Unseen Protection: How Public Health Preserved Your Life Today without You Even Realizing It | The Exchange

The Untold Story of Public Health: A Four-Part Docuseries Highlights the Risks of Underfunding and Undervaluing this Vital Field

The four-part PBS/Bloomberg docuseries, “The Invisible Shield,” highlights the importance of public health in modern life. Despite its critical role in saving lives and protecting people from diseases, public health is often underfunded, undervalued, and misunderstood. This puts our health at risk. The series sheds light on the unsung heroes in public health, such as physicians, nurses, scientists, activists, and government officials who work together to improve health outcomes from historical battles with diseases like cholera and smallpox to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Episode 1 of the series titled “The Old Playbook” reveals how public health has doubled life expectancy but is currently facing a threat due to systemic issues. Episode 2 explores the essential role of data in public health since the seventeenth century. Meanwhile, Episode 3 addresses challenges like disinformation, skepticism of science, and distrust of government that affect public health efforts. Lastly, Episode 4 discusses the declining life expectancy trend and the need to rethink the public health system before it’s too late.

To further enhance learning and discussion around this topic, a discussion guide is provided with the docuseries. It includes powerful quotes and messages from “The Invisible Shield,” along with added context from each episode. Additionally, it presents questions to encourage critical thinking, meaningful discussions and enhanced understanding of public health among viewers in various settings such as classrooms, community groups or independent exploration.

Overall “The Invisible Shield” aims to shed light on how important it is for society to prioritize and value public health as a fundamental aspect of modern life.

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