Let me start by saying, I don’t typically go crazy fan-girl over anyone. We, meaning Lisa of Lisa Staff Photography and Deevo of Fusion Photography, have photographed a few celebrities in our time and typically are able to stay mostly focused and on task. Dr. Sanjay Gupta however to us is a pretty big deal. We grew up with Sanjay in our living rooms, if you remember. Having been witness to several major catastrophes in our lifetimes, multiple wars and ongoing political strife, we have been privy to all of the fantastic on the scene reporting that Dr. Gupta has brought to us over the years.

So when James Lamar, from the Lowcountry Speaker Series invited Deevo and I to create content around Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s lecture, we jumped at the opportunity and personally speaking, were rather giddy at the chance.

About Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the multiple Emmy award winning Chief Medical Correspondent for CNNGupta is also a practicing neurosurgeon at the Emory Clinic and the Associate Chief of Neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital. Since 2001, Gupta has reported health and medical news for all of CNN’s shows domestically, internationally and digitally. His medical training, public policy experience and literary style have informed his reporting and made his dispatches some of the most distinctive on television.

Gupta has reported from nearly every war zone and natural disaster in the world. From the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and the middle east to the earthquake in Haiti, Tsunami in Japan and Hurricane in Puerto Rico, to name just a few. As one of the first doctors to arrive in these disaster areas, Gupta is often asked to provide medical assistance, as he is done all over the world – including five battlefield brain operations in Iraq.

Dr. Gupta was also the first western reporter to cover the Ebola outbreak in the west African country of Guinea in the throes of the outbreak.

Gupta has hosted dozens of documentary films, often presenting issues to the global public about topics such as concussions, opioids, climate change — and medical marijuana, through his multiple part, DuPont Award winning series, Weed.

Sanjay Gupta was born and raised in Michigan and completed his Medical School and seven-year Neurosurgical training program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He worked in the Clinton White House as a White House Fellow, and served as a White House speech writer for the Clintons. Gupta also contributes to 60 Minutes on CBS, and serves as an executive producer for HBO. The list continues because he’s just that awesome…

About the Lowcountry Speaker Series

In 2017, James Lamar, had an idea to bring the world’s finest thought leaders and storytellers to the low country community to explore new insights and perspectives through open conversation and dialogue to provide a forum to exchange unfiltered ideas.

The Lowcountry Speaker Series brings global experts to the local stage to present a wide variety of subjects, from world affairs and politics, to business and economics, education, and the arts and entertainment. Lisa and I were invited to create photo and video content to use on social media and web for not only the speaker series, but other local media and news outlets on site at the event, including the Hilton Head Chamber of Commerce.

Working with Dr. Sanjay Gupta

For most of the evening we were invited backstage as VIP’s to document Dr. Gupta and he interacted with lowcountry native sons and daughters as well as having the opportunity to photograph the actual lecture in the massive auditorium at the Marriott Resort on Hilton Head Island.

For the duration of an hour, Sanjay Gupta spoke frankly and candidly on a variety of global and domestic hot topics. He kept it light, frank and continuously infused with his personal brand of charisma and humor. 

Off-camera, he was a delight to interact with. Never once did the one-on-one conversations with us, or anyone else that had the privilege to interact with Dr. Gupta backstage feel forced, coerced or contrived. He was engaged, made eye contact, and genuinely made you feel like you mattered – all hallmarks of his genuflect and empathy for what he does and undoubtedly one of the reasons he is the most sought after media journalist in the world.

Never was this kindness and compassion more evident than the two hours Dr. Gupta spent with Volunteers in Medicine on the island. Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island opened in 1993 and was founded by retired physician Dr. Jack McConnell.

The VIM Clinic building was constructed in 1993 on a 1.1 acre lot of land that the town of Hilton Head agreed to lease to VIM for $1.00 per year. On the day construction began, Dr. Jack paid off the entire cost of the lease – all $30.50 of it! When VIM first opened its doors, Dr. McConnell began with a group of 5 paid staff members, 48 retired physicians, 74 retired nurses, and 3 dentists as primarily a walk-in 7,000 square foot clinic. By the end of that first year, the part-time clinic had seen over 3,000 patients. Over the past 25 years, the Clinic has seen significant growth. Today, there are 22 full-time equivalent employees who operate the clinic with the help of over 650 retired and professional volunteers. As a team, the Clinic staff and volunteers see 10,000+ patients annually over 30,000 patient visits. The Clinic’s facilities now span over 16,000 square feet.

Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island keep children in school, people at work and ease the burden on local emergency rooms. Their primary mission is to serve the health and wellness needs of the medically under-served population who live or work on Hilton Head and Daufuskie Islands. Our clinic is the only free and charitable medical clinic offering dental and mental healthcare south of the Broad River. They provide 30,000 medical visits and 6,000 dental visits annually that are equivalent to $13 million in healthcare. VIM conservatively saves the local hospital more than $2.5 million in uncompensated Emergency Department visits.

Lowcountry Speaker Series founder and host James Lamar stated:

“Our vision of creating a forum for community conversation, to discuss today’s most important topics, is coming into focus. I am most proud of the fact that the Lowcountry Speaker Series program is supporting broader community participation through the Our Doors Are Always Open foundation. The success of the Lowcountry Speaker Series is dependent on the community’s support, so I encourage residents and businesses to invest alongside me to make it part of our community’s fabric.” 

Truthfully speaking, having the opportunity to create content for such amazing events and to be around so many educated and open-minded people is an opportunity of a life-time and we are excited to be part of the ongoing series.