Clinic Showcased in Student Film

A documentary exploring the mission and accomplishments of the Fleur de Vie medical clinic will premiere on Friday (Jan. 8) at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. The film, titled simply Fleur de Vie, is produced and directed by Brittany Blockman, a student at the Tulane University School of Medicine who says she was inspired by the positive impact her classmates have had on the community. Fleur de Vie is the school's first free healthcare clinic to be founded and operated by medical students.

At the Fleur de Vie clinic, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, left, and a Tulane medical student examine a patient. DeSalvo is chief of the section of general internal medicine and geriatrics. (Photos by LMH Photography)

"I thought it was important to capture the story behind the clinic for posterity, since it has been such a unique feature of the medical school experience at Tulane," says Blockman, who before coming to Tulane studied at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts graduate program in film and video.

"There is a palpable electricity here and a winning combination of community-minded medical students and visionary faculty who are witnessing and driving a revolution in health care," she says.

Blockman, who serves as the development coordinator for Fleur de Vie, says her interest in medicine first blossomed while taking pre-med classes at Princeton University but intensified in making the 2003 documentary, The Looking Glass House, which explored life and death in a San Francisco AIDS hospice.

Dr. Marc Kahn, left, associate dean, works with medical students involved in the Fleur de Vie clinic.

"The experience deepened my awareness for what is at stake for patients and families — socially, financially and emotionally," says Blockman.

In Fleur de Vie, Blockman traces the short history of the clinic through interviews with medical faculty, students and patients, beginning after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The clinic received a national community health care award in 2007.

The documentary will premiere at a gala that begins at 7 p.m. at 900 Camp St. Tickets to the event can be purchased online and at the door.

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