USF medical students head to Europe to film how healthcare systems are working

While American politicians chip away at fixing the healthcare system in the United States, three medical students from the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine will travel to Europe this summer to film firsthand accounts of how systems in three leading European countries are working.

SELECT film team_RSS (2)

From left, Glenn DeAngelis, Camille Imbo and Alex Podlaski.

Glenn DeAngelis, Camille Imbo and Alex Podlaski, all rising second-year students in the MCOM’s SELECT program, will leave in June and travel to England, France and Switzerland to interview the people most affected by healthcare. The aim is to create a documentary that sheds light on what helps make other healthcare systems work, which could help improve the system in the U.S., Podlaski said.

“The end goal is to create an educational piece for medical students because we are the future leaders who will be changing the current system,” he said. “Why is it that these countries consistently achieve better health outcomes than the United States while spending less money to do it? We hope our film sheds light on how their systems work, and how they don’t work, and what components of them might work here.”

Widening the scope for that kind of discussion can only improve the discussion in the U.S., said Robert G. Brooks, MD, MBA, MPH, professor of internal medicine in MCOM and in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the USF College of Public Health, and faculty mentor for the documentary film project.

“It is exciting to see our medical students exploring the different healthcare systems in these diverse countries, and to use their findings to educate their classmates and the public on contrasting healthcare services and policies,” Dr. Brooks said.

The team will interview physicians, policymakers and administrators, as well as patients. The students have framed out a general storyline but are letting the film’s true narrative present itself as they make their way through interviews.

At the outset, the students knew funding the trip would be difficult, so they initiated a page on Kickstarter, the international crowdfunding service where users can pledge money to finance creative projects.

Called Bringing Healthcare Home, the documentary project quickly generated support funding. The original goal was $3,000, but quickly surpassed that with 52 backers providing $3,520. The money will be used to buy high definition video and sound equipment, lighting, and a hard drive capable of storing large video files, as well as editing services, licensing and marketing for the resulting film.

“We are so grateful for the support that we have received for our project so far,” Imbo said. “It is incredibly motivating to know that our friends and family, as well as the faculty here at USF, are behind us.”

“Much of the success of our project hindered on the outcome of the Kickstarter page, so the fact that we were able to reach and surpass our goal of $3,000 is truly amazing.” DeAngelis said.