Jonathan Smith filmed, edited, and directed the film They Go to Die. He is a lecturer in Global Health and Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale University and an affiliate of the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute, where he researches epidemiology of TB and HIV in the context of migrant populations. For his extensive work at as an ethnographic researcher and for creativity in the field of global health, he was awarded the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute Field Experience Award (2010), the distinguished Lowell S. Levin Award for Excellence in Global Health from Yale University (2011), and the International Tuberculosis Survival Prize from the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership (2011). Since he began researching the issue, he has been invited to speak on the intersection of TB, HIV, and human rights at universities both domestically and internationally.
He received his Masters of Public Health degree from Yale University. Before his research on this topic, he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Georgia where he researched cell signaling pathways in ovarian cancer and later Human Mucolipidosis II. Soon after graduation, he began his global health work in South America, where he developed hepatitis B vaccination strategies for rural communities. It was this experience that brought him to the realization that many public health matters cannot simply be captured by traditional methods such as surveys and interviews, and created in him an appreciation for the concept of immersion into the very community at risk for disease. He is currently spearheading the Visual Epidemiology Project at Yale, an effort to combine data-driven academic dialogue with an individual, story-driven component.
In regards to his ethnographic research, Smith writes, “A narrow focus on a typically broad public health matter affords us the extremely important opportunity to add nuance as well as levels of depth and complexity to our understanding of broader health patterns and vulnerabilities. You must not undermine the richness of depth and explanatory detail that such microanalysis can afford to an understanding of the contextual dynamics and contradictions that influence health behavior.”
You can contact Jonathan about They Go to Die or any of his other projects at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org