“With Silence Speaks, I am not interested in “collecting stories” just for the sake of creating an archive of stories; I am interested in critically examining the ways in which the process of sharing and listening to stories can lead to specific changes across multiple levels of human experience and influence." Amy Hill, Silence Speaks, The Center for Digital Storytelling.
Read more in Amy Hill's interview at Global Voices Online. In it, she discusses a workshop with women survivors of war in the Republic of Congo. Amy is a longtime colleague and continued inspiration for us at Creative Narrations.
Since a Creative Narrations training with Sea Mar Community Health Clinic in 2008/9, Sea Mar health educators have been using digital stories at the Washington statehouse, in the clinic waiting room, and to outreach for their diabetes and tobacco programs. When their funder, the Washington Association of Migrant and Community Health Centers, caught a glimpse of their work, they invited Sea Mar and Creative Narrations to present at their statewide Learning Congress in December of 2009 and to begin a Train the Trainer cohort. In January of 2010, nine individuals representing five organizations from across the state joined forces. Our "trainers to be" created powerful personal stories revealing how tobacco had touched their lives...from quitting smoking when becoming pregnant to losing loved ones to tobacco related diseases. Their next step is to look at how best to implement digital storytelling in their communitiies. We'll post their stories in a few weeks.
For a while now, we've been excited about the potential of digital stories to complement and augment "traditional" online journalism. Well, it's finally happening. Take a look at yesterday's New York Times, where a digital story produced by Brenda Manuelito and Carmella Rodriguez of nDigidreams is the video component to an article on health care issues among Native Americans. Brenda's brother's story, told in his own voice, drives home the issues described in the article, putting a real face to the reality of health care for American Indians.
Brenda Manuelito participated in a Creative Narrations Train the Trainer Digital Storytelling workshop at the Univesity of Arizona's College of Public Health in 2006. Since then, she has beome a tireless advocate for digital storytelling, zigging and zagging across the West to present at Native American and health care conferences. Way to bring these stories to a mainstream audience Brenda, congratulations!
A few months ago, when I was starting my third trimester with my second child, I finally resolved our hospital bill for our first baby. She was born in the fall of 2007. I was hoping we’d have better luck the second time around, but it wasn’t to be. This video is the story of our ludicrous battle with our insurance agency—they insist we should have obtained prior authorization before going into the hospital. Evidently, the nine-plus months of prenatal visits weren’t enough warning. Maternity visits generally don’t require prior authorization since birth is a bit… unpredictable. When I asked the Member Services rep. what I should have done, she told me to read my benefit manual. I should have magically known when I was going into labor (during business hours?!) called every few days if the baby was late, and then I wouldn’t have been subjected to the $1500 penalty charge. If that wasn’t absurd enough, just a few weeks ago my new son received a bill for $600 in his name—-evidently he was supposed to have called and gotten permission to come out as well!
I was expecting to spend hours holding my newborn these past few months, not hours holding the phone. We still haven’t resolved this bill. Before my first pregnancy I was fed up with our health system, but now I am at the breaking point. I know I’m not alone. Almost every mother I know received unexpected bills from the hospital and have been denied insurance claims. I’m glad to be part of a movement of mothers who are addressing health reform bills, not just hospital bills. H.R. 3200 is far from what we deserve, but it’s a step in the right direction. I hope that if my children have babies the idea of worrying about insurance will seem as antiquated to them as giving colicky infants gin seems to us.
This blog was just posted on the MomsRising site, reaching thousands of mothers fed up with our health care system!