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"If I Could" Makes Capital Impression in Washington, D.C.

On May 9, 2002, a special screening of "If I Could" was held in Washington, D.C. The program was geared toward professionals in the mental health field and sponsored by the Pfizer company.

Over 200 people watched the film and took part in an informative and spirited panel discussion. A prominent psychoanalyst, Dr. Deborah Peel, MD, moderated the program and wrote these comments.

  Video Clips of Program Speakers

Virginia Williams, mother of Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams
Dr. Ivan Walks, M.D

Virginia Williams, mother of Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams

Real Video     Windows Media Player

Dr. Ivan Walks, M.D., neuropsychiatrist, former D.C. Health Commissioner

Part 1: Real Video     Windows Media
Part 2: Real Video     Windows Media

Dr. Harold Eist
Dr. Andrea Karfgin
Dr. Harold Eist, psychiatrist, former pPresident of Washington Psychiatric Association
Real Video     Windows Media Player

Dr. Andrea Karfgin, psychologist and expert in the treatment of trauma

Real Video     Windows Media Player

By Dr. Deborah Peel, MD

The "If I Could" screening turned out really, really well. Frankly, it was one of the most special evenings of my life.

The night started with Baby Jane Dexter, the recording artist/club and cabaret singer, who opened with a powerful song (she is the one who sang at the end of the film).

Dr. Deborah Peel is a longtime mental health advocate, past-President of the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians and president of the Mental HealthCARE Foundation.

Next came Virginia Williams, the mother of the mayor of DC, who spoke about adopting the mayor as a small baby and two other abused kids.

Virginia was great! She spoke about her son's club foot, his cleft palate, his ears. She and her husband were told he was retarded. She obviously cared deeply about the issue of abused children and showed her own great heart by adopting them! Her talk was very moving.

There a fabulous very brief video introduction to the film by Fred Goodwin MD (he does NPR's "Infinite Mind" and is the former head of the National Institutes of Mental Health(NIMH). He taped his introduction from his study a day before the screening, because he thought the film was so important and amazing. His comments were just the best you could imagine.

After that, we all saw the film and heard the panel. The panel after the showing of the film included Tim Roche from Time magazine, Dr. Ivan Walks MD, the former DC Health Commissioner by two days, Dr. Harold Eist was his usual entertaining and rabble-rousing self.

The rest of the panel were also very good; Andi Karfgin PhD who was the mental health advisor to the filmmakers, and Emily Brown, LCSW, of Washington DC spoke about family issues.

Bob Burton of VisionQuest and Tracy Marasco, the main charcater in the film, were the last two to speak. The two of them are very, very special people. It was an honor to get to meet them and have time with them. Tracy has been a very effective advocate for mental health programs in Colorado, has finished college with a degree in political science and is a paralegal, hoping to become an attorney. She's very impressive and well-spoken.

It was truly an amazing and very inspiring evening for all who attended. We had an audience of about 200 in a beautiful setting, at a well-known Washington, D.C. think tank. The program was underwritten by Pfizer.

The audience was really energized, respectful, and stayed very late, some to 11 or 11:30. Many in the audience stayed not to ask questions, but just sat raptly listening to the discussion and simply wanted to be part of the experience. It was a moving experience.

The atmosphere was exciting and the film was profound. It was a really special evening.