2015 Speakers: A Look Behind The Scenes

Raj Patel

Raj Patel conducts an interview for his film project “Generation Food,” a documentary that will be released in 2016. An author, activist and academic, Raj is breaking through “people’s fear of systemic change by showing how some of the world’s poorest people are saving the planet through food.”

In Food Fix, Raj Patel will introduce a novel “technology” to global farming that can help decrease chronic child malnutrition and ensure food sovereignty. Knowing where to start isn’t easy, he tells us, sharing that “Many people want to change the world, but the ways we’re allowed to do it are trivial. Voting for one party or another doesn’t help. Shopping sensibly or voting with our forks doesn’t do a whole lot. But the minute we stop thinking about ourselves as individual consumers – whose only power is to shop – and think of ourselves as agents and scientists for change, new things start to become possible.”

What sparked Raj’s commitment to ending poverty? He shares the compelling experience: “I was five years old visiting Bombay, and couldn’t understand why a little girl was begging at a traffic light in the monsoon rain. It struck me as unspeakably unfair. As soon as I got back to England, I rented out my toys at kindergarten, and sent the money for hunger relief. It was an early career change. And I’ve yet to find a good reason why she was outside our taxi, and we were inside it.”

Raj Patel at work

Little boys from Bwabwa, Cameroon, make sweet potato donuts

Bwabwa, Cameroon.

Bwabwa, Cameroon



Dr. Dilip Jeste

In his office at UCSD, geriatric neuroscientist Dr. Dilip Jeste specializes in wisdom and other positive attributes of the aging brain.

“I am #Breakingthrough stigma against aging by discovering how late life can be a period of wisdom and growth – a time to thrive, not just survive,” says Dilip Jeste.

Dilip’s goal is timely, especially considering increasing life expectancy rates worldwide. He urges us not to view the aging demographic as a financial burden on the healthcare system, but as a valuable resource. Rather than the pejorative term “Silver Tsunami,” he tells us that it is instead “a Golden Wave of wise, emotionally stable, experienced decision-makers with a generative world view and a great deal to offer the younger generations.”

Dilip has no plans to slow down. “In 2008, for the first time in my life, I ran for a public election as a Trustee-at-Large of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the largest psychiatric organization in the world, with 35,000 members. The election involved political-style (but fortunately, without negative ads!) campaigning, seeking votes from a large and diverse body of members scattered across the country, giving presentations on why I was the best of the three candidates who were running for the position.” It wasn’t comfortable, he says, calling himself a “heavy underdog” at the start of the campaign. “Many friends and colleagues thought that I was risking my personal reputation by venturing outside the comfort zone of the academic ivory tower. Yet, I felt it was a great opportunity for me to get to know the world beyond academics and also to see if I could adapt myself to public campaigning. I won the election, while enhancing my friendship with the other two candidates.” He didn’t stop there. “After serving as the Trustee-at-Large for 3 years, I ran for APA Presidency, which was an even more demanding campaign. I won and in 2012 I became the first Asian American President in the 168-year history of this organization. It turned out to be one of the most fulfilling years of my life.”



Breakout Labs

Breakout Labs, workplace of Hemai Parthasarathy, Scientific Director of the Thiel Foundation and Breakout Labs and a speaker in our Catalyzing Great Science session.

Through her work at the Thiel Foundation, Hemai Parthasarathy tells us that she is “breaking through barriers between the laboratory and the economy.” At TEDMED, she will reveal what goes on behind the scenes of cultivating a scientist-entrepreneur and providing them with the tools to thrive.

But what about what happens behind the scenes outside of work? Curious to know, we asked her to tell us about the last time she did something for the very first time. Here’s what she shared: “In February, I started training a puppy for the first time. My family had dogs when I was growing up, but I’ve never raised a puppy before and it’s been fascinating to coach a non-human animal mind. Although I did animal research as a neuroscientist, watching non-human animal cognition and its evolution on a daily basis has given me a new perspective on just how fundamentally different and how utterly similar a different species’ brain can be.”



Vanessa Ruiz

Drawing from her love of street art, Vanessa Ruiz wants to break through “the confines of medical education by making human anatomy publicly accessible through art, design, and pop culture.”

Vanessa Ruiz’s company, Street Anatomy, is working on an online collection of top contemporary artists who use human anatomy in their art. She wants to shift public ignorance of human anatomy, saying “Most people know more about the settings on their smartphones than where their organs are located. I am attempting to make anatomy more accessible by showing how it is visualized outside of the realm of education—to break through the lack of interest, aversion to the internal, and perceived complexity. It is a step in making anatomy more ubiquitous and interesting.”

