Experience the TEDMED Stage Program via Live Stream


Thanks to generous support from our partners, including the American Medical Association, Johnson and Johnson Innovation, Stanford Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we’re able to provide a live video stream of our entire TEDMED 2015 stage program.

The ideas and conversation at TEDMED need to be shared with everyone on the frontlines of health and medicine to have the broadest impact. That’s why – for the 3rd year in a row – the entire TEDMED program is available online, broadcast directly from the stage in Palm Springs. It’s free for all teaching hospitals, medical schools, government agencies and approved non-profits, and can be watched in high-definition video, live or on-demand to accommodate schedules around the world.

In 2014, more than 200,000 participants from 147 countries participated in TEDMED Live


We welcome all who qualify to experience a carefully curated stage program featuring inspiring and provocative stories that address some of the most pressing challenges we face in health and medicine today. (See our stage program and meet our speakers.)  By sharing our program with organizations around the world, we aim to break barriers and contribute to a multi-disciplinary, global conversation about what is new and important in health and medicine.

Whether an organization has five, 500 or 5,000 people, we invite everyone to join the discussion as part of the TEDMED community. TEDMED Live can be used to ignite new thinking in large groups gathering at college campuses – to inspire collaboration among colleagues who watch together in small lunchtime viewing parties – or enjoyed individually via personal laptops and computers.

Watch each TEDMED session live or view at your convenience, on-demand, for one month beyond the event.

  • Live Streaming is available during the event, Nov. 18-20, 2015. Click here to see the schedule for all eight sessions.
  • On-Demand Streaming Available through Dec. 18, 2015 

TEDMED Talks inform, engage, and provoke action across a broad, passionate community. So whether you are on the inside or outside of health and medicine, we encourage you to join us as we come together to shape a healthier world.

  • In the spirit of collaboration, the entire program is free for teaching hospitals, medical schools, government agencies, libraries and approved non-profits. (Click here to apply)
  • TEDMED Live is also available for organizations that don’t qualify. (Click here for pricing.) 

Special thanks to the organizations that joined us last year – we hope to have you join us again! A few include:

  • Abbott Labs
  • AcademyHealth
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • AstraZeneca
  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • European Medical Students’ Association
  • FightTheStroke.org
  • The Global Fund
  • Johnson & Johnson Innovation
  • Kangwon National University
  • McGill University
  • Melbourne Medical School, University of Melbourne
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Qatar Foundation
  • Research4Life
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Rotterdam University
  • Stanford Medicine
  • Sustainable Development Solutions Network
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Genova
  • University of Ottago
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Valencia
  • UPfizer
  • US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED)
  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
  • Wellcome Trust
  • World Health Organization

Words of advice for trials & tribulations: Q&A with Stephen Goldner

At TEDMED 2014, forensic toxicologist and attorney Stephen Goldner shared the compelling story of how helping one person turned into a lifelong effort to change (and, in some cases, even save) lives. We reached out to Stephen to learn more about what drives his work.

What advice would you give to other aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs?

People’s minds are constantly changing, and innovators are so driven toward new interests, that they often have difficulty staying focused on the “grind” of daily business building. I strongly suggest finding a mentor. Someone who can provide focus and encouragement during both the good times and the bad times, and who can then make the all-important connections to people and resources at just the right time.

Stephen Goldner, TEDMED 2014.

Stephen Goldner, TEDMED 2014.

Who or what has been your main source of inspiration that drives you to innovate?

My parents, who quietly insisted that I should do something good for people through my work. Later, I found a master scientist, John Broich, who inspired many people and became my business partner and friend for life. John was a devout seeker of truth, and a data-driven scientist who could see molecular structures in the air and then bring that discovery to life in the laboratory. Another source of inspiration is Alan Kaplan, who created the Food and Drug Law Institute in Washington, DC, and became my mentor when I switched careers and became an FDA lawyer. Alan showed me how to see the many different aspects to matters of law and ethics, and the importance of considering societal consequences.

Most of all, my life-long devotion to humanism has been mentored by someone I never spoken to, and only met briefly twice. I know him from his writings, and his frequent video-talks, even though I have to rely upon translation from Japanese to English. Mr. Daisaku Ikeda, President of Soka Gakkai International has shown me how to turn my personal karma into a day-to-day, moment-to-moment appreciation for finding what needs to be done for people, figuring out what I can do, and then doing it.

