A Short Film Highlighting MS in Hispanic Lives: Fostering Cultural Sensitivity
Objectives: To combine visual technology and medical knowledge in developing a bicultural short film about the Hispanic community affected with multiple sclerosis (MS). The film was guided by focus group studies of Hispanic MS patients and designed to increase knowledge about the perceptions and practices that exist among Hispanic MS patients, their families, and their communities. The short-film was intended to provide an educational tool for better management of MS in this population.
Methods: Faculty from the Immigration Health Initiative, CTSI Community Engagement, and graduates from the USC School of Cinema partnered with the USC Hispanic MS Registry and formed the project committee. Film theme and storyline development was informed by 2 focus groups and individual interviews of Hispanic MS patients recruited from the USC Hispanic MS Registry. Each phase of development and production was discussed and approved by the committee. Images and messages in this short film created a fusion of documentary and experiential narrative.
Results: Five Hispanic MS patients and their families are featured in this 8-minute film. Perceptions of MS, immigrant issues, cultural beliefs and myths were captured and the effects of these factors were highlighted in the individual journeys of these patients. Sections host the experience of these individuals and are intersected with a metaphoric narrative to illustrate the impact of being diagnosed with MS. Further, the short film illuminates the cultural strengths and resilience in coping with and successfully managing MS. Stills from the film are available and will be hosted on a public domain.
Conclusions: A short film that portrays the Hispanic patient and family experience through storytelling has the potential to better illustrate the interplay between immigration, culture, and health, exposing health challenges among MS patients. The project's patient-centered content and multidisciplinary approach present a promising method to deliver culturally sensitive education to aid the growing number of Hispanic MS patients.