What’s Missing From Engineering and How to Solve It

Sangeeta Bhatia

Sangeeta Bhatia

In her TEDMED talk, Harvard-MIT physician, bioengineer and entrepreneur Sangeeta Bhatia showed how miniaturization, through the convergence of engineering and medicine, is transforming health– specifically, through the promise of nanotechnology for early detection of cancer. She’s also been a huge advocate for the participation of women and girls in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. We asked her to share more about her dedication to empowering girls to develop their skills in the STEM fields.

engineering

What we desperately need: the best minds, and their talent.

 

TEDMED:

In addition to your work in bioengineering, medical research and being a professor, you’ve been a huge advocate for the participation of women and girls in STEM-related fields. How are these two strands of your work related?

SANGEETA:

They are absolutely related! We need the best and brightest minds to realize these kinds of technological visions. The engineering pipeline is only 20-25% female; only 3% of tech startups are led by women. If I look around at the workforce in engineering at the moment in our country, it’s only 11 to 12 percent women. And the data shows that we lose women from this discipline all the way along what we call the ‘leaky pipeline’ that starts at age 11 and progresses all the way through to the workforce and to the board room– presently 40 percent of women who earn engineering degrees quit the profession or never enter the field at all.

Some years ago, some colleagues and I at MIT started this organization, Keys to Empowering Youth, to target girls between 11 and 13 years old, the critical earliest age range at which girls drop out of engineering. We bring them into labs at MIT and other universities where they have hands-on experiences with experiments. Over the course of the day, these girls see how fun, exciting and accessible it can be. They meet women who are college students in the Society of Women Engineers and are a little further up the pipeline than them as mentors. And the girls ask their mentors questions like, What is mechanical engineering? Electrical Engineering? Computer Engineering? What is the job that you hope to do? Is it fun? And we have seen that they can definitely be inspired.

Here are my two daughters, wdaughter 1ho turned 9 and 12 this year, having fun in my lab! We need girls to be inspired, we need them to have mentors, and we need them to have role models. I hope that my talk on the TEDMED stage can inspire more girls all over the world to choose to develop their skills in engineering and deploy them to revolutionize human health. We would all benefit.

TEDMED:

Your lab is known for choosing and training people to work in an interdisciplinary way. How do you go about accomplishing this?

SANGEETA:

We consider ourselves a bioengineering lab focused on impacting human health so we tend to attract people across a spectrum of science, technology and medical expertise. We select people that are ‘best athletes’ in the sense that they’ve excelled in whatever they were doing, they complement our mission, are invested in our approach and play well with others. Once they arrive we tell everyone that they can spend 20% of their time ‘tinkering.’ Over the years, the students have started calling these ‘submarine’ projects. They surface them to me if and when they turn into something exciting. And if they never do, that’s okay too. The point is that science can be full of failure and we need ways to play and stay creative, motivated and engaged. It just so happens that some of our most exciting advances have come out of such submarine projects.

TEDMED:

You’ve spoken about the power of mentors in your own training. Can you talk about a mentor who has had outsize influence on your work and life and how they became such an effective mentor for you?

SANGEETA:

I’ve been fortunate to have a series of very powerful mentors in my training, all of whom saw more for me, at critical moments, than I saw for myself. The most influential mentor is my father who first encouraged me to become an engineer by bringing me to a friend’s lab at MIT to learn about the intersection of engineering and medicine. Later, he would also encourage me to become an entrepreneur. Last year, he was my guest of honor when I was inducted to the National Academy of Engineering and we got to celebrate the journey together. I believe that family aspirations for their children, and especially for young girls, are critically important to keeping the technology pipeline at its fullest.

In graduate school, my academic father, Mehmet Toner, encouraged me to become a researcher and a professor when it wasn’t anywhere on my radar. It’s so important to have people to take the time to say to someone you believe in, “You would be good at that.” As a mentor now myself, I try and remember to do this and I encourage others to do the same. Ultimately, it may be the biggest impact we make.

Update: TEDMED 2016 Sessions Announced!

What If? Logo

A simple question can unleash the imagination. At TEDMED, we believe that’s what it takes to spark widespread change. That’s why the TEDMED 2016 event theme is “What If?”. But, TEDMED 2016 isn’t simply about raising new questions–it’s about the important, creative conversations that follow.

