Documentary Screening: Transforming America's Segregated Hospitals

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Free and open to the public. Refreshments served.
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Join us for a screening of a powerful new documentary based on David Barton Smith's book The Power to Heal: Civil Rights, Medicare and the Struggle to Transform America's Health Care System (2016). 

The Power to Heal, premiering on PBS later this spring, portrays a poignant chapter in the historic struggle to secure equal and adequate access to healthcare for all Americans. Central to the story is a tale of how a new national program, Medicare, was used to mount a dramatic, coordinated effort that desegregated thousands of hospitals across the country in a matter of months.  Using Medicare dollars, civil rights activists pressed and worked with the federal government to achieve health care justice for African Americans. For more information about the documentary:

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring David Barton Smith, PhD, C. Eileen Watts Welch and Brenda Armstrong, MD. The fathers of both Welch and Armstrong, Dr. Charles D. Watts, Sr. (1917-2004) and Dr. Wiley "Army" Armstrong (1931-1981), played a central role in the movement to desegregate hospitals first in North Carolina and then nationally.

  • David Barton Smith is Research Professor at the Dornsife School of Public Health School at Drexel University and Professor Emeritus in Health Administration at Temple. He assisted in the production of the film and will be available following the panel discussion to sign copies of his book.
  • C. Eileen Watts Welch is Executive Director of Durham Colored Library, Inc., founded by Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore in 1918.
  • Brenda Armstrong is Senior Associate Dean for Student Diversity, Recruitment & Retention, Duke School of Medicine and appears in the film.