Vanessa Ruiz's office

A look into Vanessa’s office.

“OBJECTIFY THIS," curated by Vanessa Ruiz

In 2012, Vanessa curated a gallery show titled “OBJECTIFY THIS” that uses art as a vehicle for education. “I became more aware of the underrepresentation of female anatomy in medical textbooks and education,” she says. “The male body has always been the educational standard, possibly to the detriment of learning female anatomy. I have found that in art, there is no preference. It all depends on their frame of reference and experiences. I want to continue the theme of OBJECTIFY THIS and bring it to other cities around the world to educate the public on this overlooked issue.”

Transcendence: TEDMED2015 Speakers Share Inspirational Stories of How Personal Struggles Fueled Their Accomplishments

A number of TEDMED2015 speakers and performers have faced personal struggles head-on. Not only have they have risen above painful circumstances, they have utilized them to power meaningful change and improve the world for others. Here are a few of their stories:

Retina image

Actual images from the donated retinas of Thomas Gray.

Retina-Inspired Watercolor

Watercolor painting by artist by Michele Banks, inspired by the images from the donated retinas of Thomas Gray.

While struggling to cope with the loss of their 6-day-old son Thomas, Sarah Gray and her family chose to personally seek out and meet the researchers who received his eye, liver, and cord blood donations. Their journey brought profound peace to the Gray family, and in the process, garnered national and international media attention. Sarah is writing a ‘medical memoir’ about the experience, scheduled for publication next year. She says, “It will be a medical detective story in which I, a mother of twins, one of whom succumbs to a fatal genetic defect, recount the decision to give our infant son’s organs to medical science and my subsequent quest to find out what happened after the donation, taking readers to the cutting edge of research, inside other families’ stories, and what it means to come to terms with loss.”

Sarah recalls a profoundly moving moment, when the researcher who received her son’s retinas confided that she felt guilty about wishing to obtain a specimen of this type, because it is only available after a child dies. “It never occurred to me that a researcher would feel guilty about this, but now I understand why. I actually laughed when she said it. I asked her to never feel guilty about this, because if her study didn’t need my son’s retinas, they would be buried in the ground and not helping anyone. I am grateful that her research gave my son’s life an added layer of meaning.”

Thomas’s retinas have proven very useful—the researcher had been searching for six years for such a sample for her study of retinoblastoma, a deadly childhood cancer. “My son’s retinas were the only suitable specimen of healthy tissue that she has ever received,” Sarah proudly says.

Laurie Rubin

“I think of myself as a three-dimensional coloring book” says inspirational diva Laurie Rubin, whose blindness doesn’t stop her from designing jewelry, applying her own makeup, going skiing, or pursuing life’s other adventures.

Blind since birth, mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin (one of our featured performers) has performed at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and the White House, and is co-artistic director, co-founder and resident voice teacher of Ohana Arts Summer School of the Arts in Hawaii. Luminous as her voice and story may be, a thread that runs through her work is her experience of having been bullied as a child. In collaboration with composer (and wife) Jennifer Taira, Laurie released a song and music video, which features the stories of women overcoming the effects of bullying. Laurie also recounts the isolation she felt as a victim of bullying in her memoir, Do you Dream in Color? Though the memoir is primarily filled with thrilling stories and adventures from her life, Laurie finds that it is the day-to-day struggles that she describes that resonate most with her readers. Many wrote to Laurie, telling her they’d expected to read about a blind girl but “came away from it realizing I had just read a book about myself.” With a goal of promoting dialogue and forgiveness, Laurie tells us that, “Our experiences are universal, and we all have more in common than we think in spite of our differences.” Not only that – she challenges those “who feel their weaknesses hold them back to not only dream big, but to gather all the skills and tools they can to achieve their big dreams, no matter how hard it may seem to achieve them.”

Seun Adebiyi

Cancer survivor Seun Adebiyi will be Nigeria’s first Olympian to compete in both winter and summer games.

One week after graduating from Yale Law School, and one week before his 26th birthday, Seun Adebiyi was diagnosed with two aggressive forms of cancer – lymphoma and leukemia. With a grim prognosis, he was given only months to live. His best chance of survival was a stem cell transplant. However, having fully African ancestry, Seun struggled to find a donor. Less than 17% of Africans are able to find a donor to match their blood type and only 8% of registered donors in the US are black. While he was still fighting his cancers, Seun launched a Bone Marrow Donors Registry and organized the first bone marrow drive in his native Nigeria. Now fully recovered, Seun is training to become Nigeria’s first Winter Olympic athlete. He also directs the American Cancer Society’s Global Scholars program, training advocates to advance cancer screening, treatment, and palliative care in under-resourced, low-income countries.