If you look closely at this year’s event logo, you’ll notice that the question mark is comprised of a medley of punctuation marks that, considered together, represent rich dialogue full of questions, discovery, and possibilities. In the spirit of asking “What If?”, each of the seven sessions that drive the TEDMED 2016 stage program is grounded in a single, stimulating question. These questions will inspire our multidisciplinary community to engage in conversation and embrace the power of curiosity and collaboration.

We are delighted to share the sessions below:

 

Session1

What if social and environmental  factors are inextricably entwined, not just with the culture of health, but also with its outcomes? Where we are born, grow, live, work, and age– these circumstances can shape not only individual health, but the health of a community. But, that’s not where social determinants of health stop–there’s a whole social side to health we’re still discovering. Learn more…

 


 

Session2What if the outer edges of human experience could provide solutions to everyday challenges? Often, our mental constructs and perceived limitations hinder our search for inspiration. What if we made a point of venturing into the most unusual and unexpected places for answers? Learn more…

 


 

Session3

What if visionaries ruled the world? In a rapid-fire series of creative, short-form talks, dozens of inspiring health entrepreneurs will share how their ideas and innovations will change everything. We’ll be sharing more details about this session next week – stay tuned!

 


 

Session4

What if we could expose and confront invisible threats to health? It’s getting easier for us to monitor and keep track of our health data–but what about the influences on our health that we can’t (or won’t) see and measure? Learn more…

 


 

Session5What if we possess the knowledge to be the architects of our aging and (eventual) deaths? We’ve made significant strides in understanding exactly what happens to our bodies as we age. Might we master our bodies and soulful understanding of self to the point that we will determine the way we die? Learn more…

 


 

Session6

What if we re-examine the way we frame health challenges? Might this approach yield effective solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems? As Marcel Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Learn more…

 


 

Session7

What if we found beauty while confronting difficult truths? As the adage goes, every cloud has a silver lining. Beauty in suffering may not be apparent at first, but what can happen when we stumble upon it and then share it with others? Learn more…

 


Once again, we are deeply grateful to this year’s Editorial Advisory Board and Research Scholars for dedicating their time, expertise, and wisdom to helping us designing this year’s stage program.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be unveiling the incredible speakers, innovators, artists and performers who make up this year’s stage program. We’ll also be sharing more details about the event. To keep up with our announcements, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter and subscribe to the TEDMED blog.

We hope you’ll join us this November 30-December 2 in Palm Springs, CA. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to register and secure your spot at TEDMED! If you have any questions, please email admissions@tedmed.com.

Announcing TEDMED 2016: What if?

Tough-minded skeptics and visionary dreamers agree on one thing: if we are going to change our world for the better, we must first imagine new possibilities.

As children, we’re encouraged to ask questions and dream big. But, as we become adults, our imagination is tamed by perceived practicality and social conformity. What if we let ourselves ask creative questions again? Where might our search for answers lead?

 

Albert Einstein quote

 

We believe that human creativity and imagination are at the heart of scientific inquiry and medical discovery, and that progress begins with a single idea. That belief is what inspired this year’s theme:

 

What If? Logo

 

TEDMED 2016 is about asking questions, the importance of conversation and dreaming big. It’s about imagining the possibilities that motivate progress in health and medicine, which can be summed up in two simple but powerful words: “What If?”

We’ll explore questions like:
– What if we created beauty in response to life’s most difficult challenges?
– What if we expose and tackle invisible threats to health?
– What if we were the architects of aging?
– What if we treated pandemics as though we lived in a borderless world?
– What if health is determined not by how, but where, we live?

At TEDMED 2016, we will experience the unmatched power of asking “what if” in health and medicine. Our program will explore a range of topics including unique approaches to understanding increasing longevity, novel visualization techniques for medical education and clinical care, therapeutic uses of 3D printing, innovations in treating mental health, and creative ways to embrace our humanity. Click here to see the priority topics considered for the TEDMED 2016 program.

We’ll begin announcing this year’s lineup of speakers, performers and innovators in the coming weeks. We look forward to sharing more details with you, the TEDMED community.

Join us this November 30–December 2 in Palm Springs, CA, as we explore provocative and inspiring questions and discussions that drive us toward a healthier world. If you have any questions about attending, please email admissions@tedmed.com.

