Fifty or sixty years ago our barriers to disease were largely medical – many disease processes eluded even the most seasoned researcher. Decades later, modern research is built on the foundation that these pioneering men and women laid before us. Today our barriers to overcoming disease remain clearly evident, however such barriers are shifting away from the biomedical and towards the political and social. Now, our barriers are man made and self-imposed. The barriers are not the unknown, but the unwilling.
Our vision is to overcome these barriers by changing the global conversation – to show the lives behind the research. Through both narrative and documentary filmmaking, we convey the way diseases impacts one’s life as a whole. Beyond the individual, we show how the introduction of disease changes the entire infrastructure of family and community – that a disease is never relegated to simply one individual.
And we seek to show this directly, by providing researchers with content and media to present alongside their data at conferences and in the classroom, and by creating positively cathartic feature films approachable by a wide audience.
In this unique, dual approach, Visual Epidemiology creates a two-way bridge between academia and civil society by:
Bringing relevant lived experience into academic discourse
Many scholars attempt to include the stories and perspectives of marginalized groups in their scholarship, but representation of these voices in print is limited at best. Film can fully integrate the images and voices of individuals who live out the consequences of the health situations faced by the population: it can make vivid the costs of a health decisions and inject a new insight into intervention decision-making, directly sharing the ever-present voice of those affected by disease.
Making scholarship and findings more accessible to the public
Academic scholarship goes largely unread by the general public. This scholarship often addresses problems that have a direct impact on individual lives, yet most individuals would not recognize themselves in the discussion. By creating relatable bonds with viewers on common aspects of life, not simply disease, we can investigate a nonlinear mode of communication and understanding with the audience.