Why does your talk matter now? What do you hope people learn from your talk?

Nothing is more precious than life. My talk celebrated helping people find new medicines so they could live. I hope people learn that their simple act of helping one person can turn into a huge mission and help thousands, if not millions, of people all over the world. I hope people see that I am just an “average Joe” who figured something out and then sought out others to join in that mission.

What is the legacy you want your work and/or your talk to leave?

I hope that, somehow, my story will encourage hundreds and thousands of people to endure the entrepreneur struggles and bring their humanistic ideas to fruition.

What is next for you?

Certainly we continue to implement the CureLauncher technology; we’ve done that for more than 11,000 people and multiple clinical trials so far. Things are really interesting at this point in time because I was recently asked to set up the foremost cannabis testing laboratory in the USA. The laboratory, Pinnacle Labs, is based in Michigan and will open on October 15. Once it does, the synergy will kick in. We’ll be running multiple clinical trials for people using marijuana, and collaborating with distinguished medical centers and physicians, and even law enforcement labs, that want to help bring together great science and medicine to show the value of this plant medication.

All innovations need the right time, the right people and the right circumstances to “take off and soar” – so, whatever your dream is, keep on “keeping on” and you will be amazed at all the value you can create in the world.

Indigenous economic health: Q&A with Rebecca Adamson

On the TEDMED 2014 stage, Indigenous economist Rebecca Adamson, founder of the First Nations Development Institute and First Peoples Worldwide and a globally recognized advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, shares how culturally appropriate, values-driven, sustainable development based on indigenous principles contributes to a new concept of health. We caught up with her to learn more.

What motivated you to speak at TEDMED?

Understanding health as an emergent property, and seeing the individual’s health as merely a part of society’s collective health, aligns closely with the holistic approach found within Indigenous Peoples’ worldview. This understanding provided me a natural bridge to make the case that the old medical paradigm that has operated until now with a single, limited, linear worldview needed rethinking. I wanted to show how much the Indigenous worldview has been literally and figuratively handcuffed and prohibited from use. Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same conscience that created it.”  I wanted to present how culturally diverse perspectives, especially Indigenous perspectives that emphasize the health of the community rather than the health of the individual, are compelling and relevant technologies for today.

Medical science has determined that healthy individuals emerge from a healthy relationship with a healthy society in a healthy ecosystem. This means that the distribution and delivery of healthcare must meet the needs of the whole society, not merely a part of it. For me, this is a game-changer. As a Cherokee Economist, with a lifetime invested in Indigenous development, my experience with western models has been that they focus on accumulation with little attention to distribution. One of the most crucial aspects of the emergent property of health is that well-being is achieved collectively, meaning that the distribution and delivery of our healthcare actually determines the efficacy of our medical system, our individual health, and the well-being of our society. I believe the Indigenous paradigm lends a new perspective in rethinking healthcare and the medical profession.

Rebecca Adamson at TEDMED 2014

“One of the most crucial aspects of the emergent property of health is that well-being is achieved collectively, meaning that the distribution and delivery of our healthcare actually determines the efficacy of our medical system, our individual health, and the well-being of our society.” Rebecca Adamson at TEDMED 2014

Why does this talk matter now?

Indigenous Peoples are still being handcuffed, figuratively and literally. We are being arrested, shot at and killed for our natural resources. This is going on at the same time that many of our sciences (not just medical) are uncovering the interconnectivity of life – all Life. Holistic worldviews are not exclusive to Indigenous Peoples but the millennia of empirical data on how societies can organize politically, socially and economically for sustainability is being lost. Right now there is an overemphasis on the technological and financial aspects of our society. As medical practitioners, you can really see it in the healthcare system. For example, if we know that health is an emergent property then why is so little or no attention given to the distribution and delivery of healthcare for all – not merely a portion – of society? Sure, we need technology and sure, we need to pay for it – but I wanted to challenge my audience to consider a new way of thinking about healthcare and medicine, one that encompasses society as a whole. Remember the distribution of the whale hunt in an Inuit village, compared to the distribution of cash in the same village? Could you imagine our society if healthcare were to be distributed with the same sophistication as the Inuit whale harvest?  However, if we were to map the distribution of healthcare services in our society today, I fear that it would follow the pattern of hierarchical cash distribution, as opposed to holistic asset or resource distribution, where everyone is accounted for.

