Visual Epidemiology Project at Yale University
We envision the Visual Epidemiology Project (the Project) to be a never-before-seen interdisciplinary global health research project that uses visual methodologies to disseminate public health research findings through the use of visual mediums, primarily film. The products will not simply be a regurgitation of academic discourse: they will be aesthetic and cathartic, with compelling narratives that meet a high level of professionalism – both as works of art and as academic scholarship. This will create a novel fusion of global health research and aesthetic visual media that will offer an alternative vector in academic research dissemination, capturing the stories of and ultimately allowing for the voice of those affected by disease to be accurately represented in the ongoing global health debate.
The Project will bring global health students and expert researchers, artists, and professional filmmakers in collaboration to produce visual pieces on contemporary global health issues in a manner that is intellectually stimulating, well researched, and grounded in the voices of individuals who live out the consequences of disease. The Project seeks to fulfill three discrete purposes:
- 1. Bring 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 giving a voice to those affected by disease.
- 2. Make 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. With the explosion of multi-media outlets to convey various types of information, video content is the next logical step in this progression in the field of research.
- 3. Investigate film as a form of knowledge production in the field of global health
The Project will approach film as an analytic tool of knowledge-production, rather than simply a representative medium. We will research and analyze how the integration of these two disciplines can produce knowledge different from pure cinematic representation or traditional academic scholarship.