Scenes from TEDMED

The mingling among the Delegates in the social areas and backstage is also where ideas are hatched and great friends made at TEDMED.  Our roving citizen photogs captured the following:

Scott Jurek with his new buddy, Cookie Monster.

Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, a vegan, may have convinced Cookie to eat veggies rather than sweets, at least some of the time. “I feel like I have a rainbow in my tummy,”  Cookie said after munching some veggies on stage.  Here they are getting to know each other backstage.

A brave Delegate strapped on the “aging” suit at the Nurture space to see what it feels like to age 30 years. The suit impairs mobility, flexibility and vision, with the goal of getting folks to think about smart design for healthcare centers.

Aging 30 years in a few minutes.

The Cleveland HeartLab offered Delegates onsite testing of it’s new “It” — inflammation testing — blood screen for heart disease risk markers. In one day some 200 folks here, who have already heard plenty in the first few sessions about the importance of preventive health, took them up on the offer.

TEDMED president Jon Ellenthal checks his risks for heart disease. What, me, worry?

One of the non-human friends at the social hub included “Huff,” a service dog to Sergeant Jon Gordon, a war veteran, in the Mars space to show first-hand the rehabilitative impact of human-animal interaction.

Man's best friend.

And artist/advocate Regina Holliday captured NIH chairman Francis Collins during his Kennedy Center singing debut at today’s opening session, with Jill Sobule.

Francis Collins on knocking out disease - set to music.



TRACES urban acrobats. Graphic by Alphachimp Studio Inc.

Kick-off day at TEDMED! Some 1,500 Delegates streamed through the massive doors of the Kennedy Center toward the Opera Stage to watch Session 1, themed “Embracing the Unconventional.”  So it was.  Legal advocate Bryan Stevenson spoke on the power of proclaiming and embracing identity, and why eliminating health inequities should be a critical part of America’s own identity.

Designer Teresa Monachino presented her own “Sicktionary,” in which she posed questions:  Does anyone really understand pill dosage labeling?  Why do anti-smoking messages focus on disease — when kids who start smoking think they’re invincible? Maybe our messages should focus on how smoking makes you ugly?

The Monachino Sicktionary. Graphic by Alphachimp Studio Inc.

Rebecca Onie, co-founder and CEO of Health Leads, spoke about the devastating impact of poverty on health, and what’s needed:  better access; earlier intervention; better food; better transportation.  All solutions, she says, that are ours for the taking. If we just ask the right questions — are you running out of food at the end of the month? Do you have safe housing? — then the doctor can then prescribe what the patient really needs.

Music and dance liberate the imagination, as TEDMED curator Jay Walker said.  To that end, singer and TEDMED musical director Jill Sobule sang “Modern Drugs,” about how life would be different for various famed artists and scientists if they had taken Prozac — imagine a cheery Edgar Allen Poe. The session closed as the WPAS Children of The Gospel Choir and Step Afrika! shook the stage and drew a standing-O with joyful music and dance.

TEDMED on the web: 

MedGadget does their classic TEDMED synopsis.

From Partner and Great Challenges program sponsor Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Tackling health care’s Great Challenges; U.S. News and World Report’s Steve Sternberg issues his own challenge to TEDMED.

HuffPost is liveblogging the event as it happens. Artist and patient advocate Regina Holliday, who’s doing a mural of each day’s highlights, titled her first day’s work as the dance of care.

The HealthWorks Collective, sponsored by Siemens, gave a great synopsis of each speaker’s talk.

Alphachimp Studio captured not only the “what” of the day but also the colorful spirit with their digital scribes.

TEDMED 2012 speaker Jonathan Eisen compiled visual notes of Bryan Stevenson‘s talk.

Chris Seper of MedCity Media wrote on “What you need to know about TEDMED.”

And Nurture’s blog looked at the Great Challenges.



TEDMED Partner spaces: The cocoa bean genome, insta-aging, and KittenScanners

One of the biggest draws at TEDMED is checking out sponsor and contributor social spaces, fantastical interactive displays that showcase their corporate contributions to health and medicine.

Best known for its chocolate and pet food, the global food company Mars has thrown itself behind understanding genomics and the role that it can play as a solution to fighting food scarcity, chronic hunger and malnutrition (Global Staff Officer of Plant Science and External Research Howard Shapiro will speak at TEDMED Session 2 on Wednesday morning.).  Another goal is to map the cocoa bean genome – all the better, we say; bring on the chocolate!