The efficacy of traditional medicines is just one part of what Indigenous Peoples can offer the field of medicine. Because the Indigenous worldview is holistic, Indigenous Peoples are brilliant systems thinkers. Indigenous systems leverage and account for the inter- and inner-connections between individuals, community, society and even the ecosystem. Today, we are at a critical point of opportunity where changing the distribution of healthcare is imperative for changing the health and wellbeing of our society. An Indigenous paradigm that values the interconnectedness and interdependence of society can serve as a crucial guide in shifting emphasis from financial gain to collective well-being in the medical field.

What impact do you hope the talk will have?

Our healthcare system today is riddled with problems, that I see stemming from an exaggerated focus on the individual and neglect of the collective wellbeing. I hope my talk will lead TEDMED to focus on the importance of access, distribution and healthcare delivery with the same attention that it dedicates to technology, data and finance. The answers lie in alternative ways of understanding healthcare and medicine. TEDMED has a commitment to diversity that it demonstrated in this incredible gathering of experts, both in speakers and in the audience. I challenge you all to do more. Take the mental handcuffs off. Challenge paradigms that prevent diverse voices and perspectives, as they are the only way we are going to solve the complex issues facing us today. An Indigenous way of thought accounts for the collective – an individual is just one part of a community, just as a plant is one piece of an ecosystem. In the Indigenous paradigm, the health of the individual is dependent on the health of the community. I hope my talk inspires those in medicine to begin rethinking how they approach health care, and to begin considering how our current system can reach society as a whole rather than merely a part.

Please share anything else you wish you could have included in your talk.

Ultimately, I wanted to leave the audience with this question: what do Indigenous Peoples have to share with TEDMED? Remember the distribution of the whale hunt – isn’t that, at its very best, the kind of distribution you would wish for today’s health delivery system? Can you imagine the preventative savings in a health system that reaches everyone? In a society where everyone is someone else’s mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin… It is the entire society, not merely a part of it, that must survive.

What are some actions viewers can take in support of this cause?

In my talk, I challenged the audience to begin thinking about healthcare from an Indigenous perspective. Now, I challenge them to start working from that perspective – begin exploring how to make healthcare delivery reach the furthermost places in our society; how to begin emphasizing the health of the community over the health of the individual; and how to distribute medicine and healthcare so that it resembles the whale distribution map, and not the cash distribution map. I challenge medical professionals to imagine a society of collective prosperity and health, and to begin a collective discussion on how to achieve that dream.

Where Do They Get Their Ideas? Hive Organizations Share Their Stories

The Hive at TEDMED is all about ideas, bringing creativity to science, and finding new ways to solve seemingly intractable challenges. With so many important stories to share, we can’t get them all into one blog – be on the look out for weekly posts for more inspiring stories over the next few weeks.

We Felt a Deep Obligation to Do Something

GirlTrek @GirlTrek

GirlTrekThe program: A health movement that aims to get 1 million Black women to commit to and practice a habit of daily walking and then train them to lead walking teams, audit walkability, and advocate for safety, fitness and healthier lifestyles in the highest-need neighborhoods in America.

“My co-founder and I graduated college, had successful careers and traveled the world … only to return to our communities, to family dinners where we couldn’t turn down smothered pork chops, were embarrassed to go for morning runs and watched family members suffocate under the weight of their health conditions.

We felt a deep obligation to do something. Starting a nonprofit organization is risky and difficult and exhausting. We had the skills and connections. I was the former director of a large education nonprofit and Vanessa managed digital products for CNN. We did it because there were no other national not-for-profit organizations addressing the root causes of disease and inactivity for Black women.

For years we talked about practical solutions to the health crisis. In 2011, we publicly set personal health goals and invited our friends and family to walk with us. 2000+ women joined us in the first national walking challenge. With widespread support, we took the leap and left our jobs!”

– Morgan Dixon, Co-Founder @MorganTreks

Looking to Nature

Gecko Biomedical Labs @geckbiomedical

The product: A self-healing wound closure system for minimally invasive surgeries.

