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    Meet Me Where I Am

    University of Utah Health 
    Electronic Communications: Audio and Video - Silver

    Meet Me Where I Am is the story of Adolphus Nickleberry, who, after losing both of his parents to treatable health conditions, spent 31 years coping with his trauma in a vicious cycle of addiction, prison, and homelessness. With the help of the Intensive Outpatient Clinic at University of Utah Health, he broke that cycle. He confronted his pain, became sober, and reconnected with his family.

    This film is the second part in a long-term strategy called New Narratives in Health. The goal of this initiative is to tap into the power of film to inspire change and action. Meet Me Where I Am shines a spotlight on the value of population health, the importance of trauma-informed care, the intergenerational ripples of health inequities, the trauma of racism, and the impact this model of care has on the professional fulfillment of typically burned-out health care providers.

    What was the most impactful part of your entry?
    The film has already inspired audiences across the country and changes in the medical education curriculum. But the most impactful part of this project is it has inspired change in a part of society also impacted by health disparities. Thirty executives from the Utah Department of Corrections viewed the film, shared it with the state’s governor, and are now using the trauma-informed approach to care to consider how they can better treat people convicted of crimes. Further, the legislature is working with the university to double the size of the Intensive Outpatient Clinic to serve twice as many patients, including a proposed expansion of scope to women and children.

    What challenge did you overcome?
    Dealing with the constraints of time, in addition to the constraints presented by the ongoing pandemic, was challenging in countless ways. We had an incredibly tight timeline on which to tell a very powerful story in a deeply impactful way. The time between the beginning of production — from December. 13, 2021, to the first premiere on January 28, 2022 — was just over six weeks. The coordinated efforts of our directors and producers, as well as the combined work of two editors (one on each U.S. coast), allowed us to get the film done. We were lucky to have such an excellent relationship and trust with the film’s subjects and such a coordinated effort during production. This speaks to the power of what you can do with the right team.

    Joe Borgenicht