Maren Grainger Monsen is filmmaker-in-residence and director of the Program in Bioethics and Film at the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics. Her medical work includes Clinical Ethics Consults at Stanford University Hospital and work as Associate Director of the Bioethics and Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration Program.
Her most recent film is the National Emmy Award nominated The Revolutionary Optimists, aninspirational documentary about kids in Kolkata India making grassroots change and improving global health in the slums and brickfields where they live, which she co-directed with Nicole Newnham. The film won the Hilton Sustainability award at the Sundance Film festival in 2013 went on to a theatrical release with policy screenings at UNICEF and USAID. It broadcast nationally on public television as part of the Independent Lens series and was translated into 5 languages for international broadcast. Shorts from the film screened at the Skoll World Forum at Oxford as well as three TEDx events run by Melinda Gates. The Revolutionary Optimists went on to inspire Maren and Nicole to start Map Your World, a mobile-to-online data and storytelling platform to make change in the public health of their communities.
Maren’s past directing work includes Rare, also co-directed with Nicole, which follows the story of one extraordinary mother’s race against time to find a cure for her daughter’s rare genetic disease. Rare won best feature documentary at the Brooklyn Girls Film festival, screened at the Cannes Film Festival Market andScience Festivals around the US before its national public television broadcast. Maren also directed Worlds Apart and Hold Your Breath, two large-scale projects on cross-cultural conflicts in medicine, which was broadcast on national public television and is currently being used in 63% of US medical schools. Maren produced The Vanishing Line, a chronicle of her journey toward understanding the art and issues of dying, which was broadcast on the national PBS “Point of View” and was awarded Program of the Year from the National Hospice Organization. She directed Where the Highway Ends: Rural Healthcare in Crisis, which won a regional Emmy Award, and Grave Words, which was awarded first place in the American Medical Association Film Festival.
She studied film at the London International Film School, received her medical doctorate from the University of Washington and residency and fellowship training at Stanford University.