Dr. Karen Tran-Harding’s new web series Medical Heroes is striking less for the specifics of its topical material, and more for how it frames its presentation of said specifics. Tran-Harding’s exclusive interviews with professionals on the public health front lines is striking because of the willingness to linger on the details that differentiate each profile, in effect putting a human face on people, places, methodologies, and scenarios often lumped into statistical, collectivized categories and sub-genres on standard and typical newsreels.

It’s the kind of approach that can win over hearts and minds, that is decidedly un-partisan on its face while said qualities make an appropriately partisan point, and that does away for any sane being the more superficial negative qualities and vexations having come from Covid-19 restrictions. “This global pandemic has affected all of us in so many ways,” states ARNP Lydia Phan in one of the show’s standout episodic interviews. “There is no discrimination – it doesn’t matter your race, your age, if you’re rich or poor – it’s affected all of us in so many ways. The mask thing is like a part of me now. That’s just become another feature of our lives.” The unusual part starts when she delves into specific examples of how it’s affected her own life, and the transactions she shares and partakes in with her husband.

ABOUT DR. KAREN TRAN HARDING: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-tran-harding-b6780214a

Tran-Harding makes each profile she highlights personable, and as a result the focal point of each episodic interview feels like it dwells less on the astronomical facets of what these men and women face day-in and day-out. Rather, the focus is on the affect it has on their own character, their own life, and their own sets of unique priorities as individuals. With subjects ranging from everything concerning standard procedure to navigating mental health effects to pet therapies, Tran-Harding and her interviewees remind us – time and again – that everyone serving in the medical community is a human being first. In an era where the sociopolitical climates have never been in more disarray, and more divided, it’s a fresh approach to legitimizing these men and women to the hypothetical ‘other’. Because of the way each episode is framed, what one cannot do is deny any of these people’s humanity. And that may be the first step in truly bringing us back together – being there as individuals first, and being able to hear each other’s stories through each person’s eyes.

A personal and hearty mazel tov is in order for Dr. Karen Tran-Harding, not only because of the character of whom her show focuses on, but because once again courtesy of the aforementioned qualities she really manages to put a human face on an otherwise inscrutable topic…

Garth Thomas