Documentary Filmmaker & Primary Care Physician


Delaney Ruston chose her two career paths of primary care physician and documentary filmmaker for one reason: to help create positive change in people’s lives. Her experiences receiving medical care in free clinics while growing up motivated her to pursue health care. During her medicine residency, she began studying filmmaking for social impact and made her first award-winning film.

For twenty years Delaney has split her time between providing primary care and creating short and feature-length documentaries, such as Screenagers. Examples of her other films include Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia about her father and Hidden Pictures about global mental health. These films have been screened widely, aired on PBS, and were at the forefront of advocacy campaigns, including with the World Health Organization. For her work in using films to building movements, Delaney has won several awards including Harvard’s McLean National Council Recognition Award and New York’s Fountain House Advocacy Award.

Delaney trained at Stanford Medical School, followed by a medicine residency at UC San Francisco. She has practiced and taught medicine in diverse settings including faculty positions at The University of Washington School of Medicine and at The Center for Medical Humanities, Bioethics and Compassionate Care at Stony Brook School of Medicine, NY.

Ruston has conducted investigative research in diverse fields—including biophysics at NIH, bioethics, and communication at UCSF and behavioral health as a Fulbright Scholar. She has spent the past six years intensely researching the impact of screen time on youth and solutions for screen time balance.

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Ruston’s insight during the session was so informative and helpful in explaining this new technology era. We have had such positive feedback from the parents and students as wel!
— Dana Leblein, Counselor, West Essex Middle School


With SCREENAGERS, and with her prior films on mental health topics, Dr. Ruston has been a sought-after speaker. Her talks weave together poignant stories with cutting-edge science that both entertain and provide practical takeaways.



Companies and Organizations

Google | Facebook | The United Nations | The Gates Foundation | Pixar | TEDx Seattle | Grant Halliburton Foundation | Genentech | Beyond School Hours Texas | Educational Records Bureau | Young Entrepreneur's Organization Hong Kong | Sellen Construction | Zulily | Core Club New York | Union for Reform Judaism | St Andrew's Church | Parent Map | Book Industry Environmental Council Annual Conference | Fauntleroy Church | Glencoe Church | Cuyahoga County Public Library | Soho House | Greenwich Library and Schools | The Northwest Film Forum | The Alabama Association of School Resource Officers | Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles | PLUS OTHERS SHOW MORE

Schools and Universities

Sidwell in Washington | DC | Hinsdale School District | NYU Medical School | Royal College of London | Los Angeles Unified School District | Harvard University | Bainbridge High School | Rosarian Academy | Battery Park City School | The Philadelphia School University of Washington | Duke University | University of Kentucky | University School of Milwaukee/REDgen | University of Technology Paris | St. Joseph School | The Bush School | The Philadelphia School | Brearley School | Bronxville School | PS89 in New York | Madison Middle School | Miss Edgar's and Miss Cramp's School | Bay View Academy | Kuper Academy | Rosarian Academy | St. Andrews School | Millbrook School | Oneonta City School District | Belmont Day School | Post Middle School | Bainbridge High School | Hinsdale School District | Glenbard School District | Royal University Hospital | The Harbour School | Newburyport School District | Newmark School | Ventana School | Kromrey Middle School | Coppell ISD| Harbour School Hong Kong | Frisco ISD | West Essex | Newmark School | International School of Amsterdam | Greenwich Library and Schools | PLUS OTHERS SHOW MORE

Health and Mental Health Organizations

The World Health Organization (WHO) | Aspen Institute Children's Forum | The American Psychiatric Association's Annual Conference | American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Conference | Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation | National Alliance on Mental Illness's Convention | Asia-Pacific Conference on Addiction | Harvard's McLean Hospital Annual Event | King County Department of Mental Health | Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration | The National Council on Community Behavioral Health Convention | Travis County Medical Association | Mental Health America's Convention | First Asia Pacific Conference of Addiction Professionals | Aspen Institute Children's Forum | Florida Council for Community Mental Health Conference | Childwise Health Institute | Gateway Community Services | PLUS OTHERS SHOW MORE


At SCREENAGERS events, Delaney shares surprising science and humorous stories, often from her own parenting struggles, that illustrate key solutions for better tech balance. She shares effective tools derived from her 20 years of experience as a physician focused on behavior change.

Topics Include:

  • The Secrets of Parenting Successful Screenagers
  • The Surprising Science of Screen Time and Children’s Development
  • The Impact of Screen Time on Mental Health—Fact vs Fiction
  • How Schools and Businesses can Promote Tech Balance
  • Workshops for Youth and Teens—Harnessing Their Solutions For Finding Balance in Our Tech Revolution


For her films UNLISTED and HIDDEN PICTURES, and the campaigns she created surrounding them, Delaney speaks and advocates internationally about mental health issues.

Mental Health Topics Include:

  • Global Mental Health - Lessons that Cross All Borders
  • Where Mental Health Care Stands Today—insights from a daughter, doctor, and advocate
  • Why Sharing Our Stories Stops Toxic Shame
  • Why Mental Illness Doesn’t Tear Families Apart, Lack of Care Does

Delaney’s talk and Q &A made all the difference for our parent education event. Insightful, entertaining and uncanningly honest, Delaney ranks high on our list of top-notch speakers. She is warm and engaging and creates an environment for honest and open dialogue.
— Stephanie Landau, Parent and Co-Chair, Parent Ed Committee, Dwight-Englewood School
Delaney Ruston’s opening keynote electrified and focused our annual conference of educators. Delaney’s description of the problem and call to action helped us get past the hand-wringing and focus on strategies for response.
— Thomas Rochon, President, Educational Records Bureau
Dr. Ruston shared excellent advice with our parents and students. We appreciated her positive, solution-oriented talk which helped our community identify and address issues of balance in our students’ lives.
— Michael McGlade, ISA Director of Educational Technology