Fast Forward Health Film Festival @FastFwdHealth , Washington, DC

Yesterday was the first ever Film Festival ( @FastFwdHealth ), in Washington, DC, where I and many others got to see the world premiere of the 73 Cents film (@eidolonfilms), a documentary of the story of Regina Holliday (@ReginaHolliday).

I was also fortunate to be in attendance representing Kaiser Permanente, who was one of the sponsors of the event, lovingly put together by Andre Blackman (@pulseandsignal is the blog, @mindofandre is the man) and David Haddad (@haddadda). As they explained to me, this work is intended to bring innovation into the public health arena, in a novel, media rich way. And it sounds good to me! I wasn’t really aware of the need for innovation in public health (which I now am), as I may have been focusing a bit too much on medical care (which I now know).

As I mentioned in my opening remarks before the 73 Cents Film and the Everybody Walk film (@everybodywalk), I feel lucky to be part of a health system whose interest in the built and community environment doesn’t end at the front door of the medical office or hospital. As I learned in England last year, a health system is supposed to face the community, not the tertiary care center.

As part of my learning for the event, I also did a little bit of a deep dive on the Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States work in the local community. In 2010, $56 million dollars was spend on uninsured/charity care and community programs, capacity building, and support for conversations like this. You can view a copy of the 2010 report here.

What else? Oh, the films.

I sat next to Susannah Fox (@SusannahFox) as we watched Lunch Line: A Documentary on the National School Lunch Program which is an eye opening, very well done chronology of the school lunch program. I think Susannah and I both had flashbacks to our childhood years, as we put the pieces together around our experiences and the policies that came together to make them the way they were.

Everybody Walks (@everybodywalk) is a compilation of stories from across the United States about work to change the built environment and programs to make communities more walking friendly. I would love to see a sequel called “Everybody has walking meetings,” and one day,”Everybody goes on a walk with their doc.” Speaking of public health, let’s change health care to connect it more to the community, and I can’t think of a better way (see this link for information about walk with a doc, and this one for information about walking meetings.)

73 Cents was really great, aptly titled, and reveals even more depth to Regina’s art. “Don’t give me songs, give me something to sing about.” This journey keeps getting more and more deep and exciting.

And now public health professionals and medical care professionals are crossing over in the innovation and media space. Cool.


Yes, I sure did have flashbacks to school lunches in suburban Philadelphia in the 1970s where I paid six cents for a carton of milk (and my mom carefully counted out the amount each morning so I couldn’t upgrade to chocolate milk, which cost more). I don’t remember desserts being a big part of our lunches back then and “Lunch Line” explained why: calorie count became a metric for school lunch in the 1990s. In order to meet requirements, desserts were added. Sigh.

When I was in 4th grade my family moved to suburban Pittsburgh, where I attended an elementary school which had an “open campus” and an hour and a half for lunch (!!). I could choose to go home (if my mom was going to be there) or go out with my friends to one of the restaurants on the same street as my school. Yep, we just strolled out of the school, turned right, and made our culinary choice. I was given $2 each day by my mom, which could buy one slice of pizza, one small soda, and a Three Musketeers bar. What can I say? I was living the 4th grade dream.

Anyway, back to FastForwardHealth, which was a wonderful event. I wore my Regina Holliday-painted jacket and had the great pleasure to meet someone who had seen it on Regina’s blog and singled it out as her favorite of The Walking Gallery paintings. Turns out she and her colleagues were there from Westat and we geeked out about the power of data at intermission. Thanks to Andre & his team for creating yet another opportunity for serendipity and learning in DC!

Thank you so much for coming, we were truly honored to have people like you, Susannah and all the other speakers there for the launch of FastForwardHealth. I loved what Craig said in the opening – we need a hope and inspiration arm to the public health movement – that is what FFH is about. And this was clearly exemplified by EverybodyWalks and 73cents. We have a catalog of movies/video and would welcome ideas of other inspirational footage.

Ted – we are also looking forward to some of your photos from the event as well!

Hi Aman,

Well it was great to be there and I look forward to the next one! I realized the photos I took didn’t come through, they’re up on the post now. I saw that there was someone with a really good camera there so I didn’t take as many as I normally do,


Hi Ted,

Thanks for the shout out. My twitter handle is @haddadda (double d’s) . We were honored to have you. Laila ( is going to be getting some of the great photos out soon so all can view.

@Susannah Fox, thanks for coming to the event. Would love to catch up to learn more about your work.

I recently went to my high school in Hayward, CA and the food looks worse than ever. The grease on the pizzas and the damp burgers and fries continue to irk me. It’s funny there was a time when I used to crave that stuff. My mom used to make hummus and yogurt and zaatar sandwiches for us when we were kids and I used to be embarrassed. Arabic food was not part of the American diet at the time. I used to trade with the kids who got the school lunches (greasy pizza and bean+cheese burritos). So glad things have changed for the better.


I also came home to arabic food and it also made me feel out of place at times, now I feel very lucky that my parents stayed the course that they knew best, and now you know that you ultimately had the trendiest lunch in town!

I fixed your twitter handle above, too, I enjoy crowdsourcing posts for accuracy :), Thanks again,


Ted! Huge thanks for making the first FastForward Health festival a big success! So glad to hear about your thoughts, along with Suannah. These are the issues that need to be addressed with new, fresh ideas because they affect our public’s health on a systemic level. Without changing these foundational problems, we will continue spinning our wheels.

Communications can only go so far. We can talk about things until we’re blue in the face, but unless we get to the root of the problem – we’re destined to continue repeating (and becoming even more behind) with these global health problems.

I’m also on Twitter as @mindofandre – thanks again!!


So true, I like the way of thinking, it’s so DC in a good way.

I also added your twitter handle above, thank goodness MacOSX Lion makes it easier to keep track of such things,


Ted, Andre, David and Aman,

As the lights dimmed and the opening to Lunchline faded in, I wondered what the film’s impact would be on my daughter (age 13) and my son (age 10). I brought them along to @FastForwardHealth’s film festival to introduce them to and engage them in the ideas and the people I connect with at work; the people I admire so much.

But I had a flicker of worry about Lunchline, honestly. I wondered if it would be overly heavy-hitting for their young minds. But after the first scene rolled, my worry dissipated and a feeling of gratitude set in. I was grateful for more than the food we eat. I was grateful for the ideas we have access to, the ideas that were covered in many creative ways in the films screened that evening.

While we regularly discuss food choices at home, we don’t generally delve into the themes Lunchline touched on: the origins of the school lunch program, the significant disparities access to food at school can create; and the critical message that at this moment in time we all need to cycle back and reconnect food basics with social justice, not just a quest for local, organic food.

While the kids loved the @EverybodyWalks shorts from KP, I couldn’t myself venture to pick a favorite speaker or film. If you forced me to, I’d say I enjoyed getting a close-up look at an especially “gingered” @ReginaHolliday in the movie #73cents. Kudos to the producer and director of that film because it isn’t as easy to produce a compelling, honest and beautiful personal story as they made it look in that film. Beutiful montages and lots of advanced storytelling techniques were put into play in 11 minutes.

Can’t wait for next year! Could there be a youth track? …


This is the kind of individual impact we love hearing about Christine! Thanks so much for chiming in and even moreso for bringing the kids along. As we change minds one person at a time to get engaged in their communities, we build a force of people thinking for themselves and learning – which we hope to ultimately lead to sustainable change.

We are most definitely open to additional track themes for the next time around, thanks so much for the suggestion!


Ted Eytan, MD