Culture

A Story to Tell: My Journey to Unite Us

By Keith Nicholson on January, 3 2019
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2018 was a very important year.  For me, as well as for the development of Unite Us' views of public health and how social determinants may be of influence.  For myself, it was a year of self-reflection, self-realization, and most notably, a start to a new chapter in the story of my life – a story that has taken many twists and turns since my graduation from Boston College in 2015.  Regarding the social determinants of health, it was a year that saw a transformation from education and information to action and outcomes.  The question was no longer "if," but "how?"  Fortunately, for me, the two stories hit a crossroad when I landed at Unite Us in November of 2018, and it became my mission to use the pages already written in my story to help write the ones to come in the story of Unite Us and the world of public health in the United States.

 

The last three years of my professional life have seen my career as a creative storyteller grow into something more than just a hobby.  I have had the distinct honor of working with amazing brands, organizations, schools and artists to tell their stories through the lens of a camera.  The theme of storytelling has become something that means more than just words on a page to me, but now I understand the power and privilege that comes along with the camera; a privilege that we aren’t all so lucky to have.

 

Arriving at Unite Us in November of 2018 was somewhat of a dream scenario for me.  Building upon the career path I had started at Shoots Media, I was given the opportunity to move into a space that had a very unique story to be told.  Before I could really put my foot to the pedal at Unite Us, it would be imperative to familiarize myself with the narrative surrounding the social determinants of health and all of the major players looking to influence the space.  What was immediately astonishing to me was the lack of easily consumable content (or maybe just the overwhelming amount of dense scholarly pieces from big name research organizations).  One month later, and hundreds of articles read, I understood two very crucial realities: there wasn’t enough educational content for the masses and there was a massive void with regards to visual data representation.  In my eyes, my viewpoint changed from, “we must tell the story” to “we must tell the story in a way in which we can all enjoy and understand.” 

 

With this revelation fresh in my mind, the gears have started to set into motion.  There is a blank canvas in front of me, and with a camera and lens I believe that a beautiful image can be created – one that can begin to shift the tides for health and human services, one that can be consumed by clinicians, community health workers and patients alike.  By pairing video with the rest of our team’s existing content stream, I hope to achieve this goal by adhering to the following three rules:

  1. Consistent Scheduling – While there is no argument over the power of video content, the strongest pieces build off of consistent scheduling. Whether it is daily, weekly or monthly segments, creating a continuous dialogue with your audience begins to build an interactive relationship where both parties can expect loyalty in exchange for content.
  2. Consistent Message - Along with a constant stream of high-quality content comes with a consistency of tone, theme and subject. Unite Us continues to push itself as an industry thought leader on all fronts, and maintaining this stance using our provocative yet informative tone in video will only help to spread our message. 
  3. Striking Visuals - It goes without saying that a powerful image can have an almost magical ability to invoke certain emotions. Paired with the stories of hardship, perseverance and positive outcomes from our clients, visuals of human touch will work wonders to instill a feeling of obligation to move the needle.

My viewpoint changed from, “we must tell the story” to “we must tell the story in a way in which we can all enjoy and understand.”

To be given the opportunity to work for a company like Unite Us while building upon a passion of mine is something that I am extremely proud of.  Not only do I get to continue to develop my craft, but I am doing so in a manner that will directly combat some of our nation’s most significant shortcomings.  By giving a voice to those who need it most in the communities that Unite Us works to empower, I plan to work together with my team to effectively address the social determinants of health into 2019 and beyond.

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