Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

The Interrupters – Online Two Hour Video via PBS About Chicago “Violence Interrupters”

The link to the video and additional material may be found here.
The video may be viewed in its original format (with graphic language) or the broadcast version.

From the press release

On Feb. 14, FRONTLINE presents the television premiere of the award-winning documentaryThe Interrupters, the moving story of three dedicated “violence interrupters”—Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra—who, with bravado, humility and even humor, work to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they themselves once employed. Their work and their insights are informed by their own journeys, which, as each of them points out, defy easy characterization.

From acclaimed producer-director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and best-selling author-turned-producer Alex Kotlowitz (There Are No Children Here), The Interrupters is an unusually intimate journey into the stubborn persistence of violence in our cities. The New York Timessays the film “has put a face to a raging epidemic and an unforgivable American tragedy.”

The interrupters work for an innovative organization, CeaseFire, which is the brainchild of epidemiologist Gary Slutkin, who for 10 years battled the spread of cholera and AIDS in Africa. Slutkin believes that the spread of violence mimics that of infectious diseases, and so the treatment should be similar: Go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source.

Shot over the course of a year out of Kartemquin Films in Chicago, The Interrupters follows Ameena, Eddie and Cobe as they attempt to intervene in situations before those situations turn violent: two brothers threatening to shoot each other; an angry teenage girl just home from prison; a young man heading down a warpath of revenge. The film captures not only the interrupters’ work, but reveals their own inspired journeys from crime to hope and, ultimately, redemption. As they venture into their communities, they confront the importance of family, the noxious nature of poverty and the place of race. And they do it with incredible candor and directness.

February 23, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Safety, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

News Literacy Project Trains Young People to Be Skeptical Media Consumers (and Health News Evaluation Tips)

Yesterday evening the PBS News Hour had an engaging segment on a news literacy program in several major American cities.
The students learn how to separate fact from fiction in news.

The transcript and video of this 13 December PBS News Hour item may  be found here.


JEFFREY BROWN: The lesson is part of an effort called the News Literacy Project, a four-year-old program now taught to middle and high school students in 21 inner-city and suburban schools in the Washington, D.C., area, New York City, and Chicago.

It was started by former Los Angeles Times investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Alan Miller.

ALAN MILLER, News Literacy Project: A century ago, Mark Twain said that a lie can get halfway around the world while truth is still putting on its shoes. In this hyperlinked information age, a lie can get all the way around the world and back while truth is still getting out of bed.

There is so much potential here for misinformation, for propaganda, for spin, all of the myriad sources that are out there. More and more of, the onus is shifting to the consumer.

JEFFREY BROWN: And a slew of recent studies supports the notion that young people seek out traditional news sources less and less and that they have a difficult time knowing how to judge the legitimacy of the information that does come at them.



Of course, I thought of some of my posts on health literacy…






December 14, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories | , , | Leave a comment

The Waiting Room – Documentary To be Aired on PBS Next Year

From the blog item A Lens on Health

I was fortunate enough to attend a screening last week of The Waiting Room, a unique lens on public health and our current health system.

The screening was part of the Center for Health, Media and Policy’s ongoing Health in Film & New Media Series series; it was was one of the best films I have seen about health, about people, about hopes and dreams in the inner city.

Director Peter Nicks conducted interviews with dozens of patients and staff in the Emergency Department of Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA. He gathers a rather sobering portrait of safety net health care and those that would fall through the cracks without it. Overworked and sometimes exhausted doctors and nurses care for anyone that needs it in this understaffed and overcrowded ED.

The hospital’s waiting room holds dozens of stories. The ones that patients want tell to the intake nurse, to the doctors, to the camera, to the stranger sitting next to them. The waiting room is a place of last resort for the Hell’s Angel, the newly unemployed executive, the drug addict, the displaced blue collar worker, who wait for care and hope to be treated as more than just a number……

Read the entire blog item by  a health care journalist (name is not on her blog,even her bio)

November 21, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment


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