Another booth angle is pet-human interaction and how it boosts emotional well-being – at least as far as humans go – a hot research top lately. Sergeant Jon Gordon, a war veteran and his service dog will be meeting delegates in the space to show first-hand the rehabilitative impact of human-animal interaction.

Nurture by Steelcase designed their space to create conversation on smart design for

Nurture's new patient recliner, Empath

special needs. Delegates will gather around “campfire” space to chat with IDEO design consultant reps.

They’ll also get an eye-opening chance to see for themselves the unique design needs posed by physical handicaps and aging.  Participants can don a “Third Age” suit – on loan from the Ford Motor Company – that “ages” them several decades in terms of strength, mobility, vision and other tactile functions. The space-age suit, which looks like a stripped-down astronaut uniform, is made of materials that add bulk and restrict movement at key areas of the body such as knees, elbows, back and neck. The suit also uses gloves that reduce the sense of touch, and goggles that simulate cataracts.

Philips is exploring the issue of lack of sleep as a national health crisis in its onsite design lab. An illustrator will visualize Delegate discussion on the topic as the days go by into a wall-length mural.

Towards its goal of “designing healthcare around people who need it,” the company is exhibiting a colorful KittenScanner for kids to show them what to expect when getting a CT scan  – an unnerving experience even for adults – to lessen the stress of the experience. Their illuminated LightGuide therapeutic tool helps visually- and hearing-impaired children improve motor activities and develop the ability to read and write.

Backstage at TEDMED

Some 1,500 Delegates are streaming into the Opera House at the Kennedy Center, munching on mango and drinking sangria as they await the start of the first speaker session at TEDMED 2012.  Of course, healthy pursuits are never far away; Delegates could also have their carotid artery scanned for signs of arterial plaque at Panasonic’s CardioHealth station in the lounge, or have a blood test for inflammatory markers of heart disease with the Cleveland HeartLab’s new “it” screen.

Hair and makeup for Jill Sobule backstage at the Kennedy Center.

We had a sneak peek at the humongous backstage area, where the singer and songwriter Jill Sobule

Jil Sobule, Ivan Oransky, and Jill's mom, who sometimes joins her on stage
graciously allowed us to snap a few photos. Reuters Health executive editor Ivan Oransky, speaking at Session 3 on Wednesday, also prepped for his talk, “Is the ‘disease model’ sick — or just exhausted?”

Let’s start the show!

D.C. schoolkids to attend TEDMED

Part of TEDMED’s mission is to share ideas among as many people as possible – particularly when it comes to nurturing young people’s imaginations. To that end, TEDMED has invited 25 local high school students, along with their principal, to be special guests at TEDMED’s final session on Friday morning.

The Academies at Anacostia – also known as Anacostia Senior High School – is a D.C. public high school looking to turn around decades of extremely low test scores.  Towards that goal, school officials partnered with Friendship Public Charter Schools and closed it for a summer-long revamp, after which Anacostia re-opened in 2009 with  a renewed mission, more than 30 first-year teachers, and many new programs.

The special student guests on Friday were chosen for their accomplishments.  The group includes:

*Seven students training to be EMT’s in Anacostia’s Allied Health career program

*One student who is a member of the local Red Cross Club

*Anacostia’s FIRST Robotics team, AnaDroidz, which recently competed against 64 other teams from 10 states and Puerto Rico in the D.C. regional competition

*Other students nominated by their teachers because of their excellent grades, behavior, maturity, and interest in learning.

Congratulations to the Anacostia students.  We’ll see you Friday at TEDMED!

What to watch for at TEDMED 2012

TEDMED 2012 speaker E.O. Wilson as interpreted by artist Hanoch Piven.

It’s almost here: More than 1,500 Delegates from hundreds of diverse medical and non-medical disciplines. Seventy-plus speakers and performers, brilliant innovators all.

TEDMED 2012 begins Tuesday at 5 p.m. on the Opera House stage at the Kennedy Center — and remotely for some 50,000 TEDMEDLive participants from medical schools, non-profits, government agencies and other organizations across the nation.  We’re anticipating three-and-a-half eye-opening, mind-blowing days.

