There is a long history of the retrospective medical uses of home movies in studying diseases of childhood, but since 1994 the Children’s Hospital Boston has been giving their patients video cameras in order to document their own lives.

The Video Intervention/Prevention Assessment (VIA) is a project of the Center on Media and Child Health. VIA gives video cameras to young people, asking them to teach clinicians about the realities of their illness experiences through the creation of audiovisual illness narratives. The VIA method has been applied to medical conditions such as asthma, overweight, spina bifida, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, and HIV.

Senior Scientist on the project is visual anthropologist Richard Chalfen, author of Snapshots Version of Life, one of the landmark books on vernacular media.

This 2005 article in the Children’s Hospital Boston’s magazine describes the project further.