Lauren Anders Brown guest blogs her experience filming in Rwanda with Globalsurg

In 2016 the GlobalSurg team visited Rwanda to deliver a 2 day audit and research skills course at the University of Rwanda.

The team were lucky enough to be joined by humanitarian film maker, Lauren Anders Brown, from the independent film company, Collaborate: Ideas & Images. During the trip Lauren made a film about the work of GlobalSurg.

Here Lauren blogs her experience of visiting Rwanda with the GlobalSurg team.

Filming GlobalSurgResearch Collaboration and Capacity Building

Traveling and working are two things I enjoy the most about my job as a humanitarian filmmaker. Meeting new people, exploring cultures, and having an exposure I wouldn’t as a tourist are some of the many reasons I have dedicated myself to this field. I have a passion for telling stories in the form of documentary films, and I have chosen to take on several projects pro-bono to make a meaningful contribution to society along the way.

Earlier this year I was invited to join a group of surgeons running a project called GlobalSurg, as they were heading to Rwanda to teach a research skills course. GlobalSurg is a collaborative research group gathering bedside-level patient data from all across the world to present outcomes that can have huge impacts on our understanding of global health.

I found this fascinating, not only because of the potential global impact on patients and health systems, but because up until now I’d felt the film industry was one of the few where you had to make a sacrifice of time, money, energy, and sometimes sanity to create films, develop your skills, and hopefully win the next project (and hope that one is paid). Who else constantly works for free? I was fascinated when I learned how hard these doctors were working outside of their clinical day-jobs on things they felt passionately about in order to further our understanding of important global health issues.

I was presented with the opportunity to support this group of surgeons by simply giving my time and talents to capture them on camera as they were teaching a course in Rwanda. Their students would then be able to research, publish, contribute, and teach others. It was the ultimate case of paying it forward.

If we’re lucky, in this life we’ll all find work we’re destined to do. Doctors and surgeons naturally have that calling earlier in life to prepare them for the years of education and training ahead. I on the other hand choose to diverge from the path of a comfortable career in the film industry in New York working on major network TV shows because I felt I needed to do something more impactful for society with my skills.

Choosing to donate time, resources, and energy is something I have to limit now that I’m becoming more established, but from time-to-time there are projects I’m presented with that I feel strongly about covering and commit to. While I cannot take on every project or client that has a need for those skills, I was honored to have been asked and contribute in my own way to GlobalSurg. 

I hope you also find their unique international research collaboration as one worth contributing to, and supporting.

To donate to GlobalSurg please follow this link to the SURG Foundation:

Lauren Anders Brown