Great Challenges: Experts discuss the Caregiving Crisis

Missed yesterday’s enlightening discussion by TEDMED Great Challenge experts on the caregiving crisis? Watch it here to get caught up on the latest thinking in the field.  Along with the TEDMED community online, the Caregiving Challenge Team talked of assessing the current and future numbers of caregivers, factors contributing to the Challenge, and family, healthcare, business and government interventions that have the potential to help patients and their caregivers.

Tune in to the TEDMED Google+ page or on next Thursday at 2 pm EST for the next in our series of live online events, and follow us for updates @TEDMED #greatchallenges and on TEDMED’s Facebook page.

Join Thursday’s live conversation on the caregiving crisis

This Thursday, TEDMED is hosting the second live Great Challenges TEDMED Google hangout.  This weeks topic:  The caregiver crisis.

Join our caregiving Challenge Team leaders on Thursday at 2 PM ET. They are:

Peter Arno, PhD – Director, Center for Long Term Care Research & Policy, School of Health Science at Practice New York Medical College

Alan Blaustein – Founder, CarePlanners

Barry Jacobs, PsyD – Director of Behavioral Sciences, Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program

Cheri Lattimer, RN, BSN – President & CEO, CMI; Executive Director, Case Management Society of America & National Transitions of Care Coalition

Carol Levine – Director, Families and Health Care Project, United Hospital Fund

Suzanne Geffen Mintz – CEO Emeritus and Co-founder, National Family Caregivers Association

Click here to Follow our Google+ page and to post questions in advance — we’ll be choosing a few to answer on-air.

If you weren’t able to make last week’s conversation on the changing role of the patient, you can watch it here.  See you Thursday!

Which health innovation are you most thankful for?


We asked the TEDMED staff: Which health innovation are you most thankful for?

Though they ponder the future of health and medicine every day, here’s what mattered most to them.

“I am thankful for ultrasounds – so that I could see my daughters before they were born and I could see that they were healthy.” Nicole Bumpus Finn, Event Manager

“I’m thankful for the pacemaker that is currently extending the life of many of my family members including both of my grandmothers, my father, my aunt, and at one time, my grandfather. If genetics are any indication, I’ll inevitably have one inside me.” Zac Smith, Manager of Website and Marketing Programs

“As a cancer survivor, I’m thankful for medical imaging, which has helped me from having unnecessary surgeries to investigate a suspected problem. I’m also grateful that the technology allowed me to see my child who I never thought I could have.” Grace McElroy, Director of Partnership Development

“I think it is the revolution in the attitude of all stakeholders that a paternalistic top-down medical care, education and research paradigm is being replaced by a decentralized, evidence-based, patient-focused, innovation-driven future.” Jay Walker, Curator and Chairman

“I am thankful for the way technology has brought the global medical world together to share ideas, discoveries and remedies to the great medical challenges.” – Eric Vaughan, Director of TEDMEDHealth

“Nipple sparing mastectomy, which allows keeping most of the breast’s exterior and therefore maintain a fairly normal appearance. My mom developed breast cancer over 15 years ago so this hits close to home. I think it is an amazing option for women who are faced with terrible decisions just to stay healthy.” – Courtney Olean Paige, Director of Marketing Operations

“Running water and public sewers make for better health, better aroma, safer streets, and cleaner friends.” Jose Suarez, Chief Executive Officer

“I am thankful for the major advances in the treatment and detection of breast cancer. My sister was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer 10 years ago and continues to be cancer-free. Thankful is an understatement.” – Melanie Howley, Manager of Delegate Relations

“Anti-smoking laws and campaigns. Some of the biggest advancements in our health today, those innovations that have been proven to save lives, aren’t technology based—they are public service campaigns and laws that reinforce the need for the public to be intimately involved in their heath care.” Shirley Bergin, Chief Operating Officer

“Having recently had a baby, I am most thankful for pumps that administer intravenous or epidural pain medication.”  Lindsay Potter, Speaker Relations

“I’m especially thankful for the artificial joints that help friends and family members remain ambulatory.” Marcus Webb, Chief Storytelling Officer

“Vaccines delivered via a nasal spray/oral liquids/a pill. With my unimaginable fear of needles, this is definitely one of the innovations that I’m personally most thankful for!” – Nicole Batiste, Director of Community Development

“It’s a tie: The anti-rejection meds that keep my dad’s new liver working perfectly, and the hospice programs that gave my mom skilled, compassionate and well-organized care during her last few months.” – Stacy Lu, Senior Writer

“I am thankful for all the innovators out there who are determined to create a better future in health and medicine.” Jonathan Ellenthal, President

Which health innovation are you most thankful for?  Share your thoughts below.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Jay Walker on Fox Business: U.S. needs to accept risk in health innovation

What does health innovation have to do with the threat of an impending “fiscal cliff?”

TEDMED’s curator Jay Walker sat down with Neil Cavuto of Fox Business News to discuss last Friday. Walker says innovation in health and medicine is nothing less than an economic foundation for the U.S.:  “The future of health and medicine is really a future of innovation, job-creation and what makes America great, which is real progress in unexpected directions….There are more people working on the future of health and medicine than ever before.”

He added: “We’ve all got to deal with our health. Whether we deal with it in the doctor’s office or we deal with it in our home, we’ve got to deal with it.”

Still, Walker said, “There are a lot of reasons to be concerned, especially if you’re in the innovation space… America has not come to grips with the risk issue in health.  It’s going to take risk.  And right now we live in a risk-adverse environment.”

Watch the four-minute interview here.

A Great Challenge conversation: Who can help when caring becomes a crisis?

How can caring for those closest to us become too much to handle?

