Lisa A. McElaney '77


Citation for Lisa A. McElaney, 1996 Common Good Award recipient.

"Lisa A. McElaney, your important work as an award-winning filmmaker has brought to the screen vital issues dealing with the health of women, children, and the family.  A member of the Bowdoin Class of 1977, you earned a master of fine arts degree at Columbia University's School of Arts and have served on the faculties of Bowdoin and Tufts University. As founder and president of Vida Health Communications, Inc., in Cambridge, Mass., you have enlightened your varied audiences on such important topics as maternal and infant care, child development, women and addiction, teen pregnancy, and parenthood, and your work has been built into the curricula of most public health and parent education programs in the United States.

While film is your preferred medium, you have never hesitated to use other means to communicate your message. You have written for health care providers, designed training programs for nurses and midwives, conducted luncheon workshops for working parents at corporations in and around Boston, and have taught parents and childcare professionals as a member of the faculty of the T. Berry Brazelton National Seminar Series.

As a senior at Bowdoin, you took your first steps toward a career in filmmaking by producing the award-winning film Pattern Grace about an elderly man's life on the coast of Maine.  It was the first of many awards to come. To date, your work has been honored by the American Film and Video Festival, the National Educational Film and Video Festival, and the American Medical Film Festival. You have received three CINE Golden Eagle awards and two Parents' Choice awards for programs you have written, produced and / or directed.  In 1990, you received a Rotary International Fellowship to study the status of maternal and child health in South India, where you shot over 22 hours of videotape documenting successful grassroots polio immunization campaigns spearheaded by volunteer business people.

Despite a prodigious schedule as filmmaker and teacher &mbdash; not to mention wife and mother of two -- you have been able to "indulge a love of teaching each summer by working with young film students at Bowdoin's Upward Bound Program." What you call an indulgence is undoubtedly an educational high point for these students as they aspire to continued learning and personal growth.

Your selfless work on behalf of women, children, and families, coupled with your devotion to those who would gain much from learning your craft, puts you among an important list of Bowdoin graduates who have realized the ideals set forth by President Joseph McKeen. Your college is proud to honor your exceptional accomplishments and your continued dedication to others with the Common Good Award for 1996."

June 1, 1996