Public Health Issue Paper


PUB 102

Public Health Issue Paper Instructions


Your assignment is to watch one of a selected number of documentaries on a current public health issue, research the public health issue, and write a 3-page paper which addresses a number of questions. You must cite at least 5 sources, 3 of which must be peer-reviewed journal articles. The paper is worth 150 points.


All documentaries are PBS Frontline programs which can be viewed online for free. You may choose among the following:


The Trouble with Chicken:

FRONTLINE investigates the spread of dangerous pathogens in our meat — particularly poultry — and why the food-safety system isn’t stopping the threat. Focusing on an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg at one of the nation’s largest poultry processors, the documentary reveals how contaminants are evading regulators and causing more severe illnesses at a time when Americans are consuming more chicken than ever.


Chasing Heroin:

A searing, two-hour investigation places America’s heroin crisis in a fresh and provocative light — telling the stories of individual addicts, but also illuminating the epidemic’s years-in-the-making social context, deeply examining shifts in U.S. drug policy, and exploring what happens when addiction is treated like a public health issue, not a crime.


The Vaccine War:

Public health scientists and clinicians tout vaccines as one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine. But for many ordinary Americans vaccines have become controversial. Young parents are concerned at the sheer number of shots — some 26 inoculations for 14 different diseases by age 6 — and follow alternative vaccination schedules. Other parents go further. In communities like Ashland, Oregon, up to one-third of parents are choosing not to vaccinate their kids at all. This is the vaccine war: On one side sits scientific medicine and the public health establishment; on the other a populist coalition of parents, celebrities, politicians and activists.


Sick Around America:

As the worsening economy leads to massive job losses — potentially increasing the ranks of the tens of millions of Americans without health insurance — FRONTLINE travels the country examining the nation’s broken health care system and exploring the need for a fundamental overhaul. The scale of the problem now facing the Obama administration, FRONTLINE finds, is staggering, as lay-offs, major illness, and other unexpected life changes leave more and more Americans uninsured, underinsured or uninsurable. FRONTLINE also goes inside insurance companies to question executives on their policies, programs and priorities and examines the problems in one state’s attempts at health care reform.


Your paper must address the following 6 questions. Note that not all answers will be provided by viewing the documentary.  You must also independently research the questions addressed below.

  1. What is the main public health problem that is being addressed by the documentary?
  2. Why do you think this is an important problem?
  3. What factors have contributed to the development of the problem?
  4. What is being done in attempt to address this problem? Have these attempts been successful?
  5. What challenges are faced by the public health community as they work to address this problem?
  6. Do you believe this will continue to be a problem in the future? Why or why not?


Formatting: Papers must be 3 pages long, single-spaced, Times New Romans 12 font. Sources must be cited using APA format. For help on how to site using APA, use information located here:


Grading: You can earn up to 150 points on this assignment. Points will be distributed as follows:


Components Possible Points
Question 1 Thoughtfulness & Accuracy 20
Question 2 Thoughtfulness & Accuracy 20
Question 3 Thoughtfulness & Accuracy 20
Question 4 Thoughtfulness & Accuracy 20
Question 5 Thoughtfulness & Accuracy 20
Question 6 Thoughtfulness & Accuracy 20
Spelling and Grammar 15
Formatting  and References 15


Submission:The due date is Wednesday May 16th at 11:59 PM. Submit paper to UBlearns via the Assignments Folder. Please see the syllabus for my policy on late assignment submissions.



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