Pre-Release Screening of “Escape Fire” and Panel Discussion


Media Contact:
Leah Ramsay

As the presidential election season heats up and full implementation of health care reform hangs in the balance, a documentary that takes a searing but hopeful look at the American healthcare system will have a pre-release screening and panel discussion at The Johns Hopkins Hospital on September 19, 2012. The film’s co-director and a central character will join Johns Hopkins medical and bioethics experts to discuss healthcare’s problems and a path forward.

Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare was listed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the ‘Ten Hot Sundance Documentaries to Watch.’  The film examines what one of its subjects calls “a disease-care system,” and includes a close look at healthcare in the military as a microcosm of problems in the nationwide system. Going beyond the political and legal issues raised by health care reform,  Escape Fire delves into the ethical, social and public health foundations of the nation’s quest for access to care and appropriate use of resources.

“It is our goal to transcend the misinformation, the angry partisan debates and create a clear and comprehensive look at healthcare in America,” say filmmakers Susan Froemke and Matthew Heineman.

Joining Heineman on the discussion panel following the film are journalist and author Shannon Brownlee, a key figure in the film; David Hellman, MD, Chairman, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center; and Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, Director, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. The panel will be moderated by Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH, professor of bioethics and public policy and Deputy Director, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

The event is one of several pre-release screenings taking place around the country on the same day. Roadside Attractions will release the film theatrically on October 5, one month before the presidential election. Students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine organized the screening, with support from the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, the American Medical Student Association and Doctors for America.

The film’s title comes from a speech given by Donald M. Berwick, MD, President Obama’s former director of Medicare and Medicaid Services, later published and titled “Escape Fire: Lessons for the Future of Healthcare.”  An escape fire is defined as either a blaze lighted intentionally to head off a wildfire or, more figuratively, an effective improvised solution to a crisis that cannot be solved using traditional approaches.

Wednesday, September 19
6:00 – 8:30 PM
Refreshments Served at 5:15pm

Chevy Chase Auditorium, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Zayed Tower 2119A
Screening, 99 minutes, followed by panel discussion

Attendance is free and open on a first come, first served basis.


Escape Fire press kit (PDF)
Escape Fire website
Ruth Faden
David Hellmann
Berwick essay Escape Fire: Lessons for the Future of Healthcare (PDF)