Headline speakers include Otis Brawley/American Cancer Society; Larry Brilliant/Skoll Global Threats Fund; Dr. Lynda Chin/MD Anderson Cancer Center; Francis Collins/NIH; Katie Couric/Stand Up To Cancer & ABC News; Thomas Frieden/CDC; John Hoffman/HBO Documentary Films; Peggy Hamburg/FDA; Billie Jean King/Health and Social Justice Advocate; Gail McGovern/American Red Cross; Gabby Reece/Women’s Health Advocate; and renowned biologist E.O. Wilson.

The Great Challenges: In this inaugural year of the Great Challenges Program, the TEDMED 2012 Delegates and TEDMEDLive viewers will vote on the 20 most complex and pressing challenges facing health and medicine to achieve the multi-disciplinary understanding critical to tackling them. We’ll explore these throughout the following year via TV-style interviews with leaders from across fields, a series of webinars on each of the 20 Great Challenges, and the opportunity for TEDMED community members to add their voice throughout.

Other cool goings-on: Patient advocate and artist Regina Holliday will be painting and blogging on the scene, and visual learning experts Alphachimp Studio will graphically scribe the event (follow them at #TEDMEDScribe). TEDMED’s corporate partners will have interactive social spaces where Delegates can explore cutting-edge advances and issues. And the Innovations Bar will unveil new medtech like Cleveland HeartLab’s new “It” inflammation biomarker test.

Looking to attend TEDMED Live? Find a participating location here.

Calling one and all: Join us by following events online. We’ll be posting updates regularly on Twitter @TEDMED, #TEDMEDLive, #TEDMEDChallenges, on Facebook and here on our blog. We’ll also be posting links to coverage from leading blogs and sites throughout the following days.

Up to the Challenge?

Almost 600: Number of health goals set out by Healthy People 2020, a national health improvement agenda from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More than 900: Number of diseases and conditions listed in the National Library of Medicine’s MedLinePlus database.

More than 12,000: Number of disease categories distinguished by the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases.

So… where do we start? It’s up to you.

At TEDMED 2012, we officially launch the Great Challenges Program, an effort to gather multi-disciplinary perspectives and ideas from health innovation leaders on 50 of the most persistent and complex issues facing health and medicine today.

Over the course of the conference, together we’ll narrow those 50 greatest challenges to 20 that are most critical to tackle in the coming year. All of the 1,200 TEDMED Delegates onsite at the Kennedy Center, along with as many as 50,000 offsite viewers participating via a remote simulcast called TEDMEDLive, will have the opportunity to cast their votes. We’ll announce the top 20 on Thursday evening from the Opera House stage.

Take the chance now to start reviewing the Great Challenges and make sure your voice is heard during the voting process next week.

Once we have our 20 great challenges, it’s time to give them a closer look. Throughout the year following TEDMED 2012, the Great Challenges Program will generate a lively national dialog on the 20 Challenges chosen by the TEDMED community. The program will include TV-style interviews with leaders from across fields, a series of webinars on each of the 20 Great Challenges, and the opportunity for TEDMED community members to add their voice.

Stay tuned for more here and at #TEDMEDChallenges on Twitter, as we highlight Great Challenges throughout the week.

Get ready for TEDMEDLive!

Wordle of TEDMED Talk Topics by 2012 Speaker Jonathan Eisen
TEDMED 2012 will be simulcast to an estimated 50,000 viewers in 52 states across America, in 300 auditoriums and 1500 clinics and healthcare locations. Participants include teaching hospitals, medical schools, research institutions, university life science departments, state and federal government agencies, health-oriented corporations and non-profits.

If you’re not hooked in yet, check out a map of participating locations here.

If you’re already attending a TEDMEDLive broadcast, please note that we’ll be releasing a speaker schedule next Tuesday on TEDMEDConnect, an iOS/Android app. We’ll also have a web-based version.

If you’re hosting, the next system test will be on Monday, April 9th. TEDMEDLive participants can test their connection (with a live stream directly from the Kennedy Center) between 3pm – 4pm EST OR 8pm – 9pm EST. We will be providing a link to the testing site and log-in information to everyone soon.

Last-minute tech questions? See our FAQs.

And be sure to join the conversation on Twitter at #TEDMEDLive. Let us know what’s happening at your locale!