PROVIDENCE, RI – The Pandemic Center of the Brown University School of Public Health is launching a new “Our Storied Health Film and Media Series” with a panel and screening (October 30) of “Shot in the Arm”, a new documentary by filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy (THE GARDEN, FOOD EVOLUTION) and executive produced by Neil deGrasse Tyson, that explores vaccine hesitancy historically and in the context of our modern pandemic.
“Our Storied Health Film and Media Series” is a year-long integrated media experience that illuminates the importance of our collective health and what can be done to enhance it. Through film screenings, campus conversations, and how-to workshops it will showcase the power of storytelling as a public health intervention. The series is curated by Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, Director of the Pandemic Center of the Brown School of Public Health, with epidemiologist and documentary filmmaker Dr. Jennifer Galvin, Brown ’95. It is part of a university-wide initiative at Brown University, Brown Arts IGNITE, a multi-year series of activities across the university and the region.
“In an environment of fast-moving and multi-layered communications, we’ve got to engage effectively to help ensure people know what they should and must do to meet the public health challenges we have to face together,” said Dr. Nuzzo. “That means we’ve got to recognize the importance of exploring different ways of communicating and new ways of storytelling.”
Kennedy had begun investigating the global measles epidemic, long before anyone had heard of COVID-19. He was filming with top public health officials–including Dr. Tony Fauci–as well as rare interviews with anti-vaccine activists who were persuading parents by the millions to refuse vaccines for their children. Then COVID-19 happened and Kennedy, acting quickly, shifted his directorial eye to this once-in-a-century tragedy. Both skeptical and hopeful, “Shot in the Arm” explores the question: Can we replace cynicism with healthy curiosity and bridge the political divides that make us sick?
“Story is a way people come together to solve problems,” said Dr. Galvin, “It’s time to center narrative because people remember stories more than numbers. At a time when there is a critical need to create and provide credible public health information, storytelling – through film, music, art and more – can be a valuable resource, and Brown is the ideal campus to start this initiative.”
“Our Storied Health Film and Media Series” is part of Brown Arts IGNITE, a multi-year series of creative activations, interventions, and investigations produced by communities across Brown, Providence, the Rhode Island region, and beyond.