Adhesive Glue Gecko Biomedical“In 2009 Dr. del Nido, chief of cardiac surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, contacted us to develop an approach to seal holes inside a beating heart.

To address the problem of internal wound closure, we envisioned a glue- coated patch that can be placed into the body part that requires repair, including the beating heart. The patch would be pushed up against the hole; once it was in place, the adhesive properties of the material would be activated, generating a flexible bond compliant with a wet, dynamic environment. Then, over time, the patient’s own cells could migrate over and into this material and create a tissue bridge as the material completely disappeared.

We had materials that were degradable, elastic, and biocompatible, but to solve this problem, we also needed to ensure that the glue would not dilute or react with blood or other body fluids, and also would resist washout prior to curing.

We couldn’t figure out a way around it so we turned to nature for inspiration. We looked at creatures on the land and in the sea that exist in wet, dynamic environments, and we found something pretty cool. There are sandcastle worms in the sea and slugs and snails on land that have viscous secretions that stay put like honey on a plate; even with rain or surf hitting it, the secretion stays in place.

And then if you look carefully at these viscous secretions, you find they contain hydrophobic components that can repel water. So, we thought, what if we develop an adhesive like that, that is entirely hydrophobic? You put it inside the body, onto the tissue surface to repel the blood away. And then, because it’s viscous, it remains in place, even in the presence of flowing blood. Following a highly iterative process, we created a material that addressed all of these criteria.”

– Maria Pereira, Ph.D., Head of Research at Gecko Biomedical

To Help My Child

TellSpec @TellSpec

The product: A simple and easy-to-use sensor that allows consumers to analyze, on a molecular level, the ingredients in foods to determine whether they can be safely eaten.

tellspecblog2“My daughter was sick for over eight months in bed with food-related allergies. We tried to avoid triggering her symptoms as best as possible by reading food labels, but sometimes it just wasn’t enough. This was even worse when it came to restaurants and hotels, where (frequently) the wait staff was uncertain of whether or not certain foods were clear of her allergens.

I developed this idea to try and help my daughter figure out what food was safe to eat. I was inspired not only by her struggle, but by the struggle of the many other patients who I met as they were waiting to be seen for food-allergy problems.”

– Isabel Hoffman, Founder, Tellspec @IsabelHoffman_

Music Without Borders: Q&A with Farah Siraj

Farah Siraj, Jordanian singer and songwriter, has performed at the United Nations, Nobel Prize Hall, and World Economic Forum and had a #1 hit song in India. She shares her unique style of worldly music, a delightful Eastern and Western fusion.

Farah Siraj at TEDMED 2014

Farah Siraj at TEDMED 2014

What motivated you to perform at TEDMED?

It was a true pleasure performing at TEDMED. Also, the fact that we got to take the stage at the John F. Kennedy Center was a dream come true! Above all, what I love about TEDMED is that it is a platform for innovative, out-of-box thinkers to come together and share their ideas and discoveries with one another. It was definitely an eye-opening experience! TEDMED talks make you think twice about things!

What were a few TEDMED 2014 talks or performances left an impression on you?

One of the highlights of TEDMED for me was Diana Nyad’s talk. I find her fascinating— Diana is the perfect example of someone who didn’t give up on her dream, and how something can look impossible until you make it possible. There were so many odds against her each time she set out to sea, and yet that didn’t stop her. Diana’s talk was inspiring, charismatic and uplifting. When we met, I just had to give her a huge hug and tell her what an inspiration she is to me!
Dominick Farinacci’s performance was very inspiring. Music has profound healing powers and Dominick’s music is an example of that. Also, it’s great when an artist walks you through the story of their music, it gives you an understanding of where they were in their life when they wrote it. Great performance and great artist! We got to join our bands and create music on stage at the evening celebration, an experience I will always cherish.
I really enjoyed Rosie King’s talk. She talked about how autism is never a one-size-fits-all thing. It is a reminder of how far we still have to go in the field of understanding autism and providing the best support for autistic children and their families. Rosie was also an example of the brilliant intellectual abilities that often come with autism and are often overlooked. In the Middle East, autism awareness is finally taking off and my music was used in the first video campaign in Arabic to raise awareness about autism in the Arab world. It’s a cause I support wholeheartedly.

