Documentary Film and Workshop at Medical School Will Call Attention to Racism in Healthcare System

Racism in the healthcare system is the subject of a documentary film and workshop being presented on Thursday, Jan. 22, by the School of Medicine and URU, The Right To Be Inc.

The 55-minute film, titled “The Deadliest Disease in America,” will be screened at 4 p.m. at the Jane E. Hope Building, 315 Cedar St. This event kicks off URU’s national civic engagement tour, which focuses on the question “What does change really look like?”

The documentary, produced and directed by Crystal Emery, follows four individuals, including the filmmaker, whose personal stories add to the national debate on America’s healthcare crisis. Emery shares her own experience as an African American encountering racism while navigating the healthcare system. The filmmaker, whose arms and legs are paralyzed as a result of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (a form of Muscular Dystrophy), hopes that sharing these stories will stimulate conversations that move individuals to action.

“With an astonishing capacity to see, understand and represent truth, Crystal Emery confronts racism in our healthcare system,” says Dr. Forrester Lee, assistant dean of multicultural affairs at the School of Medicine and professor of internal medicine (cardiology). “In producing ‘The Deadliest Disease in America,’ she gives voice to events and stories that for too long have been ignored and devalued. Her film forces medical practitioners to consider how racism has infected the body of medical practice. We are invited to heal ourselves through contemplation, dialogue and action. This film is a brave and matchless work that will find a receptive audience everywhere.”

The film will be followed by a workshop on “Breaking the Cycle of Racism in Healthcare Delivery.” The event will be led by Dr. Bert M. Petersen Jr., founder and managing partner of Global Cancer Control LLC; Dr. Marion Evans, director of health and social services for the City of Bridgeport; Tresmaine Grimes, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Iona College; and Dr. Kelson Ettienne-Modeste, health and wellness educator. The workshop is intended to empower and teach both clinicians and community members.

The evening will end with a question-and-answer session and dinner. For more information about the film and to view a trailer, visit URU’s website at

To R.S.V.P. for the event, send an e-mail to or call (203) 392-0983.

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