The Color of Care: Panel & Film

Disrupting Racial Health Disparities through Medicine and the Arts

This event was held on Friday, October 21st, 2022, during the NYU Tisch Week of Community.

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The Reception
The Panel
The panel discussion was videotaped. Sign up here to be notified when the edited version of this recording is available.

About the Program

Panel Discussion

Our panel will bring themes that arise in the Color of Care documentary home to our New York City audience.  Dr. Cunningham and Dr. Carrillo, will address changes that can be made NOW to close the racial equity gap in healthcare. Fazil Khan is steeped in NYC COVID Data and stories. Fazil and Lorie Novak will amplify their research into the geographical impact of COVID-19 in NYC.  Fazil will speak on the importance of data storytelling, as well as share his research on the hidden travesty of COVID OrphanhoodCusi and Lorie will discuss how art and artists can elevate social justice issues and activate the public.

The Film: The Color of Care

The Color of Care chronicles how people of color suffer from systemically substandard healthcare. COVID-19 exposed what they have long understood and lived: they do not receive the same level of care.

Produced by Ms. Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and directed by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning director Yance Ford, the film traces the origins of racial health disparities to practices that began during slavery and continue today. Using moving personal testimony, expert interviews, and disturbing data the film reveals the impact of racism on health, serving as an urgent warning of what must be done to save lives.



Deborah Willis (Ph.D)
University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Dr. Willis is also the director of NYU’s Center for Black Visual Culture. Dr. Willis’ research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, contemporary women photographers and beauty.  She is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.


Hetty Cunningham (MD) SME Color of Care Documentary
Director of Equity and Justice in Curricular Affairs, Co-Director of the Anti-Racism Coalition, Director of the Narrative Medicine Portfolio curriculum at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Cunningham is Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Education and the Learning Environment in Pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Cunningham partners with faculty, staff, and students across the learning spectrum to promote equity, justice, and anti-racism.

Since joining the Department of Pediatrics faculty in 1998, Cunningham has worked to improve health equity at all levels, with a particular focus on curriculum and faculty development in health disparities, implicit bias, social determinants of health, race in medicine, cultural competency, communication skills, and narrative medicine for medical students, residents, and faculty. Dr. Cunningham is a second-generation Harlem resident, where she lives, sees patients, and teaches pediatric residents at a New York Presbyterian Hospital-affiliated community-based practice. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 1996.

Juan. Emilio Carrillo (MD, MPH)
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Cornell University. He graduated from Columbia College, received his M.D. and M.P.H. from Harvard, and served for ten years in the faculties of Harvard Medical and Public Health schools. Dr Carrillo trained in Internal Medicine at the Cambridge and Massachusetts General Hospitals and continues to practice and teach Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

As an Epidemiologist he provides televised Spanish language commentary on the Covid pandemic for Univision and Telemundo. He has published widely, served in many State and Federal advisory councils, received numerous awards, including the  A.M.A.’s Excellence in Medicine Award, and is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Carrillo has innovated population health programs while at Harvard, and as President of  the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, and as Vice President of New York Presbyterian Hospital. His research and collaborations at Harvard laid the foundation for Patient Centered Cross-Cultural Healthcare. His work has pioneered and helped to define the fields of Cultural Competence and Patient Centered Cross-Cultural Communication.

Cusi Cram
Playwright, screenwriter, director, and performer. Cusi Cram’s plays have been produced by LAByrinth Theater Company, Primary Stages, The Denver Center, Williamstown, The Atlantic Theater Company, Cornerstone, New Georges, and on stages all over the country. She’s written on numerous television programs for both kids and adults and has been nominated for three Emmy Awards for her work on the animated program, Arthur. Her work has been supported with residencies, grants, and fellowships from The O’Neill Theater Center, The Bogliasco Foundation, the Camargo Foundation, Space on Ryder Farm, The Herrick Foundation, The Fornes Institute, The Ford Foundation, NYU’s Global Research Institute in Madrid, and the Venturous and the Stillpoint Funds. She is also a 2019 E.S.T /Sloan Grant recipient and 2022 Macdowell fellow. Recently her play, Novenas for A Lost Hospital, about St. Vincent’s Hospital, premiered at Rattlestick Theater and starred Kathleen Chalfant. Cusi has an ongoing practice of writing for/about/ and with community and is committed to merging local issues into innovative theatrical forms. Cusi is the Associate Chair of the Dramatic Writing program at Tisch.

