Kristen Hwang is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist based in Northern California with a passion for humanizing data-driven stories. Her work seeks to examine stories at the intersection of public health and social justice through compelling and diverse characters. In 2021, she graduated from UC Berkeley with a dual master’s degree in journalism and public health. She works as a health policy reporter at CalMatters. Her current film, WHEN THEY’RE GONE, examines humanity’s fragile dependence on nature, casting a spotlight on industrial agriculture’s reliance on honey bees for hire. It received the Gold Medal in documentary film from the Student Academy Awards.


Thirty years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was ready to declare syphilis a dead disease. The cure was simple: Penicillin. We had defeated smallpox in 1949. The elimination of syphilis felt like an inevitable medical success. But in 2014, Fresno County issued a health alert for