View a two-minute piece featuring projects by Palliative Care Fellow Christopher Jones and Adolescent Psychiatry Resident Jennifer Segura. THE APPLICATION DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO SEPTEMBER 6. WE ARE OFFERING 15 PHYSICIAN RESIDENTS AND FELLOWS THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH THE CENTER FOR DOCUMENTARY STUDIES ON A PROJECT IN THE COMING YEAR. For questions, email

Make That Documentary: A Program for Duke Medical Residents from Liisa Ogburn on Vimeo.

About the Story

This Personal History piece, published in the June 20, 2011 issue of the New Yorker, chronicles the diagnosis and treatment of the author’s nine-month-old daughter’s brain tumor
To read more, visit


About the Author

Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project,which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award, and three collections of short stories: The Question of BrunoNowhere Man, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Love and Obstacles, which will be published by Riverhead Books on May 14, 2009.  Born in Sarajevo, Hemon visited Chicago in 1992, intending to stay for a matter of months. While he was there, Sarajevo came under siege, and he was unable to return home. Hemon wrote his first story in English in 1995. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation in 2004.  He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.



June 27, 2011 | | Leave a Comment


About the Film

HOSPITAL shows the daily activities of a large urban hospital with the emphasis on the emergency ward and outpatient clinics. The cases depicted illustrate how medical expertise, availability of resources, organizational considerations, and the nature of communication among the staff and patients affect the delivery of appropriate health care.

About the Filmmaker

For close to thirty years, Frederick Wiseman has created an exceptional body of work consisting of thirty full length films devoted primarily to exploring American institutions. Over time these films have become a record of the western world, since now more than ever as we approach the century’s close, nothing North American is really foreign to us.

The institutions that Wiseman examined early in his career – a hospital, a high school, army basic training, a welfare center, a police precinct – have “problems” that the filmmaker uncovers. His approach reveals the profound acknowledged and unacknowledged conformity and inequality of American society. To see more about “Hospital” and his other work, visit:


Dying at Grace

June 27, 2011 |  Tagged , , | Leave a Comment

About the Film

This film is about the experience of dying. Five terminal patients in a Palliative Care Unit share the last days of their lives and deaths with a film crew. They do so in the hope that their experience will be useful to the audience in managing its own fear of dying and death. Their families, friends and staff share in the task. Without narration or interviews, the camera simply and intimately observes the events that occur over the course of fourteen weeks as five people come face to face with the doorway through which we all must pass.

About the Filmmaker

Internationally acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Allan King is among his country’s best filmmakers. His most famous film is his debut Warrendale, a wrenching documentary examination of life in a home for emotional disturbed teens. So brutal and disturbing was the 1966 made-for-television film that neither the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation nor the BBC would air the film. He released it theatrically in 1966 and it won a prize at Cannes and earned him a reputation as a major filmmaker. King was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. Before becoming a director he obtained a degree in philosophy, worked as a cabbie and traveled throughout Europe. In 1954 he began working for the CBC and became a television director in 1956. During the ’60s, King began working independently as a director and producer. Later he took much of the footage he had not used inWarrendale and used it to create Children in Conflict, an 18-part television series. In addition to producing and directing features and television shows in Canada, King also made films in Great Britain.

About the Exhibit and Book

Grace Before Dying is an award-winning photographic documentary by Lori Waselchuk that chronicles the prisoner-run hospice program at Angola State Penitentiary, Louisiana’s maximum-security prison. Through a Distribution Grant from the Open Society Documentary Photography Project, Waselchuk collaborated with the Angola Hospice Volunteer Quilters to build a traveling exhibit featuring photographs from her project and quilts commissioned for the exhibit. To read more about this exhibit and forthcoming book, visit:

About the Photographer

Lori Waselchuk is a documentary photographer whose photographs have appeared in magazines and newspapers worldwide including NewsweekLIFEThe New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. She has produced photographs for several international aid organizations including CARE, the UN World Food Program, Médecins Sans Frontières, and The Vaccine Fund.

About the Film

Gen Silent asks six LGBT seniors if they will hide their friends, their spouses- their entire lives in order to survive in the care system.