The team of experts behind the Great Challenge of the caregiving crisis answered as part of an ongoing online discussion of the issue: Americans are living longer, yet have more chronic illness — and our population is aging. Families are smaller. Healthcare is poorly coordinated. Most jobs don’t allow flexible schedules. And caregiving is unforgivingly stressful for the 45 million or so who have this responsibility.

We know this, and yet caregiving demands still take most families by surprise; they find they are drastically underprepared financially and emotionally to take on this role. Perhaps caregiving will someday become standard family planning, but in the meantime, can institutions step in to assist?

Barry Jacobs, Director of Behavioral Sciences, Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program, said that many Fortune 500 companies are allowing flexible schedules for employee caregivers, though it’s more difficult for smaller companies to follow suit.  Carol Levine, Director of the Families and Health Care Project, United Hospital Fund, said this reduces turnover, improves productivity thus pays off in the long run.

In most cases, a caregiver is an intrinsic part of a patient’s medical team, and should be recognized as such by healthcare professions, says Suzanne Geffen Mintz, CEO Emeritus and Co-founder, National Family Caregivers Association. They should be coached appropriately for in-home care, and their assistance and input should be utilized. Mintz says:

“There are only two people consistent across all care settings: patients and their primary family caregiver. This simple statement has a major impact on the safety and coordination of a patient’s care. Doctors would do well to remember this and include family caregivers as lay members of the healthcare team.”

And while there are family leave laws and tax credits on the books to help caregivers, says Peter Arno, Director of the Center for Long Term Care Research & Policy at the School of Health Sciences and Practice, New York Medical College, many may not be aware of and hence don’t take advantage of them.

Click here to read more about the caregiving crisis, see responses from experts, and add your own comments.

Join the first Great Challenges live event on Nov. 15th

For the past two months, we’ve been holding an online conversation with industry, advocacy, and academic leaders — and the public — about health and medicine’s Great Challenges. Next week, we’re going live with our first Googe + Hangout.


Join to watch a moderated talk on The Role of the Patient: What are the opportunities, and the pitfalls, of greater patient engagement? Are patients fully aware of their options, and their rights?  Do doctors know that, and acknowledge it? How can both parties work more effectively with the tools now available, from online health information to electronic medical records?


A team of experts will discuss all this and more on Thursday, November 15th, from 2:00 pm to 2:45 pm EST.  They are:

Ted Eytan
Director, The Permanente Federation, LLC at Kaiser Permanente
Theresa Brown
Oncology Nurse and New York Times Columnist
Amy Berman
Senior Program Officer, The John A. Hartford Foundation
Rebecca Burkholder
Vice President of Health Policy, National Consumers League
Alexandra Drane
Founder, Chief Visionary Officer and Chair of the Board, Eliza Corporation


To join, visit and Follow our Google + Page.


Click here to learn about the The Role of the Patient Challenge and its Team Leaders.


What’s really causing our obesity epidemic?

What are the top 10 contributing factors to our nation’s struggle with obesity?

TEDMED’s Great ChallengesTeam Leaders, who address the problem every day from their top posts in advocacy, academia and public health, had varied perspectives on what’s causing this vast, relatively recent, and growing health threat.

A big part of the issue is that we oversimplify the problem, says Joe Nadglowski,  President of the Obesity Action Coalition. Gaining or losing weight is not just a matter of calories in, calories out, he says, but a matter of what does get consumed, and when.

Professor Christine Ferguson of the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University, pointed out that interventions for children’s health may be the most effective way to stem the tide of obesity, and that working at less than peak health impacts our workforce and hence, our economy.

Dan Callahan of the Hastings Center pointed out industry influence as a factor, including resistance to resistance to regulation and taxation of unhealthy food and beverages, and large restaurant and sugared beverage portions.

Maya Rockeymoore, President and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, singled out portion sizes and the easy access to high-fat and sugary foods as causes, while adding that for many neighborhoods, access to healthy food was also a major barrier.

And Rebecca Puhl, Director of Research and Weight Stigma Initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, added agricultural policy, commodities pricing and the built environment to her broad-view perspective on the issues.

Click here see their full responses and comments from the rest of the team members on the Great Challenge of obesity.

Health leaders respond to TEDMED’s Great Challenges

What do some of health and medicine’s leading thinkers have to say about our most pressing challenges?

Over the past month, we’ve hosted online conversations on the Great Challenges of Health and Medicine, which are particularly widespread, obstinate issues that demand varied points of view and creative approaches to address.

Readers have submitted questions and comments on the Challenges to leaders from industry and advocacy groups, and the first groups have responded via video, presentations, and artfully written answers — bringing their own creativity to the table. A sampling:

What are the top ten factors affecting the Caregiving Crisis?  Alan Blaustein, Founder of CarePlanners, responds (with help from a few small friends). And Joe Nadglowski, President of the Obesity Action Coalition, gives an example of a community-wide approach to fighting obesity.

Alexandra Drane, Founder, Chief Visionary Officer and Chair of the Board of Eliza Corporation, pursued a graphic approach while explaining top contributors to the changing Role of the Patient:

Speaking also to that Challenge, Ted Eytan, an MD and a director of Kaiser Permanente, tackled: “What are reasonable and unreasonable expectations of patient responsibility in the delivery of health care?” His answer:

I am not a fan of the idea that patients are reasonable or not reasonable. The health system is designed in service to patients and to society, so that they can be productive people, family, community members, and citizens. Therefore, whatever is in the scope of allowing them to be these people is reasonable.

Sometimes it’s a matter of understanding what’s capable, and as it is said, if two people have the same information, they are likely to come to the same conclusion. We should get at, and eliminate, information asymmetry so that in the end, everything is reasonable because everyone had the same ability to understand the world around them.


To see more, visit