorship for this and future showings of Un