Video Course

New Media, Video, & Public Health Leadership

Public Health 290, Section 4 (4 units)
CCN: 77003
Spring 2011
Fridays 12-4
Instructors: Caricia Catalani, DrPH & Ellie Schindelman, MPH

The same skills you use to update your Facebook status can be used to change the world. In PH290, students worked together to use video & new media for good.

The spring semester of this course was a continuation from the fall class, where students developed skills in video shooting and editing. We invited students with previous video experience to join the class in spring. The class focused on learning how to work with real community organizations to produce health advocacy videos and solidify video production skills.

In partnership with East Oakland public health organizations that are part of the Cal Endowment Building Healthy Communities Initiative, students created short videos about social justice issues related to health. With the support of professional film producers and public health experts, students learned how to use videos for social change through online social media tools and offline community partnerships. Throughout the course, students mastered their video production and editing skills, supported local public health initiatives, networked with public health advocates, and developed leadership and teamwork skills. Students gained practical and real life experience in video production, health communication, and project leadership. During bi-monthly Friday meetings, student teams met with video production and team management coaches to facilitate a meaningful learning experience; on alternate Fridays, students worked with their video teams and community partners to create their videos.

Prerequisites: participation in Fall PH290 or, with instructor permission, basic video production knowledge/skills and familiarity with Final Cut Pro/Express.

This course began in the Fall of 2009 as a new course in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. To get an idea of what's possible in this course, check out students' video premier party, final videos about leadership, featured reflection videos, and reviews of the course.


Featured Student Videos


"Top 10 Reasons Why I Loved the Video and Public Health Leadership Class" by Natalie Sacramento

MPH, Health and Social Behavior

"Reflections" by Daniel Kwaro

MD, MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

"Rule of Thirds" by Gerald Reyes

Language, Literacy, Society, & Culture, Graduate School of Education

Student Reviews

Student Review: Emily Buzzell, MPH Student, Interdisciplinary

I love this class!  Not only is it a ton of fun, but it is also providing me with some very practical tools for public health practice. Video is a great way to communicate research findings to a wider audience, advocate for public health campaigns, and add a participatory element to public health research and practice.  So it’s super awesome that the Berkeley School of Public Health has a class devoted to the use of video in public health!

My group is making a video to answer the question, “Regarding health care reform, what does it mean to lead from where you are?”  Equipped with our camera, tripod, microphone, and a whole lot of skills we have learned in teamwork and leadership, we have interviewed health care reform advocates, health care providers, professors, and students.  We have heard so many different stories and seen so many different faces in the battle for health care reform.  It’s been an eye-opening, fun, and valuable experience.

I’m also acquiring countless new skills in video production, video editing, storytelling, teamwork, and leadership!  I never knew how to operate a camera and tripod before I took this class. I never knew what pan, tilt, and medium-close shots were.  I never knew that asking for “feedforward” (rather than feedback) from your teammates is a great way of improving your teamwork skills as you move forward with a project. I’m excited to take these skills into my eventual career as a public health professional.  I also now feel like a little bit of a superstar when I watch movies now and am able to identify all the various filming techniques that filmmakers use!

On the normal distribution of the enjoyment level of graduate school classes, Video and Public Health Leadership is two standard deviations above the mean.  It has been so much fun, I have learned so much, and I have made some great friends with my teammates.  I’m excited for the spring semester!


Student Review: Ann Foley, Policy, Organization, Measurement and Evaluation Area Assistant, Graduate School of Education

"Before this class, my concept of leaders were people who were born with the charisma and extroverted personalities to convince everyone to do what they wanted. What I learned is that leading from where you are involves BOTH empowering others AND not giving up your own power.

I can empower others by listening, respecting their point-of-view, and not pushing my own ideas or approach. I can stay empowered by respectfully speaking up and being true to my vision, and not caving in or pleasing/serving others for the sake of being liked or avoiding conflict.

From meetings with our instructors, I also gained a lot more respect for all that goes into skillful facilitation. Without it, there are so many ways that group work can go wrong! I now understand that I'm not fundamentally flawed or incapable of working in teams. I can practice sharing my ideas while hearing and respecting others. I can change my approach to working in groups without having to rewire my whole personality. I also learned the difference between a work or study group and a real team: having a clear goal that we have to accomplish together.

At work, I've been taking more initiative to prepare meeting agendas that address problems or result in action steps. Instead of worrying about personality conflicts and assuming nothing will change, I recognize that the problem with most groups isn't the PEOPLE; it's the lack of a clear goal."