Recognizing the TEDMED 2016 Research Scholars

Image courtesy of ShutterstockEach year, TEDMED relies on a carefully selected group of passionate, objective experts spanning the biomedical spectrum from across the globe, including faculty, post docs, graduate students, medical students, public health professionals, entrepreneurs, innovators and science journalists. These experts help assess the credibility of the science upon which TEDMED’s editorial priorities are based.

We deeply appreciate the time and energy our 2016 Research Scholars devote to enriching the quality of our curation process. We asked them to share more about their attraction to the program and their experience so far — here is what a few of them had to say:

“I’ve loved seeing the diversity of nominations, and the challenge of whittling down the array of fascinating people to those who will make a great TEDMED program,” says Layla McCay. “Having had the experience of being in the TEDMED audience myself, I know I want to encounter ideas I can trust, be thrilled by game changers, find synergies across disciplines, and start thinking differently about how things are done – and could be done. I’ve found the experience of reviewing nominations to be rather like a being a judge at The Moth storytelling show: how engaging are the nominees’ stories? Inspiring? True? How compellingly can nominees present their ideas to a discerning TEDMED audience? But it’s made even more interesting because I also have to ask: what’s the evidence behind nominees’ ideas, why are they the right people to speak on the topic, and how might these ideas have an genuine, meaningful impact on people’s health?”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.“TEDMED makes a communication impact without oversimplifying research in science and health. This is my goal too. I wanted to learn with those who reach and inspire people across cultures from all walks of life,” observes Amy Price. “Reviewing nominations has opened my eyes to the value and power of hard work clothed in elegant simplicity.”

Maya Das wanted to be a Research Scholar in order to “contribute to a forum that brings together people who are seeking innovative solutions to tackle the complexities of health and medicine.” Her experience reviewing nominations has allowed her “to devote time to exploring current issues in health and medicine, to consider broader public policy questions related to clinical research, and to systematically examine what makes someone a credible and engaging ‘expert.’”

With great pride, we recognize the dedication of the 2016 class of TEDMED Research Scholars:

Ron Alfa, MA – Neuroscience, Medicine

Bhagwan Aggarwal, PhD, MBA – Healthcare Industry

Aimee Arnoldussen, PhD – Neuroscience, Medical Devices

Benjamin Bearnot, MD – Medicine

Christos Bergeles, PhD – Medical Imaging & Robotics

Alexander Blum, MS – Telecommunications, International Development

Edward Cliff, BMedSci (Hons) – Medicine

Maya Das, MD, JD – Clinical Research, Health Informatics

Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH – Medicine, Public Health

Jonathan Fritz, JD, MS – Healthcare IT

Mary Joy Garcia-Dia, DNP, MA, RN – Nursing, Healthcare IT

Holly Goodwin, MBA – Applied Physiology & Bioinformatics

Emilie Grasset, PhD – Immunology

Amy Ho, MD – Medicine

Andrew M. Ibrahim MD, MSc – Medicine, Health Policy, Design

Sherese Johnson, MPH, PMP – Public Health

Neeti Kanodra, MBBS – Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine

Syed Khalid, BS – Medicine, Medical Devices, Neuroscience

Tamar Lasky, PhD – Epidemiology

Layla McCay, MBChB, MS – Health Policy, Psychiatry

Vanessa Mason, MPH – Digital Health

Maria Noviani, MD – Medicine, Cellular Therapy, Immunology

Madhukar Patel, MD, MBA, ScM – Surgery, Bioengineering

Bryon Petersen, PhD – Stem Cell Biology, Bioengineering

Miguel Pineda, MD – Medicine (Urology)

Amy Price, PhD – Neuroscience

Priya Raja, BA – Medicine, Public Policy

Sudah Yehuda Kovesh Shaheb, MD – Endocrinology, Medical Anthropology

Arpi Siyahian, PhD – Biotechnology

Jing Wang, PhD, MSN, MPH, RN – Nursing

Sebastian Wernicke, PhD – Bioinformatics

Teresa Wilson, MA – Healthcare IT

Flaura Winston, MD, PhD – Pediatrics, Behavioral Science, Injury Prevention

Wendy Youngblood, MA – Education, Humanities

Marta Gaia Zanchi, PhD – Digital Health, Biodesign Innovation

Crazy about CRISPR

This guest blog post is by Sam Sternberg, a TEDMED 2015 speaker. You can watch Sam’s TEDMED talk, “What if we could rewrite the human genome?”, here. 

