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Students Facilitated a Screening and Discussion of “Unnatural Causes”

This report summarizes key information from the “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” Film Screening and Interactive Community Discussion, which took place on April 1, 2019 at TCNJ’s Library Auditorium. Unnatural Causes Event ReportFINAL

The event was the result of an extraordinary collaboration that engaged students from three courses at The College of New Jersey: COM 370-08 “Community and Civic Engagement for Health and Development,” COM 370-02 “Interpersonal Health Communication,” and COM 345 “New Media and Health Communication” (all three courses shared by the Communication Studies and Public Health departments). The event was entirely student-facilitated and was attended by 61 people: 30 students, 6 faculty members, and 25 community members. This was a first-of-its kind event at TCNJ, bringing together students, faculty, administrators, community organizations, and many community members from surrounding towns.

The event featured two segments of the award winning PBS documentary, “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” The two episodes, “When the Bough Breaks” and “Not Just a Paycheck” both focus on the serious impact that chronic stress can have on people’s health. The purpose of this event was to discuss health equity with the active participation of students and community members and other event participants, and to focus on the factors that affect health outcomes among disadvantaged populations. The Moth Storytelling format was seamlessly integrated into the whole event as a tool for community dialogue and engagement. The stories shared by event attendees highlighted issues of racism, social discrimination, mental health and well-being, language barriers, unemployment, and gender, among other topics. All stories centered around the ideas of empathy, bravery, and unity.

This event helped strengthen the bonds between TCNJ and our surrounding community, bringing together people from all walks of life and varying experiences. It helped show everyone how beneficial community engagement and dialogue may be, and hopefully inspired attendees to continue the conversation in their own immediate communities and at TCNJ.

Thanks again to our community partners:


For additional information on UNNATURAL CAUSES: IS INEQUALITY MAKING US SICK? visit

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