The votes are in, and the short film Kim Kozina-Evanoski, adjunct professor of social work, helped produce about the importance of social workers and other health professionals has won the 2016 Media Award for Best Documentary from the National Association of Social Workers.
The 21-minute film “Human Investment,” named to promote the idea that best practices ultimately lead to better health care, aims to expand the limited views of what professionals in her field do.
“We really need to be looking at social workers in a very broad sense,” says Prof. Kozina-Evanoski, who worked on the film with writer and producer Sherry Saturno. “People in the public don’t envision us as being collaborators, as advocates for their needs. We hope the film helps them realize we are allies.”
Prof. Kozina-Evanoski and Ms. Saturno met in 2013, while enrolled in New York University’s nationally recognized Silver Social Work Leadership Fellowship in Palliative and End-of-Life Care. A mutual interest in documentaries led to the film’s premise, which underscores the importance of an interdisciplinary commitment to helping patients, especially those most vulnerable in our society.
“Human Investment” was filmed over a two-day period at Binghamton University, where Prof. Kozina-Evanoski, a visiting faculty member there, had created a care management summit for colleagues from around the country and from more than two dozen professions. Ten professionals interviewed there made the final cut, which took eight months to achieve before a test-run presentation at the National American Society on Aging in 2015.
The response from that viewing, as well as positive feedback from subsequent audiences, has given the women confidence that their film validates important work that too often goes unnoticed.
Prof. Kozina-Evanoski, who uses the film to teach social work students about the significance of collaboration, hopes the film leaves audiences with a clear and consistent message.
“It takes a lot of time and energy and creativity to serve your community, to really be thoughtful,” she says, “and we wanted to celebrate the wonderful work that’s happening in all professions. We have more in common than we think. And when we talk about it, it can produce a really powerful story."