When asked what his clone would do (if he had one), Seun responded: “I don’t need to clone myself. I work full time for the American Cancer Society and part-time for Uber; train for two Olympic sports; and still have enough time to earn a pilot’s license and a massage therapy degree. I’m also an avid student of yoga and meditation, and I enjoy taking mid-day naps.”

Inventors Who Solve For Complexity


“Have you broken this thing yet? No? Well, then, you are running behind schedule.”

That’s what Peter Janicki, founding engineer of Janicki Industries and a speaker in our Back to Basics session, asks himself when he’s tackling each of the large and complex challenges his 600-person family-operated engineering firm specializes in solving. With a portfolio that includes major architectural projects, transportation, and now sanitation, they’ve created an ecologically sound, inexpensive toilet to help improve conditions in developing countries. Requiring no electricity, plumbing or even water, the toilet is self-contained, derives all of its energy from fecal matter input, and produces only a bit of ash. “It does seem almost too good to be true. That was the only way it was going to work economically,” says Peter.

Peter Janicki, Founding Engineer of Janicki Industries

Peter Janicki, Founding Engineer of Janicki Industries

Peter’s working philosophy – which has contributed to his company’s unique innovations – was shaped at an early age. Peter recalls being 12 years old and spending the day at work with his father in the family logging business. It was a long slog, and the kind of day when many things went wrong. It was also Friday – pay day.

“The entire crew, about 120 employees, were in the shop when my dad walked in. Right there were our own two dump trucks, completely smashed, from crashing into each other. There was dead silence as my dad walked over and inspected the trucks. The radiator and engine block on both engines were cracked. Without saying a word he walked out to his pickup truck and grabbed two cases of beer, set it on the workbench in the middle of the shop and said, ‘Boys, tonight the beer is on the house.’ And he sat and drank and visited with the crew for more than an hour. My dad never got mad at the crew when things went badly.

“This had a profound impact on how I interact with my crew today. I strive to create an environment where the penalty for failure is very small. This creates freedom because people are not scared. Freedom promotes innovation and innovation promotes rapid technology advancement.”

Optimizing for freedom to innovate is the principle that also powers MakerNurse, where co-founder Anna Young (another Back to Basics speaker and a Hive 2015 innovator) operates from a fundamental belief that nurses (and other healthcare providers) can create innovations that improve patient care when empowered with the right tools and unafraid to try. “The everyday ingenuity of people will solve many of the health technology challenges in healthcare today,” Anna shares.

Anna Young, Co-Founder of MakerNurse

Anna Young, Co-Founder of MakerNurse

MakerNurse creates Medical Maker Spaces with tool kits that are, essentially, “miniaturized” world-class medical device R&D facilities to create affordable DIY health technology solutions to customize care.

“The history of medical making runs deep through every part of the healthcare system,” Anna says. “We appreciate the end result, the life-saving technologies, but rarely acknowledge the 15 iterations of prototypes that were developed to get there.” She notes, for example, the balloon catheter, prototyped by Dr. Andreas Gruentzig on his kitchen counter in Switzerland, which led to the development of the interventional radiology department at Emory University. The technology and technique spread and today treats 500,000 people in the US each year.

“Our MIT lab was in the field looking for user innovators in hospitals around the world,” she says, adding that what they found, instead, was that “stealth health makers” were the ones adding the most value to the healthcare system.

“We found stealth medical making in hospitals all over… a stethoscope repaired with overhead transparencies, custom phototherapy masks for NICU patients and a DIY ambulance to transport patients in remote areas,” Anna tells us, noting that “healthcare is better when everyone is empowered to create devices.”

Humanizing Our Healthcare System

It’s difficult to imagine a business more delicate and intimate than healthcare. Yet the reality in today’s corporate hospital world is that many patients feel deeply disconnected and uncared for in a system that often feels aloof, cold and impersonal. The problem is not simple, nor is there a single solution. This daunting challenge is being seriously addressed in the medical world by two champions working to humanize healthcare from the inside—and we’re honored that they’re joining us at TEDMED 2015.

