For the time being the news cycle won’t let go of Ebola in the US. I’m not interested in that, but thanks to Ebola you no doubt have heard of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease) at NIH. Dr. Fauci took that post in 1984 and the man has a special place in my heart because of the progress the institute made on his watch thanks to the venerable AIDS activist group, ACT UP.
Really this is just a plug for the best documentary in years and best health-related documentary probably ever, How to Survive a Plague. Watch it and weep. These activists are responsible for the restructuring of the FDA drug approval process to allow fast tracking for AIDS and cancer drugs. They forced their way onto previously closed committees at NIH, creating transparency in the clinical trial process and giving a voice to patients affected by whatever the disease in question. I get teary at the protest scenes outside of the NIH and the FDA and the march at the first AIDS quilt (which I will be forever thankful to my mother for dragging me to though I had no idea what it meant at the time). This documentary stokes the dying embers of my heart. Truth to power. Policies can be changed. Advocacy makes a difference.
Sorry for the preaching but you have to love 80s Dr. Fauci.