MSU Professor Documents Medical Students in Flint

Geri Alumit Zeldes, an associate professor and graduate studies director in MSU's School of Journalism, has a documentary in the works. "Flint Med," the tentative title, is about third and fourth-year medical students in the College of Human Medicine who are participating in the Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved Program (LMU) in Flint.

Zeldes says, "The film will capture the students as they engage with the community and with residents devastated by the lead water crisis."

The inspiration for the film, Zeldes said, came from it being a "unique opportunity to bear witness to MSU students who are on the ground and fulfilling our university's land grant mission to serve Michigan's vulnerable populations."

This story hits home for Zeldes. As a Flint native, she exclaimed that Flint isn't just a place that's home to her family, it's a place "rich in storytellers."

Some of the students who will be featured in the film were discovered on a "Windshield Tour," a bus tour of Flint narrated by a Flint local. The film crew was present, making it easier to observe and gauge interest in the opportunity. Three LMU students were chosen based on their charisma, recommendation and the interest they expressed in the film project.

The documentary will consist of sit-down interviews of LMU students, Flint residents and MSU faculty and staff. Additionally, the documentary will include footage of students in action with accompanying interviews.

Although the LMU students will be in the film, they will also be asked to keep a weekly video diary to keep track of their experiences and to learn some film production skills.

Zeldes said the biggest challenge in making the film has been distance since the travel time to Flint has to be worth it to cover the expense. To help fund the project, Zeldes said she will be "pitching units and organizations to help defray production costs."

Zeldes hopes the documentary will reach a general audience interested in the subject of the film.

"I want to document this part of Flint's history, and I hope the film will move its viewers," she said.