Thomas Lee, Chief Medical Officer for Press Ganey

Thomas Lee, Chief Medical Officer for Press Ganey

One such champion is the quality care pioneer Thomas Lee, who serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Press Ganey, where he leads development of strategies for measuring and improving quality of care. Tom claims that a key healthcare makeover requires recognizing physicians’ empathy as a business asset, and designating patient suffering an avoidable outcome.

Patient experience is an integral quality indicator at Press Ganey, but Tom’s commitment to the concept doesn’t just come from his leadership role there. As a practicing internist/cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Tom recalls how it felt to walk the halls in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. “I saw how everyone, down to the custodial staff, took tremendous pride in the work that they had done to save so many lives,” Tom says. “That experience helped me realize that pride and shame were motivators that greatly exceeded financial incentives in their potential to drive improvement in healthcare,” he shares.

Medical progress has produced “marvelous benefits,” Tom notes, but it “also has side effects – chaos, because there is so much to do, so many people involved, no one with all the information, and no one with full accountability. We focus on financial issues in healthcare all the time, but the bigger challenge is bringing organization to the chaos, so that we can improve quality, efficiency, and safety.”

Those same themes – quality, efficiency and safety – fuel the digital revolution in healthcare. However, this effort doesn’t always work out so well. Renowned UCSF internist, founder of the hospitalist movement, and former chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Bob Wachter, tells us that “Healthcare’s digital revolution is making some things better, some worse.”

Bob Wachter, Renowned UCSF internist, founder of the hospitalist movement, and former chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine

Bob Wachter, UCSF internist and founder of the hospitalist movement

Bob values the advancement of “the appreciation in healthcare, over the past 15 years that the outcomes of patients is at least as dependent on the quality of the healthcare system as on the smarts/commitment of the physician. I learned nothing of this paradigm in medical school, yet it now is central to my own career and the way we train future generations of physicians.”

Bob proposes that our “healthcare system needs to deliver better, safer, more satisfying care at a lower cost” and points out that “the only way we’ll make that happen is through use of technology.” Still, “our implementation of technology, to date, has been disappointing. I’m trying to break through the hype to allow us to understand how to implement technology tools so as to improve healthcare value and unlock the potential to improve health.”

A medical school in Cuba trains doctors to serve the world’s neediest

American journalist and Havana resident Gail Reed spoke at TEDMED 2014 about a Cuban medical school that trains doctors from low-income countries who pledge to serve communities like their own all over the world. She talked with TEDMED about the Latin American Medical School and its contributions to global health.

Why does this talk matter now? What impact do you hope it will have?

Ridden by Ebola today, other emerging infections tomorrow, and always by chronic diseases—our world needs strong health systems, staffed by well-trained and dedicated people. And their education must be the result of enlightened decisions from policymakers who put health first, learning from the likes of the Latin American Medical School to make these new health professionals the rule, not the exception. Now is the time for medical educators to make the changes needed to give us the kind of physicians we need. And to bring the profession into the movement for universal health care, bringing doctors to the forefront with other health workers. To walk the walk.

Gail Reed at TEDMED 2014

Gail Reed at TEDMED 2014 Photo: TEDMED/Sandy Huffaker

I hope that people seeing the talk will be inspired to act to support the Latin American Medical School graduates through our organization, MEDICC. I hope policymakers will take the School’s courageous experiment to heart, and then take another look at their budgets and find more for health and medical school scholarships; and that governments will find a way to employ these new doctors in the public health sector, in places where they are most needed. I hope the graduates will never ever wonder about their importance to global health, for they and others like them are vital to turning around our global health crisis, in which one billion people still have no health care—millions, even, in the USA. And finally, I hope we will recognize Cuba’s contribution to global health, including the nearly 500 nurses and doctors on the front lines against Ebola in West Africa, as an example of what is possible and as a challenge to others to do more. Today, Cuba has over 50,000 health professionals serving in 66 countries, 65% of them women. Since 1963, 77,000 of them have given their services—and some their lives—in Africa.

What motivated you to speak at TEDMED?

As a journalist in Cuba, I realized I was witnessing an extraordinary experiment in health solidarity with the world’s poorest people: The thousands of scholarships offered by Havana’s Latin American Medical School to students from low-income families in 123 countries, who pledge to serve in communities poor like their own. I was struck by the fact that a country, an institution, believed these young people could themselves be the answer to the call for doctors where there were none. And I was astounded, too, that this audacious experiment has remained essentially an untold story. Audacity is right at home on TEDMED’s stage, so it seemed the perfect opportunity. I also thought the TEDMED audience would ‘get it,’ the urgency and responsibility we all have to support these new doctors, who represent the potential of imagination when commitment drives it into bold action.