What kind of meaningful or surprising connections did you make at TEDMED?

The fact that the majority of TEDMED attendees were in in the medical field led me to meet people so far out of my field. I loved it! I had lots of fun conversations with people and got to connect with some really inspiring people and make new friendships.

Farah Siraj at TEDMED 2014

Farah Siraj at TEDMED 2014

What is the legacy you want to leave?

I believe I was given the gift of music so that I could use it for the greater good: to help and heal others through music, and to inspire people to make a positive change in their lives and the lives of others. My hope is that fulfilling that mission will be my legacy, as well as to be remembered as someone who helped amplify the voices of others who needed to be heard.

Rethinking New Diseases: Q&A with Sonia Shah

Sonia Shah, an investigative science journalist and historian, challenges conventional understandings about the real causes of pandemics. We caught up with her to ask a few more questions.

Why does this talk matter now?

The way we understand the origins of new diseases shapes our response to them—responses that will become increasingly relevant in this age of emerging and re-emerging pathogens, from Ebola to cholera. This talk is based on my forthcoming book—“Pandemic: tracking contagion from cholera to Ebola and beyond.”

Sonia Shah at TEDMED 2014

Sonia Shah at TEDMED 2014

What kind of meaningful or surprising connections did you make at TEDMED?

I met the comedian Tig Notaro, whom I’ve admired for a long time. We shared a table at a book signing—I did not expect that! I’m a science journalist!

How can we learn more about your latest work?

My book comes out in February 2016, and it’s available for pre-order now. I’ve also collaborated with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to create an app called “Mapping Cholera,” which provides an interactive visualization and narrative about the 1832 cholera outbreak in New York City, which I spoke about in my talk, and the 2010 cholera outbreak in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. And you can find more updates at soniashah.com, too.

Meet Our TEDMED 2015 HIVE Companies

Get to Know The Hive at TEDMED 2015

From large-scale solutions addressing global food crises to micro bio-reactors targeting the source of epidemics; from radical devices monitoring disease from the outside to revolutionary adhesives healing wounds on the inside; and from creative solutions addressing complex public issues to labs cultivating game-changing advances – and more – we’re excited to introduce the 20inspiring entrepreneurs and their transformative startups carefully selected to be part of the TEDMED2015 “Hive” this November. Named after the potential of our collective “hive mind,” The Hive is dedicated to celebrating the power of imagination and human potential with the goal of sparking new ideas, possibilities and collaborations across the TEDMED community.

In previous years, “The Hive” existed as a showcase of innovation interwoven within TEDMED’s immersive and informal social spaces. This year, we’re shaking things up and trying a new approach. The Hive companies and their leaders will be fully integrated across community activities and the stage program to catalyze new relationships, new thinking and new collaborations.

We hope you’ll join The Hive organizations and the rest of us this November 18-20, either in person or via live stream, as we come together to focus on breaking through the status quo and celebrating the typical, the atypical and the spaces in between.

Without further ado…


Aspire Food Group, focuses on enabling global food and nutrition security using an abundant resource already embraced by many cultures – insects! CMO Shobhita Soor will represent this social enterprise company on a global mission to develop new ways to process and package edible insect-based food products.


Breakout Labs (BOL), helps bring radical scientific advances out of the lab and into the marketplace. Operating out of Peter Thiel’s nonprofit foundation, this revolving fund provides not only significant seed money, but also practical and tactical support to innovative entrepreneurs of all types –all the while preserving a special fondness for those working at the intersection of biology and technology. Hemai Parthasarathy, Scientific Director of Breakout Labs , will share more about this powerful approach to advancing innovation.


BroadReach Healthcare, strives to reduce health inequalities around the world by transforming big data into evidence-based insights that can improve global health. Founding Partner, John Sargent, will explain how this mission-driven company aims to help governments, donors and the private sector prioritize for maximum impact.


Cognoa, is committed to helping parents assess and support their child’s optimal development. Represented by its Scientific Founder, Dennis Wall will share how this consumer health company has developed a mobile app that uses machine learning to identify risk for autism and/or developmental delay. By answering simple questions and uploading short videos, families can generate a personalized report to share with doctors.


