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Real Life Film Series opens Sept. 27 with 'Clinica de Migrantes', a film with ties to the VCU Common Book

September 7, 2018

Six thought-provoking documentaries will be shown in the Real Life Film Series for 2018-19. Students, faculty, staff and health professionals are invited to screenings of these engaging documentaries on health science topics. Following each film is a discussion about how the subject matter relates to current work at VCU and impacts global health. Speakers with expertise in the film's topic lead the group in lively discussion about the science and issues explored in the film. 

The opening night film is "Clinica de Migrantes," which illustrates, through one clinic, the strain undocumented residents and uninsured patients place on the U.S. health care system. 

After the screening, the discussion will be led by Mark Ryan, M.D., a family physician at VCUHealth. He is the medical director of the Hayes E. Willis Health Center in South Richmond, where approximately 25% of the patients are Latinx and another 40% are uninsured. He spent 10 years as a child in Latin America, and he currently leads medical service trips twice a year to the Dominican Republic. He has been actively engaged in providing health outreach services to the Latinx community in Richmond and advocates for healthcare access for all. 

This event is held in conjunction with the VCU Common Book program. The 2018–19 common book, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli, explores immigration politics by focusing on undocumented children. 

Clínica de Migrantes will be shown at 5 p.m. at Larrick Student Center, Court End Ballroom. Dinner will be served. Seating is limitedRegister for this Sept. 27 event.

The balance of the series lineup and related programming: 

Domestic Violence and Health Care
Oct. 11, 12:10–1 p.m.
Register for this Oct. 11 event.
Tompkins-McCaw Library
Special Collections and Archives Reading Room
Offers an inside look at the highly regarded domestic violence program at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. The film will be followed by a discussion featuring experts from VCU and VCU Health:

  • Maria Altonen, MA, EMPOWER coordinator, Injury and Violence Prevention Program, VCU Health
  • Amy Cook, Ph.D., chair of the Criminal Justice Program, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
  • Elizabeth "Liz" Cramer, Ph.D., professor, VCU School of Social Work

That Sugar Film
Nov. 15, 12:10–1 p.m.
Register for this Nov. 15 event.
Tompkins-McCaw Library
Lecture Room 2-010
Documents an experiment to discover the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body.

Forgotten Genius
Feb. 14, 12:10–1 p.m.
Register for this Feb. 14 event.
Tompkins-McCaw Library
Lecture Room 2-010
Brings to life the unknown story of world class scientist and civil rights pioneer Percy Julian.

Hidden Pictures
March 14, 12:10–1 p.m.
Register for this March 14 event.
Tompkins-McCaw Library
Lecture Room 2-010
Sheds light on the underexposed world of global mental health.

Unseen Enemy
April 11, 12:10–1 p.m.
Register for this April 11 event.
Tompkins-McCaw Library
Lecture Room 2-010
Examines the threat of epidemics in the 21st century and what we can do to fight them.

* * *

The film series is free and open to all. Parking is available for a fee in the 8th Street parking deck. For special accommodations, or to register offline, please contact Thelma Mack, research and education coordinator, at or (804) 828-0017.


Films are from VCU Libraries' holdings and may be checked out for personal or class use at Tompkins-McCaw Library, 509 N. 12th St. Some films can be streamed through VCU Libraries' Kanopy database.

This series is presented by VCU Libraries' Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences and University Student Commons and Activities.

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