What is the legacy you want to leave?

The talk’s legacy is in the hands of thousands of young doctors continuing to graduate from the School in Havana, who are bringing health care to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Their school and their example should remind us that this is one world, with one fate and one humanity, and that the odds are there to beat: Health for all is possible.  

Want to learn more about Gail and her efforts? Visit her speaker page on TEDMED.com.


TEDMED 2014 Day Two: Thinking Hard, Playing Hard

The second day of TEDMED tackled some of the toughest topics in health and medicine, including addiction and the growing plague of antibiotic resistance, with musings on the power of transparency and simple play.

What can human doctors learn from veterinarians? Quite a bit, as Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at UCLA Medical School, revealed. From recognizing and treating issues from postpartum depression to heart disease, physicians would be well served to learn from veterinary medicine for tips on how to treat human animals, she said, adding, “What do you call a veterinarian who can take care of only one species?  A physician.”

Abraham Verghese, professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, spoke of the metaphors in medical language, and why illnesses and healing present compelling human stories (perhaps why so many doctors are also wonderful writers).  “Anybody with a curiosity for the human condition, with the willingness to work hard, and with an empathy for fellow humans, can be a great physician,” he said.

Can eating be addictive? Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, explained a bit of the neurobiology behind why drug addiction is not a moral failure due to a reduction in dopamine receptors – which holds true for those addicted to food as well.

“Addiction and obesity have been stigmatized and dismissed as disorders of poor self-control, self inflicted, personal behavioral choices. I never ever met an addicted person who wanted to be an addict, nor have I ever met an obese person who wanted to be obese. Can you imagine what it must be to want to stop doing something, and not being able to?” Volkow said.

Carl Hart

Carl Hart

Carl Hart, who emerged from a youth of petty crime and drug use to teach psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University, also weighed in on myths of addiction. Up to ninety percent of those who use illegal drugs are not addicts, he said, and drugs don’t necessarily lead to a life of indigency and crime. “We certainly were poor [in my neighborhood] well before drugs entered the picture,” he said, and criminalizing drug possession only contributes to a downward spiral.

In the session appropriately titled, “Don’t You Dare Talk About This,” organ donation advocate Sigrid Fry-Revere spoke of the hurdles of kidney donation, from getting an organ to giving one. Her proposition: Why not help donors financially, as other countries do to good effect, most notably in Iran.

Dr. Leana Wen urged doctors in the audience to declare any financial incentives – including to do more or less treatment – that may influence their decisions in the “Total Transparency Manifesto” movement she founded.

Carla Pugh had a call to medicine as well – to take training beyond pen-and-pencil tests to extended haptic training. A childhood spent fixing things, a life-or-death moment in the ER, and her own research into how often med students miss bodily cues, led to her creating her own patented haptic training tools.


Carla Pugh

Science writer and author Kayt Sukel spoke of the neurological benefits of risks — and risky play — even though some choices, particularly those kids make, look silly to the rest of us. There’s a big cognitive payoff in terms of brain growth to new experiences, she said, and an especially big bounce when gambles pay off. It also pays to expect the unexpected; “Every single day is a risky one, because in this life there’s very little that is guaranteed,” she said.

Click here for speaker highlights from Day One of TEDMED 2014.

TEDMED 2014 Session Nine: I Was Just Thinking Too Small

When Robert Hooke looked into a microscope and decided the structures he saw should be named cells, it was an epic moment for scientific probing. It has brought to fruition the longing to see how things really work at their most basic levels, and the ingenuity to devise ways to explore.

Sometimes, however, approaching a mystery or positing a breakthrough means stepping back and applying a wider lens. What if solving a problem means reframing it entirely?

This ninth and final session of TEDMED 2014 is all about taking a look at the bigger picture.

Tomorrow is your last day to register, so don’t miss your chance to join us September 10-12 in Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA.

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 3.11.29 PMScreen Shot 2014-09-02 at 3.11.47 PMScreen Shot 2014-09-02 at 3.11.58 PMScreen Shot 2014-09-02 at 3.12.08 PMExplore our full stage program to learn more about all the speakers who will take the TEDMED stage in just over a week, and stay updated by following @TEDMED on Twitter.

TEDMED Stage Program by the Numbers


As we count down the days until TEDMED, we present a numerical look at the speakers for TEDMED 2014.

