On Thursday, November 30, Washington University in St. Louis hosted over 90 people at the 2017 Global Health Film Festival, sponsored by the school’s Global Health Student Advisory Committee. The festival was dedicated towards starting a dialogue over health challenges faced by refugees and immigrants in the U.S. and across the globe. It featured several film screenings, as well as two panel discussions to further the discussion.
“Video journalism is an effective means of spreading information to a broad audience,” says Cynthia Tang, a member of the Global Health Student Advisory Committee and host of the event, “Our vision for developing a film and organizing a film festival was to increase awareness and discussion of challenges that immigrants and refugees experience globally, dispel misconceptions surrounding immigrants and refugees, and drive community involvement to improve health equity.”
Tang’s documentary film, Healthcare Disparities of Immigrants and Refugees in St. Louis, was screened at the festival. The film “highlights challenges that immigrants, refugees, and providers face from a clinical point of view and includes successful initiatives that are currently being implemented.”
The Pulitzer Center also contributed to the festival, screening five short films on the struggles faced by migrants as they take on draining—and dangerous—journeys from their old homes. The selected films include The Role of Visual Journalism in Global Health; Refugee Resettlement: One Boy’s Story From Africa to America; Somalian Refugees Flee Fighting, Famine in Ethiopian Camps; and Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis, all of which focus on the migrant experience. The final film, How Rwanda, Once Torn by Genocide, Became a Global Anti-AIDS Leader, demonstrated how communities can band together to overcome complex public health challenges.
The Pulitzer Center’s presence at the festival was not limited to screening films. Isabel Izek, an alumna of Washington University and a former Pulitzer student fellow, sat on a 5-person panel after the film screenings to discuss “topics including the responsibilities of global health journalism, the challenges, progress, and potential solutions of working towards alleviating healthcare disparities and building capacity, and the political roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals.” Isabel’s work for the Pulitzer Center mirrored this theme, examining the wide gaps in Mexico City’s healthcare sector.