URU The right To Be

Changing the Face of Medicine

The Project

The Participants

About Crystal Emery

Production Team

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Changing the Face of Medicine 

Why We Need Your Help

We have been working diligently to complete Changing the Face of Medicine.

Now, we are in the final stretch.

The Inspiration

In December of 2010, I was introduced to two amazing women: Dr. Doris Wethers, one of the first black women to attend Yale Medical School, and Dr. Beatrix Hamburg, the first woman to graduate from Yale Medical School. When I heard these women speak of the odds they had to overcome in order to achieve their dreams I felt a sense of personal power. These were stories that needed to be told. I envisioned a documentary that would tell the stories of these women doctors as tools for inspiring and motivating young people to believe in themselves and their ability to achieve their own dreams. This documentary would be a film for all times and all generations; it would motivate and empower all who viewed it. The stories of these women will remind us that the greatest power to achieve and change our world lies within each one of us. I began to do the research and found that there was a hidden current of legacies of African American women in the medical field who were succeeding and pushing past the status quo. These women deserved to be celebrated - Changing the Face of Medicine was born.

About the Project

In Changing the Face of Medicine, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, a former Surgeons General of the United States shares her journey from a sharecropper to becoming the Surgeon’s General. Dr. Jennifer Ellis tells of her journey though medical school and despite many obstacles how her indomitable will lead her to become one of the few women practicing cardiothoracic surgery in America today. Dr. Karen Morris-Priester relates her struggles from becoming a teenage mother to being accepted to Yale Medical School at the age of 40. These and other stories of our featured women in Changing the Face of Medicine highlight the lives of unsung women doctors and their journeys beyond inequality to excellence.

Society is permeated with all forms of media and it is paramount that engaging mediums be used, not just for entertainment, but for education. While there are many reasons for both educational and healthcare workforce disparities, one contributing factor is a lack of positive role models of color and the perpetuation of stereotypes of people of color in media. These two factors have a direct effect on the way children perceive themselves and others. Those who lack financial resources are less likely to find “positive reflections” of themselves in local communities. This means that it is quite unlikely that disadvantaged youth will interact with professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc). This documentary will fill the gap that exists for positive role models in the media and act as an educational catalyst for students to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.


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URU, The Right To Be, Inc., is a public, non-member, charitable 501(c)3 organization.