Their surprising decisions are captured through intimate access to their day-to-day lives over the course of a year.  It puts a face on what experts in the film call an epidemic: gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender older people so afraid of discrimination by caregivers or bullying by other seniors that many simply go back into the closet.

Gen Silent shows the disparity in the quality of paid caregiving from mainstream care facilities committed to making their LGBT residents safe and happy,  to places where LGBT elders face discrimination by staff and bullying by other seniors. As we watch the challenges that these men and women face, we are offered new hope as each person crosses paths with impassioned people trying to change LGBT aging for the better.

About the Filmmaker

Stu Maddox is a freelance writer, editor and cinematographer with international credits who has become a multi-award winning producer and director of non-fiction films and television including “Bob and Jack’s 52-year Adventure Together” and “Trip to Hell and Back.”

His work has been televised internationally including Showtime, BBC and The Learning Channel.   It has screened at more than 80 film festivals winning top honors at a number of those. His company MAD STU Productions self-distributes his films in theaters and on line.

Prior to independent filmmaking Maddux was a supervising producer creating programming for national networks including NBC, VH-1 and TLC.

He began his career as a television reporter/anchor in Nashville, Tennessee where he won six regional Emmies.

To view more about this film, visit:

This New York Times article and multimedia piece looks at organ donation through the lens of one family’s story. The story of the Garcias and the people whose lives were saved by one man’s donated organs provides a close look at the charged world of transplants and organ donation, where people on the transplant list know they may die waiting, and the families of brain-dead patients are asked, at perhaps the most painful time in their lives, to look beyond their own grief and allow a loved one’s organs to be removed to help strangers.

There are nowhere near enough donor organs for all the people who need transplants. Nearly 111,000 are on waiting lists in the United States, but last year, only 28,663 transplants were performed, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the transplant system nationwide. This year, 6,000 to 7,000 people are expected to die waiting.

To see the whole article and multimedia piece, visit:


Waiting for Death

May 25, 2011 |  Tagged | Leave a Comment

The Audio Slide show

Edwin Shneidman was not afraid of death. He studied it all his life. L.A. Times Photographer Liz Balen produced this 3-minute piece right before Schneidman passed away.

To view, visit:,0,3414993.htmlstory

About the Exhibit

The exhibit, “I CANcer: a photo journey,” grew out of a new support group at UNC Hospitals for teens who have survived cancer or rare blood disorders. It was started by recreational therapist/child life specialist Jessica Irven and Dr. Justin Yopp, a psychologist at the N.C. Cancer Hospital.

The idea for the exhibit came from Irven’s co-worker Stephanie Mazze, who had heard about a New York City hospital that gave teens cameras to document their experiences with major illness.

In the support group meetings, the teens ate pizza, downloaded photos onto a big screen and talked about what each picture represented. Irven helped facilitate along with Yopp, and Heather Rompel, a pediatric oncology nurse who planned to stay for one session and stayed for the entire nine months since. Mazze’s husband Aaron donated cameras and memory cards.

“One of the main comments we hear from teens going through this experience of cancer is that their peers just cannot relate, understandably,” Irven said. “In this group they have had a chance to find out their experiences had some commonalities and that, while their particular journey was unique, the path they went down was similar to others. That is so important, for teens to know they are normal.”

With her lymphoma now in remission, Toomey is joining five other teenaged cancer survivors in putting on a photography exhibit at University Mall. It opens this Wednesday, May 18, with a free meet-the-artists’ reception from 6 to 8 p.m. and runs through next Sunday.

To find out more, visit:

About the Project

Crammed into the wing of Marie Curie Hospital in Bucharest, 20 children diagnosed with cancer are fighting everyday for their lives. Living conditions in the hospital are harsh, with not enough beds or nurses, no proper medicine or medical instruments. The current conditions offer them only a 50% chane of survival,” says Dr. Cristian Scurtu, a veteran doctor who has been at the hospital since 1984. This series captures the stories of several of these children. To view the series, visit:

About the Photographer

Born in Bucharest in 1983, Cristian Movila spent his early life in Romania with his family. He works as a freelance photographer around the world. This project began in 2007 in an effort to raise money for the children in this photo essay. In 2008, a philanthropic campaign was established using Cristian’s photographs. Since then, they have raised over $1.5 million euros for this cause.