Where the Plains Meet the Rockies documents rural nurses as they care for the people of small farming and mining communities in Wyoming’s rugged landscape, far removed from our nation's healthcare debate.
America’s healthcare is dominated by big business and technology, and its problems are complex. There is a tenuous relationship between the industry, the professionals that deliver it, and the communities and individuals that are affected. In Wyoming, many areas face difficulties in access to services and shortages of primary care physicians. Unhealthy lifestyles are deeply ingrained and new technologies and medications enable us to live longer.
Where the Plains Meet the Rockies is a photo story guided by the daily lives of rural nurses as they encounter the beauty and tension that is caregiving.
*completed with a grant/fellowship from The Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation
This body of work explores the relationship between healing traditions and collective identity.
I created the series The Afghan Syndrome to reflect on the legacy of war and call into question the concept of healing. In May of 2011, almost one decade into the United States' war in Afghanistan, I visited one of Russia's veteran treatment facilities, otherwise known as sanatoriums. Between 1979 and 1989, the former Soviet Union fought a war in Afghanistan, leaving tens of thousands of troops wounded, similar to the United States today. Drawn by this parallel, I was curious as to what veteran treatment looks like 20 years after a conflict has ended. Originally opened as a VIP resort for top Communist Party functionaries, the sanatorium, called "Rus" near Moscow, now serves as a treatment facility for Russian veterans of the Afghanistan and Chechnya wars. The transformation began in 1989, the same year the Soviet Union withdrew its troops from Afghanistan. Ownership was completed in 1991 by the Russian Association of Veterans Disabled During the War in Afghanistan. Sanatoriums were established as medical facilities for long-term illness, most typically associated with treatment of tuberculosis. Today, this facility provides physical, psychological and social services to both veterans and their families. In addition, the sanatorium provides alternative treatments for those who cannot use certain medications because of their illness, for example, hirudotherapy or leech therapy, acupuncture, dry carbonic acid gas bath, electropuncture diagnostics and bioresonance therapy. At the time of my visit, the facility hosted 250 patients, most of whom suffered their injuries more than 20 years ago.