The Invisible Shield

New series premiering Tuesday explores America's hidden public health infrastructure that saves lives – possibly yours – every day.

PREMIERES TUESDAY, MARCH 26 at 9:00PM
Stream Full Series Free

Anyone who buckles a seatbelt, eats a meal without trans fats, or works in a smoke-free workplace benefits from America's public health system, even if they don’t realize it. Public health policies save and improve millions of lives, but too often, their power is undervalued and misunderstood. The new series THE INVISIBLE SHIELD shines a much-needed spotlight on public health’s extraordinary successes – and the heroes who make them possible, every day.

THE INVISIBLE SHIELD, from producer RadicalMedia made possible by Bloomberg Philanthropies, reveals how the field of public health has saved countless lives in the U.S., protecting people from the constant threat of disease and increasing lifespans. The series explores the hidden public health infrastructure that makes modern life possible. It highlights the thousands of unsung heroes — physicians, nurses, scientists, activists, reformers, engineers, and government officials — who work together to improve health outcomes, from the days of cholera and smallpox through the most recent battle with COVID-19.

Using vivid character portraits, interviews, and archival elements, THE INVISIBLE SHIELD shows that public health is a progressive and revolutionary movement, whose successes have traditionally come from a diverse, cross-disciplinary coalition of dedicated public servants, all working together to improve the conditions of society.

Offering insights from previous pandemics and public health crises — cholera, smallpox, HIV/AIDS, the opioid overdose crisis, and more — the series looks to history to show how public health practices have emerged over centuries as humanity confronted problems arising from urbanization, industrialization, and globalization. It examines public health’s major achievements — including the more than 30-year increase in life expectancy between 1900 and 2000 and the eradication of smallpox in the 1970s. Public health challenges are also explored, including the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlights how misunderstood, undervalued, and underfunded public health is.

THE INVISIBLE SHIELD premieres Tuesday, March 26 at 9:00PM and all four episodes will be available for streaming online and on the free PBS App.

 

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