Medicine Man follows the incredible journey of British-born Amazonian cowboy turned American TV star, Stan Brock, as he sacrifices everything for his life-changing mission to bring free healthcare to people in need. The film, director Paul Angell, also explores the vital work of Remote Area Medical (RAM), a volunteer-led organization founded by Brock, that provides free vision, dental and medical care to underserved communities across America —supported by more than 196,000 volunteers.
Medicine Man will screen in movie theaters across the US on November 14, 2023, as part of a one-night-only nationwide special screening in celebration of it’s founder. Premiering at over 700 locations, all profits are donated to RAM.
The Making of the Movie
ABILITY Magazine‘s Isabella Wisinger spoke to RAM’s CEO, Jeff Eastman, and the director of “Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story”, Paul Michael Angell on making the movie and getting to know Stan Brock.
Angell has earned multiple accolades in film, and his work ranges from the commercial to documentary features. One of Angell’s productions, “A Beautiful Game”, is on Netflix. He also directed TV for British Eurosport and has shot footage for BBC. Angell has a particular passion for nonfiction film, which is what led him to produce and direct “Medicine Man” over the course of 10 years.
The Origins of the Story
Angell slowly got to know Brock during the process of filming. He said that “Stan was a real polymath. He was a fusion of different influences… a kind of Renaissance man, very broad in his knowledge.”
Brock was born in England and moved to British Guinea as an adult to manage a large cattle ranch, before becoming a bush pilot, and then roaming the savannahs of Guyana as a cowboy. Over the course of his life, he accumulated many miscellaneous honors and accomplishments. Brock co-hosted NBC’s Emmy winning series, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. He helped pass the Tennessee Volunteer Health Care Services Act of 1995, which allows health professionals with out-of-state licenses to cross state lines and provide free care. Brock was recognized as a CNN Hero in 2012 and received the Lions International Humanitarian Award in 2017. While he had many well-known projects, the most impactful of all may have been his nonprofit venture, Remote Area Medical.
Brock was inspired to found RAM after being seriously injured in a remote part of Guyana, without access to necessary healthcare. Before his passing in 2018, Stan said, “When I left Guyana, I vowed to find a way to deliver basic medical aid to people in the world’s inaccessible regions… RAM is the way I have kept that promise, not only to the Wapishana Indians, but to thousands around the world in similar conditions. In other words, there are Wapishanas everywhere.”
RAM has provided healthcare to almost one million Americans since it was founded in 1985. The organization visits regions that have created their own Community Host Groups, which provide the volunteer assistance necessary for a successful pop-up clinic. Community Host Groups are usually comprised of other nonprofits local to the area, community leaders and individuals with the drive to bring care to their community.
RAM regularly partners with local dental, optometry, and medical schools to recruit student volunteers. Community Host Groups also bring in local specialists across a wide range of disciplines. There could be anyone from podiatrists and general practitioners to acupuncturists present to donate their services.
The Call to Serve
No insurance or identification is required to access RAM clinics. Angell said this is because Brock believed in egalitarianism: “Everybody was equal in Stan’s eyes. No questions asked, no judgment. If you’ve turned up at a clinic because you need help, well, that’s self evident. That’s good enough for Stan.”
Angell also said that Brock was deeply involved with RAM operations while serving as its President: “The personal touch was always a really important thing for Stan and that continues to this day… he would go down in the queue and talk to [people] personally… and check in on their welfare… He was so incredibly personable and humble. And that kind of willingness to look people in the eye and treat them as human beings, and not be judgmental, that ethos is still core to everything that Remote Area Medical does.”
Jeff Eastman, current CEO of RAM, states “Until we have a solution to the health care issue in the America, RAM will be there as the band aid to fill in the gap.”
“Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story” is screening in select theaters only. Those who want to learn more about Brock and support RAM’s mission can locate a theater and purchase tickets by following events links on RAM’s website.