Some fun facts:

This year, we’re particularly proud that 45 of our speakers – 51 percent – are women.  As we ramp up to an eventual global presence, we’ve invited speakers from 20 nations and five continents.

They also represent a wide variety of interdisciplinary brilliance:  22 MDs, 26 PhDs (10 overachieving MD/PhDs and one hyper-overachieving college dropout), lawyers, architects, economists, journalists, entrepreneurs, an extreme athlete, acrobaticalists, global musicians, comedians, actors, dancers, photographers, and a man who gets a lot of mileage out of his pink tutu.

TEDMED Speakers: Stealing Solutions to Medicine’s Toughest Problems

shutterstock_22354027In four short weeks TEDMED 2014 officially kicks off and we are excited to continue highlighting our sessions with you. Next up, we are pleased to present “Stealing Smart,” a session during which speakers will share inspiring stories and ideas about how we can adapt solutions from other industries, and from other fields both inside and outside of medicine, to solve the most intractable problems in health and medicine. This session is dedicated to the idea that sometimes we need to look outside the realm of health to solve the complex issues within.

There’s still time to join us at TEDMED in Washington, DC or San Francisco, CA to experience how these dynamic thought leaders are accelerating health and medicine by “stealing smart.”

Brian Primack, Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, will shed a provocative new light on the health impacts of existing and possible future relationships between certain popular media products and human behavior.

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at UCLA Medical School, will provide a surprising perspective on how human wellbeing, including mental health, can be improved with insights into animal health.

Ramanan Laxminarayan, Director of the Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy, will discuss an unusual yet imminently practical approach to conserving antibiotics.

Engineer and entrepreneur Drew Lakatos is the CEO of ActiveProtect, a wearable technology company focused on reducing injury with smart garments that monitor mobility, detect falls, and intervene prior to impact.

Neuroscientist Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the NIH and a world leader in the neurobiology of diseases of reward and self-control, will apply a lens of addiction to the obesity epidemic.

Dominick Farinacci, trumpeter and protégé of Wynton Marsalis, will perform. He leads the Lincoln Center expansion in Doha and has played music in the lobby of the Cleveland Clinic.

Leslie Morgan Steiner, journalist and author, will bring the audience along on her journey to learn the truth about a successful medical surrogacy industry on the far side of the world – and how it could provide a model to help solve problems in the U.S.

Abraham Verghese, Provostial Professor and Vice Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, will share compelling insights into the impact of language on health.

Zachary Copfer, former microbiologist and now an MFA in photography from the University of Cincinnati, will share awe-inspiring images in which the world of medicine is the medium as well as the message.

With the goal of creating “spare parts” for human implantation and disease models, Nina Tandon founded Epibone, the world’s first company to grow living human bones for skeletal reconstruction.

Both a forensic toxicologist and an attorney, Stephen Goldner is the Chairman and CEO of CureLauncher, a free, consumer-friendly resource that connects patients to clinical trials based on their unique goals and conditions.

TEDMED 2014 Session Three: Achieving the Seemingly Impossible

Find a way.” – Diana Nyad

What lies on the other side of self-imposed limitations? Lab tests at your neighborhood pharmacy that use a single drop of blood. A breathtakingly simple way to stop HIV/AIDS in its tracks. A completely counter-intuitive way to address doctor shortages in developing countries. An endurance feat so extreme that it redefines the phrase “will to succeed.”

Speakers for Session Three of TEDMED 2014 will make you rethink the limits of what is possible.

Flat Out Amazing

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, will share the amazing medical insights and technology that have put her on the cutting edge of high-tech diagnostics.

Gail Reed, founder of Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba and editor of MEDICC Review, is a former journalist who will spotlight a completely counterintuitive program to relieve the global shortage of physicians in poor countries.


Marathon swimmer Diana Nyad will share lessons of her world record-setting solo 110-mile swim from Cuba to Miami at age 64.

Marc Koska, inventor of a life-saving syringe, will share the struggles, setbacks, breakthroughs and ultimate triumphs of this technology’s 30-year odyssey from “great idea” to “globally adopted reality.”

Foteini Agrafioti, a biometric and personal security engineer, will share how your EKG and emissions from your ear may be an alternate kind of fingerprint for you.

Kitra Cahana, one of National Geographic’s youngest photographers, will tell a moving and inspiring story of a medical catastrophe that turned into an unexpected journey into realms of spirituality and imagination.

Click here to register for the event in Washington, DC or in San Francisco, CA.