Film festival examines minority health topics

Film festival examines minority health topics

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This past weekend, Milwaukee hosted a film festival that was the first of its kind not only in the city, but in the United States.

The Minority Health Film Festival, which ran Sept. 12-15, was the country’s first film festival created to address the topic, said Heidi Moore, director of emerging markets and inclusion at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin and one of the festival’s organizers.

A featured film driven by personal experience is Jaqai Mickelson’s “Spilled Milk.” The documentary addresses the issue of sickle cell disease. The disease, Clayton-Jones said, is a genetic abnormality that causes blood cells to be sickle shaped. It causes complications of “traffic jams of cells” which can result in pain and severe health risks.

Mickelson documents his best friend Omar’s experience living with the disease in an effort to spread awareness of the affliction which in the United States primarily affects African American populations.

While sickle cell disease is still one of the most common inherited genetic diseases, Clayton-Jones said, and is not widely known among health professionals in the United States.

It was Clayton-Jones’s idea to bring the film to Milwaukee. As president of the International Association of Sickle Cell Nurses and Professional Associates, Clayton-Jones said she feels passionate about spreading awareness of the disease, which afflicts a population that “suffers from an incredible amount of stigma and social injustice.”

Clayton-Jones suggested airing the documentary to Moore and Monique Graham, the director of community engagement at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin, unaware that they were already in the process of putting together a film festival focusing on the very topic “Spilled Milk” addresses: health and minority communities. Fittingly, Clayton-Jones said, September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month.

Clayton-Jones participated in the discussion panel after the film, and Marquette officially sponsored the “Spilled Milk” showing.

While the Minority Health Film Festival addressed a variety of health issues involving a variety of communities, many of the films and discussions shared a common theme: hope.

To watch Spilled Milk go to

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