Daily Table, is cooking up a novel retail operation to offer great-tasting, nutritious food at affordable prices for food-insecure neighborhoods. Founder and President, Doug Rauch, will share how the store intends to compete with unhealthy fast-food by selling satisfying and affordable takeout meals made of wholesome and nutritious excess food that would otherwise be wasted by growers, manufacturers and retailers.


Emulate, is setting a new standard for understanding the human body with their “Organs-on-Chips” technology. President and Chief Scientific Officer, Geraldine Hamilton, will discuss how their living products help researchers better understand how diseases, medicines, chemicals, and foods affect human health – all without having to test living subjects – and how they’re working on ushering in a new era of personalized health.


Gecko Biomedical, develops a biodegradable adhesive made specifically for “wet” environments to improve outcomes and care for patients in minimally invasive surgery. Maria Pereira, Head of Research, will represent Gecko Biomedical in the Hive. With 20 years’ experience in medical device technology, the privately-owned, Paris-based company has a vision to create a paradigm shift in surgical procedure.


GirlTrek, quickly becoming a “go-to” organization in public health, has set a goal to inspire one million Black women and girls to commit to self-care by taking highly visible, organized walks in their neighborhoods. GirlTrek’s Co-Founder and Director, T. Morgan Dixon, will explain how it’s a modern take on historical collective action, meant to be a practical and literal step to build healthier, more fulfilling lives.


Gravie, helps people buy and manage their own health insurance, with support to avoid the minor and major annoyances and confusion in dealing with consumer healthcare. Abir Sen, CEO, will represent Gravie sharing how the company offers private market and public exchange options to provide a single resource for management of all things health-related.


Impossible Foods, is on a mission to stem the destructive practices used in animal farming and transform the global food system by creating plant-based, healthy, safe and “irresistibly delicious” meats and dairy foods. The “Impossible Burger” will be introduced in 2016!


The InSCyT Platform (Integrated and Scalable CytoTecyhnology), is set to dramatically change response to disease outbreak by creating onsite manufacturing systems to produce personalized biologic therapeutics in small doses – reducing production time from months to mere hours. Christopher Love, Project Lead for The InSCyt Platform, will share more about the potential in delivering truly personalized medicine by making biologic drugs in any location on a small scale, for treating orphan diseases, improving healthcare on the battlefield, and more.


The MakerNurse Initiative, develops tools and processes to help nurses design and create breakthrough health technology. Anna Young, Medical Maker, will explain how MakerNurse Spaces have “miniaturized” world-class medical device R&D facilities into tool kits that capture, identify and enable medical making at the point of care.


Medical Informatics Corp (MIC), is dedicated to improving clinical decision-making within critical care units. CTO Craig Rusin will discuss the FDA-cleared product, Sickbay, and its analogy to GPS for physicians. This system uses real-time clinical analytics to provide a decision-making map to help doctors navigate the complex risk landscape to achieve the best results for each patient.


MindMaze, a portfolio of medical grade virtual reality products designed to stimulate neural processes, is focused on enhancing the quality of life for brain injury survivors. A spinoff of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Tej Tadi – CEO and Founder – and the rest of the company have joined the ranks of Switzerland’s top 10 healthcare startups in just three years’ time.


Neural Interaction Laboratory at UCSD, takes a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling health issues by combining highly scalable data interpretation algorithms with recent development of flexible electronic systems for medical applications. Associate Professor Todd Coleman will share how seemingly disparate perspectives can be uncommonly combined to discover radically new solutions.


Noora Health, turns hospital hallways and waiting rooms into classrooms with interactive, skill-based learning modules to turn family members into active agents of patient care and recovery. Noora Health’s CEO and Co-Founder, Edith Elliott, will share how the company has trained over 16,000 families in India to provide high-quality care, reducing hospital readmission rates by 23% and reducing post-op complications by 36%.


Open Agriculture Lab at the MIT Media Lab, is on a mission to create healthier, more engaging and more inventive food systems. Caleb Harper, Principal Scientist, will discuss how they’re using an open-source ecosystem of food technologies to enable healthier and more sustainable food systems to feed a rapidly growing global population.


Open Style Lab, is a unique fashion resource that stays constantly conscious of people with disabilities. Represented by Executive Director Grace Teo, Open Style designs, manufactures and distributes functional and stylish clothing using a user-centered design and rapid prototyping process.