This thing called CRISPR seems to be all over the news these days, whether as a miracle treatment to cure genetic disease, an eradication strategy to rid the Earth of mosquitoes (together with Zika virus and the malaria parasite), a weapon of mass destruction alongside North Korean nukes and Syrian chemical weapons, or the reproductive technology that will usher in an era of so-called designer babies. CRISPR was even featured in the recent comeback season of the X-files, in conjunction with aliens and a global pandemic. What could possibly unite all these divergent topics?

The common thread is DNA, and more specifically, an amazing new tool that makes editing DNA virtually as easy as the “find and replace” function in word processing software (check out this neat video for an animated explanation). Of course, scientists have had the ability to modify DNA in the laboratory for decades – even to synthesize entire microbial chromosomes from scratch. But using the CRISPR technology, it’s now possible to rewrite DNA inside living cells with the same kind of control and accuracy, and to tweak billion-letter genomes in almost every way imaginable: deleting genes, adding genes, inverting genes, repairing genes, even turning genes on or off. After three short years of research and development, scientists have been hard-pressed to find things that CRISPR can’t do.

shutterstock_353873630So what is CRISPR, anyway? Although the acronym alone won’t tell you much – CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats – the story behind these repeats, and how they came to revolutionize biology, is pretty cool. The short version: after first being detected in E. coli in 1987, CRISPR remained a complete mystery for nearly two decades, until scientists studying yogurt-producing bacteria realized it was a type of antiviral immune system. Subsequent research in flesh-eating bacteria not only revealed how CRISPR naturally worked, but also how it could be redesigned and repurposed for DNA editing in other organisms. (You can read more about some of the breakthrough discoveries here and here.)

After the first reports surfaced in 2013 demonstrating successful editing of the human genome, the CRISPR technology was rapidly applied to a huge number of plants and animals, everything from common model organisms like rice and mice to more exotic species like broccoli and butterflies. Meanwhile, labs all around the world began using CRISPR because of its low cost and easy implementation. Today, even ordinary online shoppers can order do-it-yourself CRISPR kits to edit DNA in the comforts of their own home.

Having spent my PhD years studying CRISPR in Jennifer Doudna’s laboratory, starting well before the technology exploded, I’ve been mesmerized by the myriad ways in which DNA editing is transforming biological research. After all, DNA contains the blueprints for all living things, and we now have total mastery over these blueprints, to alter them in virtually any way that suits our needs or fancies. Yet with this newfound power also comes a responsibility to use it safely, and ethically.

Should CRISPR be used to alter the human genome for generations to come, by editing DNA in fertilized embryos? To create genetically engineered designer pets, such as miniaturized pigs or extra-muscular dogs? Or to spread new traits like malaria resistance or female infertility into wild insect populations? By removing many of the technical barriers that previously limited attempts at DNA manipulation, CRISPR has changed the question facing society from “If we could do it, would we want to?” to, “Now that we can do it, should we?”

Scientists and a wide range of stakeholders have already begun tackling some of the issues raised by CRISPR, and governmental officials are quickly following suit. In the U.S., within the next year or so, we can expect the announcement of an updated system for the regulation of genetically modified products, and a comprehensive study outlining recommendations for the responsible use of gene editing in humans.

There are reasons to proceed cautiously and prudently. But I hope that – even with all the concern surrounding CRISPR – we don’t lose sight of the incredible possibilities. In a medical first, DNA editing saved the life of a one-year-old girl suffering from leukemia last fall, and that may be just the beginning. Whether as a tool to expose the vulnerabilities of cancer, a therapy for patients afflicted with HIV/AIDS, or a cure for muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anemia, CRISPR offers real promise to solve some of the world’s most challenging diseases. Let’s see what a few more years of research can achieve.

Meet Dr. Pamela Wible, physicians’ guardian angel

In this interview, TEDMED’s Dr. Nassim Assefi and founder of the Ideal Medical Care movement Dr. Pamela Wible discuss physician suicide, sexism in medical school, and how to escape “assembly-line medicine.” You can watch Pamela’s TEDMED 2015 talk, “Why doctors kill themselves,” here.

Pamela Wible

Nassim: You’re one of the few physicians I know who’s been outspoken about physician suicide, open about her own history of depression while in medical practice, and proactive in addressing medical student and physician mental health. How did you become such an activist?