Lorie Novak
Artist and Professor of Photography and Imaging at NYU Tisch. Her photo-based works, installations, and web projects use various technologies of representation to explore issues of memory and transmission, identity and loss, presence and absence, shifting cultural meanings of photographs, and the relationship between the intimate and the public.

Novak has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, and New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, her art works has been shown in numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally, and her photographs are in many museum permanent collections. Her collaborative, 1996-present, exploring how family photographs shape our memory, was one of the earliest interactive storytelling sites. She is the founding director of Tisch Future Imagemakers, a free digital photography workshop for NYC area high school students, and a co-organizer of The Zip Code Memory Project, an arts-based project seeking to find reparative ways to memorialize the devastating losses resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic while also acknowledging its radically differential effects on Upper New York City neighborhoods.

Fazil Khan
A New York-based data journalist, Fazil was a 2021 reporting fellow at the Columbia Journalism Investigations’ Global Migration Project where he collaborated with THE CITY’s Missing Them initiative to report on communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a 2021 graduate of the M.S. Data Journalism program at Columbia Journalism School and currently covers education for The Hechinger Report.

The Covid-19 Impact Project

The COVID-19 Impact Project is a social resilience project that examines the effects of the pandemic on black and brown communities through the lens of grief, mourning and memorialization coupled with data storytelling.  The Project was created by Interactive Communications Program (ITP)  faculty John Henry Thompson and Shindy Johnson to pair technology and the arts in creative ways to attend to the unresolved and unmitigated traumas of the pandemic in communities of color. Starting at the local level, the Project will advocate for effective, enduring institutions to repair the breach exposed by COVID-19.


John Henry Thompson
John Henry Thompson studied art at the New York Student Art League and the Boston Museum School and earned a degree in Computer Science and Visual Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. John Henry was the principal engineer for Adobe/Macromedia Director software, the inventor and developer of Lingo and XObjects.

John Henry Thompson is a full time faculty in New York University’s -Tisch-ITP program and co-creator of the COVID-19 Impact Project.

Shindy Johnson
Shindy Johnson is an educator and new media technology enthusiast who earned a degree in Chemistry and Physics at the University of Guyana, South America. Shindy earned a masters degree in Science Education at New York University Steinhardt School of Education. Her interest in emerging digital technologies led to her completing another masters degree in professional studies at New York University -Tisch-ITP program.

Shindy is currently an Adjunct Professor and Postdoctoral Fellow at ITP, and co-creator of the COVID-19 Impact Project.

Senior Advisor

Tyler Peppel
Tyler Peppel is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and start-up advisor. He is currently the CEO and founder of Tickr, Inc. Before that, he worked as a consultant developing digital data strategies for Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, Cisco, and others. Before that he was founder and CEO of MightyMail, a rich email services platform that was acquired by NBC. He worked at Apple for 5 years in new product development and has authored multiple software patents on topics like collectible software and the use of natural language processing to enhance written communication. He has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a Masters of Science in Visual Studies from the Media Lab at MIT.


Dana Whitco – Tisch Initiative for Creative Research
Hetty Cunningham, MD – New York Presbyterian
Shawn Van Every – ITP/IMA
Juan Emilio Carrillo, MD, MPH – Weill Cornell Medical College


Yu-Ying Lee (ITP) – Data Artist
Marjorie Yang (IMA) – Web Designer/Web Developer
Alfonsette Medina (ITP) – User Experience Design & Documentation Assistant
Elyana Javaheri (ITP) – Event Production and Content Development Assistant
Lisha Nie (ITP) – Project Curation and Documentation
Kaitlyn Zou (IMA) – Web Designer/Web Developer
Sackona Fitts (ITP) – Photography
Sharan Mohanadoss Balaguru (ITP) – Videography
Christina Cappelli (ITP) – Photography