Recon Therapeutics, aims to improve patient care, safety and compliance with personalized biologic therapies. To do so, they’ve created a patent-pending, simple solution for delivery of self-injected medications that can be customized to each person’s needs and lifestyle. Co-Founder Christopher Lee will explain how the kit works with off-the-shelf injection devices to simplify drug reconstitution (mixing) between a lyophilized (freeze-dried) drug and injection solvent at the point of care.


TellSpec, the world’s first consumer food sensor, is a mobile app that identifies calories, macronutrients, ingredients and allergens in foods. Representing TellSpec, Founder, Isabel Hoffmann will share the company’s goal to equip consumers to make smarter choices about their foods by providing on-demand information about what – beyond the nutrition label – is really in the food they are about to eat.


Public Health Heroes Who Roll Up Their Sleeves and Get the Job Done

New York City Public Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, third from left, wears a “condom crown” in celebration of World Aids Day, December 1, 2014.  The NYC Department of Health hosted the Red Ball at the OUT Hotel and unveiled a new report showing that HIV diagnoses are at an all-time low.

New York City Public Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, third from left, wears a “condom crown” in celebration of World Aids Day, December 1, 2014. The NYC Department of Health hosted the Red Ball at the OUT Hotel and unveiled a new report showing that HIV diagnoses are at an all-time low.

Gun violence. Racial profiling. Ebola. These three topics, scary and unsettling at both the personal and public health level, have dominated newsfeeds this past year. Though very different, each presents daunting challenges that go wide and deep. Our lineup of TEDMED 2015 speakers includes three individuals willing to face them directly and put themselves on the frontlines of meaningful change.

After a decade in prison, Sam Vaughn now serves as a mentor committed to using gentleness and love to help violence-prone young men visualize a better life and then develop the skills that will allow them to live it. It’s working: more than 80% of the youth in his program in Richmond, Calif., have stayed away from gun violence and the city’s homicide rate has plummeted (so much so that Richmond is no longer ranked among America’s 10 most dangerous cities!). Sam’s motivation is to abolish separatism, he says: “Dr. King said an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. We have lost sight of this in America and most people ignore what’s going on around them until it affects them personally. I was taught that silence is a form of consent.”

As New York City Public Health Commissioner, Mary Bassett became a major supporter of the “BlackLivesMatter” movement. She called for the medical community to become more deeply engaged, using her position to tackle institutional racism. She has also pushed for higher cigarette taxes and supported New York City’s ban of artificial trans fats in restaurants. Focused on exploding technocratic approaches to public health to reveal its roots in social justice, Mary says the idea that public health is a reflection of individual behaviors is outdated. “Systems reinforcing discrimination and oppression harm health,” she says. “I am breaking through silence by explicitly naming racism as a key injustice and determinant of poor health.” Mary has been an activist her entire adult life: She volunteered at a Black Panther Clinic while a student at Radcliffe and also spent 17 years on the medical faculty at the University of Zimbabwe, where she developed one of that country’s first HIV awareness programs.

Also an early warrior against HIV, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Tony Fauci directs a large HIV/AIDS laboratory, oversees a $4.4 billion research portfolio and has personally cared for AIDS patients. A key advisor to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues, and on preparedness against emerging infectious disease threats, earlier this year Tony reserved two hours of his workday to personally care for a U.S. health care worker who became infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone. “I believe that one gets unique insights into disease when you actually physically interact with patients,” he says. He also wanted to show his staff that he wouldn’t ask them to do anything he wouldn’t do himself and, he says, “it is very exciting and gratifying to participate in saving someone’s life.”

Speaking up for the voiceless: Q&A with Rupal Patel

Speaking at TEDMED 2014, Rupal Patel, founder of VocalID, described her work developing a technology that creates personalized, enhanced voices for the speech impaired.  We got in touch with her to learn more about what drives her work.

What advice would you give to other aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs?

Follow your passion and choose impact above all. Everything else will follow.

What was your main source of inspiration?