Pamela: I’m an activist and community organizer at heart. I was born into a family of physicians, activists, and entertainers. My grandfather started the motion picture workers union in Philadelphia. I’m related to Curly, Moe, and Shemp of the Three Stooges. It’s in my blood to be joyful, comedic, and lighthearted, but also to speak up for the oppressed and victimized. I’m a born healer and problem solver—whether it’s a patient with an ingrown toenail, a doctor with PTSD, or a suicidal health system. I’m curious, relentless, and very vocal about injustice. Yet without action, words fall flat. Action is what excites me most.

Nassim: You’re a somewhat controversial figure in such a conservative profession. You wear glitter, throw Pap parties, and even deliver balloons and homemade soup to your patients during house calls. Is this quirkiness and whimsy an intentional strategy to spread joy and love in your medical practice or just an extension of who you are? Have you ever received pushback from a mistrusting patient or colleague?

Pamela: My personality and my glitter are not strategic. I’m just being me. I find that when I am free to be myself, my patients feel free to be themselves. Authenticity is therapeutic for us all. Authenticity is also sorely lacking in health care, much to the detriment of physicians and patients. Medicine has too many starched white coats and not enough color, soul, and feeling. My patients are relieved and even thrilled to meet a “real” doctor who is a “real person.” Once (in response to an article I wrote for a medical journal) I did receive a letter from a male clinic manager who claimed my appearance was unprofessional. I recited his letter and responded to his concerns in my TEDx talk, “How to get naked with your doctor.”

A surprise birthday party physical at Pamela's clinic.

A surprise birthday party physical at Pamela’s clinic.

Nassim: You’re a pioneer of the Ideal Medical Care movement, have written a book about it, and offer courses and retreats to help doctors escape “assembly-line medicine.” Can you give me the nitty-gritty on ideal medical clinics?   

Pamela: I’m simply practicing medicine the way my dad used to practice as a neighborhood doctor back in the 1950s (though I’m pretty sure he didn’t throw Pap parties for his ladies). Like my dad, I have no staff and I’ve never turned anyone away for lack of money. My dad and I genuinely love people, and I’m sure patients can feel the love.

I see 6 to 8 patients per half day for 30-60 minute visits. I document on an electronic medical record that I created myself on my Apple laptop. I accept insurance and submit claims in 1-2 minutes after each visit through a free online clearinghouse. I roll out the red carpet for every patient, whether millionaire or homeless. It’s VIP without the fee. By cutting out the middlemen, I decreased my overhead from 74% at my favorite assembly-line job to nearly 10%, leaving me with 90% of the revenue I generate. Physicians who practice this way can exceed their previous full-time salaries working a fraction of the hours. However, most doctors enjoy their newfound freedom and autonomy more than money. No amount of money can compensate for a miserable life and most doctors today seem pretty miserable.

Meanwhile, I’m happy. My patients are happy. I feel like I’m on vacation 24/7. I rarely get after-hours calls. Plus, I’ve never sent anyone to collections in 11+ years. This feels like the only viable way to practice medicine.

Best of all, our clinic was designed by my patients. I held town hall meetings and invited my entire community to design their ideal medical clinic. I collected 100 pages of written testimony, adopted 90% of citizen feedback, and we opened one month later with no outside funding.

What Pamela calls the "reverse white coat ceremony" physicians' retreat.

What Pamela calls the “reverse white coat ceremony” physicians’ retreat.

Nassim: Your mother, Dr. Judith Wible, is a psychiatrist and has a scholarship for visionary female medical students in her name. Did she play a role in your activism? 

Pamela: Yes. My mom is an activist and leader in the women’s rights movement. During my childhood she took me in my stroller to women’s liberation marches, bra burnings, and all of that. She and I went to the same medical school too, and what she went through was much worse than what I had to deal with due to out-of-control sexism and harassment.

Nassim: You’ve had some major success lately. A new book, Physician Suicide Letters Answered, that was #1 on Amazon for Medicine for a month after release, a new house bill in Missouri that addresses depression and suicide in medical schools, and you’re being featured in an upcoming documentary, Do No Harm, by an award-winning filmmaker, Robyn Symon. Are you optimistic that all this attention will translate into more compassionate medical education and practice for the students and doctors?

Pamela: I’m a perpetual optimist. All these successes couldn’t have happened without public and professional support and a willingness to finally address medical student and physician suicide. It is a defining moment for us all.

