Inspirational. That is one way to describe social worker Sherry Saturno’s new documentary Human Investment. Educational is another.
The 20-minute film consists of individual interviews with a group of social workers in the healthcare field that were all participants and speakers at the Care Management Summit at Binghamton University last year. They each use his or her creativity and uniqueness to help others in need and invest in humanity, hence the title.
When Saturno, LCSW, DCSW, who now works as the Executive Director of the Hudson Valley Care Coalition in Tarrytown, was a fellow at New York University, she had to do a capstone project to complete her Post-Graduate Fellowship Program, an 18-month long program that NYU offers for those with master’s degrees who wish to pursue social work and learn more about the industry.
Wanting to take a different approach in telling the story about healthcare professionals and human investment, she decided to make a film in order to reach a larger audience than writing an article would. She was invited to the Care Management Summit at Binghamton University, and Saturno’s colleague, fellow social worker and organizer of the Care Management Summit, suggested the documentary be filmed there. They eventually got permission from the school and the participants of the conference to conduct and record interviews.
Originally Saturno was unsure about any further specific intentions for the film, but opportunity arose when the American Society on Aging sent out a call for proposals. After the submission and acceptance process, the film was featured at the American Society on Aging Conference in Chicago last March.
Although she finds all of her interviewees inspiring, Saturno recalled her discussion with practicing physician Dr. David Hornick as a standout.
“He is just filled with so much compassion, wisdom, humor. Hornick is such a warm person that he’s unforgettable,” she said. “He asked me what is the value of a life at age 20 as opposed to at age 80, and how do we as a society make that determination? He just had so many fascinating questions and so many interesting things to say.”
Unfortunately, apart from a few photos, there is no footage of the professionals, who range from deans, professors, and other educators, to nurses and doctors, in action, which brings up an interesting behind the scenes explanation about the making of Human Investment.
“I actually filmed everyone in one day in about 11 hours,” Saturno explained. “They agreed to be interviewed for the film because I was only in Binghamton for that amount of time, and I had to film everyone back to back. There wasn’t an opportunity to actually catch them in action. It was really just one day filming 11 hours straight.”
Saturno herself is no stranger to social work; she has a strong resume demonstrating her “desire to make a difference in someone else’s life.” Her focus is geared towards advocating for the elderly and chronically ill. She served as a Director of Social Services in nursing homes and as a therapist for seniors in long-term care. Her volunteer experiences include the Volunteer Center of the United Way Leadership Westchester Class, which is a 10-month program partnered with the United Way that promotes social responsibility and volunteerism. She is also a member of the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way in Westchester and Putnam (an organization that works to help local women), and was a volunteer on the Board of Directors at Columbia University School of Social Work Alumni Association. She has also worked one on one with seniors doing psychotherapy on weekends.
Saturno has earned many degrees and certificates. She has a master’s degree from Columbia University School of Social Work (M.S.W.) and Long Island University School of Management and Public Service (M.S.). “I’m always looking to learn something new. I always like to have a lot of projects going on at one time, so I always like to keep myself very busy,” Saturno said. “I’m interested in a lot of different things – from film to writing to documentaries to healthcare to business. My different interests keep me busy and very motivated.”
In the fall, Saturno will be working on a new documentary about grief and how to overcome it in a positive, uplifting way, then how to turn that grief into a motivation to help others.