Several years ago, I was at an assistive communications conference in Denmark. I had just finished giving a talk on how we each have our own unique vocal identities. As I walked into the exhibit hall, I saw a young girl and a grown man having a conversation using their devices. Different devices with the same voice. Then I noticed the same voice coming from all around me. We would never dream of fitting a little girl with the prosthetic limb of a grown man, so why give them the same prosthetic voice? That was the pivotal observation that, a few years later, resulted in a research grant aimed at creating the underlying technology behind VocaliD.

Every day, we receive stories and emails from individuals wanting their own unique vocal identities. It is within these stories and shared experiences that we draw inspiration. Every day they push us to innovate, creating personalized voices that are better than the last.  Simply put, they inspire us.

“For all the worry about how technology is depersonalizing us, here’s a way that technology can make us all a little more human. Where you can connect to yourself, and to a stranger.” - Rupal speaking at TEDMED 2014.

“For all the worry about how technology is depersonalizing us, here’s a way that technology can make us all a little more human. Where you can connect to yourself, and to a stranger.” – Rupal speaking at TEDMED 2014.

Why does your talk matter now? What do you hope people learn from your talk?

I want voice donors to know that they don’t have to lose to gain. I want to educate the public about text-to-speech (TTS), augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and raise awareness of various voice disorders and their causes. I want to break stereotypes and create unique vocal identities, where end users feel empowered by their voice and not afraid to use it.

What is the legacy you want your work and/or your talk to leave?

I aspire to create a technology that enables people to be heard through their own voice. When technology and humans are seamlessly integrated, there is the opportunity for a multiplier effect in terms of impact. Every voice deserves to be heard, even those who use devices to communicate. These unique vocal personas are powered not just by technology, but by everyday speech donors of all ages and backgrounds who empathize with recipients who need a voice. That’s a powerful mix of community, technology and empowerment.

Do you have a call to action for your viewers?

Sign up to be a Voice Donor and begin recording your speech at VocalID’s Voicebank! You can also check out, donate and spread the word about our Indiegogo campaign. Through this crowdfunding campaign, you can help us in our mission to ensure that everyone has a unique voice.

Music as Medicine: Q&A with Gypsy Sound Revolution

Gypsy Sound Revolution, led by drummer Cédric Leonardi and fellow Gipsy Kings alumni, mixes rumba with Indian raga. They play a unique fusion of Indo-Gypsy music that is both meditative and joyful. We followed up with them to learn more about their project.

"Music is borderless. It is the ultimate expression of love." Gypsy Sound Revolution at TEDMED 2014.

“Music is borderless. It is the ultimate expression of love.” Gypsy Sound Revolution at TEDMED 2014.

 What motivated you to perform at TEDMED?

As a performer, you want to reach as many people as possible with your art form. Music is increasingly accessible digitally and also thrives using many methods of delivery.
Somewhere along the way, it became a business. A big business. Performing at TEDMED was our way of delivering a message and access to the healing power of music. Music came out of the caves of India as medicine. Invoking the divine, but with a modern vernacular, we have seen lives transformed through the joy of our music. TEDMED was a potent forum to express this and continue the medicinal conversation globally, reaching as many people as possible.

What is the legacy you want to leave?

We hope our legacy shows the way for our children to live authentic lives, fully expressed and joyful using the path we have forged with our music. To touch the hearts of people and share the joy of living together on this planet. Music is borderless. It is the ultimate expression of love.

We cherish the poem, “What will matter,” by Michael Josephson, as a reminder of the fragility of life and the speed with which it passes:

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance, but of choice. Choose to live a life that matters.

What’s next for you?

Taking our music and message around the world in 2015. We are also finally going into the studio. We are very much a live band– we believe live interaction with people is the true purpose of music. However as TEDMED live-streaming proves, there are many more people that live streaming can reach in all kinds of obscure pockets of the world. The internet has brought us all closer so its time we stopped resisting and we have started to the process with the conundrum: how do you bottle magic? We will have at least three tracks recorded soon.

Any action items for viewers interested to get involved in the kind of work you do? How do they join the revolution?

We are starting a philanthropic initiative to support the communities of our Rajasthani musicians with a US based Indian company, HP Investments. The project will include music camps for children to keep the music traditions of this original gypsy tribe alive, as well as taking care of the necessities like water and power in their villages. Its a humbling and glorious experience working with musicians who go home to their villages without water and power after they have travelled the world with us. We are one– we have a responsibility to help each other beyond.