Nassim: So, what’ s next for you?

Pamela: I’ve been sent on some Michael Moore-style missions through hospitals with secret film crews for the documentary. That’s really fun! I’d love to dig deeper into investigative journalism.

Promoting Health Equity by Choice

This guest blog post was written by Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Bassett spoke at TEDMED 2015.

mary-bassettNew York City is one of the most diverse but racially segregated cities in the United States. Neighborhood segregation and structural racism, including poor housing conditions and limited educational opportunities, have led to unacceptable health disparities in our city. In turn, these health disparities have led to many lives – mainly the lives of poor New Yorkers and people of color – being cut short.

On average, New York City residents are expected to live longer than the average person in the United States. However, within the five boroughs, health outcomes can vary substantially from one subway stop to another. Average life expectancy rates can obscure those worrying variations between neighborhoods. In places like the South Bronx and Brownsville, Brooklyn, where I first lived when I was a little girl, people can expect to live lives about 8-10 years shorter than a person living in Manhattan’s Upper East Side or Murray Hill.

The usual explanation for these unhappy odds is that people in these neighborhoods are making a whole series of bad lifestyle choices. They eat too much, don’t exercise, smoke, drink, and so on. I’d like to challenge everyone to think differently.

Instead of thinking that people in Brownsville live shorter lives because they are choosing to eat unhealthy foods and choosing not to exercise enough, let’s think of how a lack of choice can impact a person’s health. For example, people don’t choose to live in a neighborhood where it’s unsafe to walk or exercise outside at night. People don’t choose to rent an apartment in a community that does not have a grocery store nearby. No one chooses to take a job that pays a wage impossible to live on, let alone live healthy on. The problem is not lifestyle choices that are bad for one’s health, but having too few choices that negatively affect a person’s health.

When we think about health, we have to think about restoring choices. For people to live healthier, they need good housing, a more livable wage, a good education, and safe spaces to exercise. All of these help build a neighborhood where people look out for each other. To achieve health equity, we have to confront all of the factors that affect a person’s ability to live a healthy life. That’s why as health commissioner, I will use every opportunity to speak out against injustice and rally support for health equity.

Our new initiative, Take Care New York 2020, seeks to do just that. It is the City’s blueprint for giving everyone the chance to live a healthier life. Its goal is twofold — to improve every community’s health, and to make greater strides in groups with the worst health outcomes, so that our city becomes a more equitable place for everyone. TCNY 2020 looks at traditional health factors as well as social factors, like how many people in a community graduated from high school or go to jail.

Additionally, the City’s investment in Pre-K for All will go a long way toward addressing the inequalities we’ve seen emerge so early in life, which reverberate across the lifespan. Investing in early childhood development is an anti-poverty measure, an anti-crime measure, and it is good for both mental and physical health. For example, the number of words a child knows at age 3 predicts how well he will do on reading tests in third grade, predicts his likelihood of graduating from high school, and so on. Early investment is key to undoing decades of injustice.

I believe that achieving health equity is a shared responsibility, and we can only accomplish real change by working together. This is a big challenge, but I am hopeful. New Yorkers are fortunate to have a Mayor and an administration that is committed to addressing longstanding inequality. Every city needs such committed leadership if we are to see a day where someone’s ZIP code does not determine their health. I hope you will join us on this pursuit of equity.

Announcing the TEDMED 2016 Editorial Advisory Board

Artificial intelligence. Climate change. Cybersecurity. Addiction. Pandemics. Global drug development. These are some of the cutting-edge topics intersecting with health and medicine that we’ve been exploring as we design the program for TEDMED 2016. With every event, we strive to inspire new thinking, broaden perspectives, and accelerate progress. Central to this mission is our collaboration with the TEDMED 2016 Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) – a group of leading experts in their fields who each embody a wealth of experience and knowledge. Our board members represent worlds spanning health and medicine, foundations and academia, business and technology, philanthropy and design, and journalism and communications. Their diversity ensures that we approach the curation process from a truly multi-disciplinary perspective.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

As we design the TEDMED 2016 program, our EAB members are involved from start to finish. They generously offer their time and insights in crafting the event theme and identifying important and timely innovations and nominations for the stage and Hive.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to go too far to find this year’s board members. Drawing upon our wonderful TEDMED community, we gathered 18 remarkable thought leaders – many of whom are former Delegates, speakers, and co-hosts. A number also served on the 2015 EAB, allowing us to tap into their experience while also taking advantage of fresh perspectives from new members. We are both delighted and honored to be announcing them here:

Abraham Verghese, MD, Physician and Author, Professor at Stanford University

Atul Butte, MD, PhD, Director of the Institute of Computational Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco

Bijan Salehizadeh, MD, MBA, Managing Director, NaviMed Capital

Carla Pugh, MD, PhD, Surgeon and Director of the Health Clinical Simulation Program at the University of Wisconsin

Charles “Chuck” Pell, Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder at Physcient

Christopher Elias, MD, MPH, President of the Gates Foundation Global Development Program

Daria Mochly-Rosen, PhD, Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology at Stanford University and Founder and Director of Stanford Universitys SPARK program

Hemai Parthsarathy, PhD, Scientific Director of Breakout Labs and the Thiel Foundation

Jeff Karp, PhD, Associate Professor, Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School

John Qualter, Co-founder of BioDigital Systems

Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH, Professor of Health Policy in the School of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco

Michael Painter, MD, JD, Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Michael Penn, MD, PhD, Vice President of Diversity, Outreach, and Mentoring at the Gladstone Institutes

Mohit Kaushal, MD, MBA, Partner at Aberdare Ventures

Stacey Chang, Executive Director of the Design Institute for Health, University of Texas at Austin

Pam Belluck, Health and Science Writer, The New York Times

Roberta Ness, MD, MPH, Vice President of Innovation at University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Sandeep “Sunny” Kishore, MD, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow of the Human Nature Lab at Yale University

TEDMED 2016: Calling all artists

2016-02-11

Artwork by previous TEDMED artists.

At TEDMED, design is a core component of our brand. Every aspect of our event – both on-stage and off – is carefully crafted and designed to capture the imagination. To us, art is a powerful storyteller; we use it as a vehicle to share compelling stories from the fields of public health, medicine, science, and technology. Our stage program has featured a wide array of artists, such as anatomical illustrator Vanessa Ruiz, creative arts therapist Melissa Walker, fine art photographer Kitra Cahana, and bacteria artist Zachary Copfer. Committed to diversity and multidisciplinary thinking, we also integrate art into our social experiences at TEDMED. At our 2015 event, we featured “The Art of Saving a Life”, an incredible virtual and live artistic exhibit about the importance of immunizations, commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It doesn’t stop there. Each year, TEDMED selects an artist to create portraits of our speakers. In the past, we’ve had the honor of working internationally acclaimed combat artist Victor Juhasz, faculty and students from the Rhode Island School of Design, and internationally acclaimed Israeli author and illustrator Hanoch Piven. Each has brought personal vision and flair to the work, resulting in wildly different yet captivating illustrations. Their exceptional work was featured in TEDMED event and promotional materials, and was also incorporated into various elements of the event design to foster a creative, collaborative setting.

In 2015, we took a slightly different route in finding an artist. We love to experiment with new ideas and approaches, and decided to crowdsource nominations for artists from our own backyard – the TEDMED community. Our call for artists led us to the talented illustrator and designer Lauren Hess. This year, we’re doing it again. As we gear up for TEDMED 2016, we’re excited to recommence our search for an artist who can help us bring our speaker portraits to life. Our chosen artist will receive recognition on our website and in printed materials, and will be invited to attend TEDMED 2016 as our guest (travel and accommodations included).

If you’re interested, or know someone who might be, read on:

ABOUT THE PROJECT
The artist will need to produce roughly 50+ portraits in a 6-8 week timeframe. Illustrations will be based on reference photos that will be provided. Final portraits will need to be delivered as high res digital files based on our specifications.

ELIGIBILITY AND TIME FRAME
This call is open to amateur and professional artists, and all art mediums will be considered. While not required, the artist would ideally have a close tie to health and medicine. This could take form in the following ways:

  • Experience in the medical community
  • Experience working with patients
  • A personal story connecting the artist to health and medicine

The work will take place between May – July 2016.

HOW TO APPLY
To apply (or nominate an artist), please send an email to art@tedmed.com. Be sure to include a work sample, a brief bio, any relevant links, and details about the best way to get in touch (email, cell, etc.). If the artist is a good fit, someone from our team will reach out.

Application deadline: Midnight, April 15, 2016.