TEDMED 2020 Meetups

TEDMED Meetups, uniquely designed conversations, engage the entire TEDMED community to share their individual perspectives and voices to help improve humanity’s health. Read on to view some of the details of these captivating conversations taking place at TEDMED 2020.

Meetup 1
Tuesday, March 3rd, 8:00 am- 8:45 am

Climate and Culture, A Health Equity Conversation
Hosted by RWJF and facilitated by Malik Yakini, an RWJF Health Equity Expert
Speakers: Cheryl Holder, Jyoti Sharma, and Thijs Biersteker
Description: When we consider human health, we must consider climate health. Whether it is the impact the climate has on the social determinants of our health, the depletion of essential resources like water caused by a changing climate, or how we can harness art to better connect ourselves to our environment, each Speaker in this Meetup has a unique understanding of our connection to climate and its impact on our health. Facilitated by Malik Yakinin, a leader of the movement to bring great equity to the global food system, this Meetup will explore how climate shapes our culture and impacts our health.

The Good Life
Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Lucy Kalanithi, TEDMED EAB Member and TEDMED 2016 Speaker
Speakers: Kevin Toolis and Louise Aronson
Description: It’s one of the oldest philosophical questions: What is the good life? As we confront aging bodies and our own mortality, how do we embrace the beauty and dynamism of our lives in ways that enhance and expand our health and wellbeing? Hosted by former TEDMED Speaker and Stanford Medicine internist, Lucy Kalanithi, this Meetup will explore how reframing the stages of elderhood and embracing death as part of life can help us cultivate the good life.

The Future of Health
Hosted by Deloitte and facilitated by Jennifer Radin, Life Sciences & Health Care Principal at Deloitte
Speakers: Anupam B. Jena, Michel Maharbiz, and Suchi Saria
Description: Data is all around us and within us. With progressive innovation comes new insights to advance health and medicine. This Meetup will explore how natural experiments can reveal important phenomena in our everyday lives, how tiny ultrasound activated implants can provide real-time information about our physiology, and how machine learning is saving lives in our medical system. Led by Deloitte, this Meetup allows us to wonder what the future of health will look like.

Compassionate Care
Hosted by Astellas Oncology and facilitated by Shontelle Dodson, Senior Vice President for Health Systems at Astellas
Speakers: Lisa Sanders and Shekinah Elmore
Description: When faced with a difficult diagnosis or living with a serious illness, we must often manage a great deal of uncertainty. Whether it is helping to find a diagnosis or guiding us through the uncertainty of an unexpected health concern, health care providers and caregivers play an integral role in ensuring that patients can find fulfillment even in their most uncertain moments. Shontelle Dodson, a health systems leader at Astellas, will guide this discussion about the importance of infusing more compassion into care.

Meetup 2
Tuesday, March 3rd, 11:15 am- 12:00 pm

A Culture of Health, A Health Equity Conversation
Hosted by RWJF and facilitated by Aletha Maybank, an RWJF Health Equity Expert
Speakers: Joseph Shin, Sandro Galea, and Wanda Irving
Description: How do we create a culture of health in asylum settings and within systems teeming with racism? How do we create a culture that breeds love and not hate? How do we cultivate a culture of inclusivity and equity in healthcare? Aletha Maybank, the American Medical Association’s first Chief Health Equity Officer, will lead this conversation about bringing to light the darkest parts of our society in order to ensure that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.

Personalizing Digital Health
Hosted by Abbott and facilitated by Toni Nosbush, DVP of Global Product Development at Abbott
Hive Innovators: Claire Novorol of Ada Health; Leah Sparks of Wildflower Health; and, Jon Bloom of Podimetrics
Description: Today’s technology allows healthcare to be personalized like never before. In this Innovator Meetup, conversation will center around the trend in digital health that creates space for tailored health experiences. While these Innovators’ have varied focuses – ranging from family planning, to patient centered care coordination, and diabetic foot ulcers – the common thread is their focus on effective, reliable, and personalized care experiences. Guided by Toni Nosbush, a leader in global product development at Abbott, this Meetup will explore how better communication between doctor and patient, facilitated by personalized health tools, patients can receive tailored care to become and stay healthy.

New Age Diagnostics
Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Laura Indolfi, TEDMED 2016 Hive Innovator
Hive Innovators: Andy Beck of PathAI; Gabe Kwong of Glympse Bio; Niamh O’Hara of Biotia; William Dunbar of Ontera
Description: In this Hive Innovator Meetup, you will have the chance to learn about cutting edge life science innovation. With today’s scientific advancements, new diagnostic models have emerged to detect and intercept disease faster than ever. With AI-powered pathology and diagnostics, a closer look at the epigenome, and miniaturized biological sensors, these Innovators are reimagining disease diagnostics. Their technology will shape a future in which illness can be identified accurately, quickly, and reliably every time. TEDMED 2016 Hive Innovator Laura Indolfi will lead this conversation about the possibilities of new age diagnostics.

New Models of Mental Health Care
Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated Pat Salber, TEDMED Community Member
Hive Innovators: April Koh of Spring Health; Peter Hames of Big Health; Paula Searcy of Sana Health
Description: Understanding mental health care has become an important theme of our time. With a steady rise in the prevalence of mental health conditions, we must leverage new tools and approaches to keep people healthy. In this Meetup, Innovators will discuss varying models of care that work to improve mental health. You will learn about medical devices, digital health products, and systems level tools that leverage new technology to improve mental health conditions like PTSD, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and more. Pat Salber, Editor-in-Chief of The Doctor Weighs In, will facilitate this Meetup about the potential of new models of mental health care to lead to personalized, tailored, and effective care we have not seen before.

Meetup 3
Tuesday, March 3rd, 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

A Just World
Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Pam Belluck, TEDMED EAB Member
Speakers: Homer Venters, Laurie Hallmark, and Yasmin Hurd
Description: From combating the opioid epidemic with nontraditional solutions, to transforming legal representation and advocacy for people with serious mental illness, to restoring health justice for incarcerated individuals, the Speakers in this Meetup are improving health for some of society’s most vulnerable populations. Pam Belluck, Pulitzer Prize winning science writer for The New York Times, will facilitate this discussion about what it means to create a fair and just world.

Health Techquity, A Health Equity Conversation
Hosted by RWJF and facilitated by Margaret Laws, an RWJF Health Equity Expert
Hive Innovators: Kevin Quennesson of Braid.Health; Mercy Asiedu of Calla Health; Taylor Justice of Unite Us
Description: “Techquity” describes the use of technology to create a more equitable world. In this Meetup, Innovators will share how they are making healthcare more accessible and equitable by leveraging new-age technology. From a medical device that empowers women to understand their cervical health, to a platform connecting vulnerable populations to social service providers, and an AI-powered tool that makes radiology accessible to all people, these Innovators are using technology to fill major gaps in today’s healthcare system. Margaret Laws, an RWJF TEDMED 2020 Health Equity Expert and head of HopeLab, will facilitate this conversation about how ‘techquity’ can help health become more equitable, faster.

The Power of Medical Knowledge
Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Jeff Karp, TEDMED EAB Member; TEDMED 2014 Speaker
Hive Innovators: Andrew Le of Buoy; Jane van Dis of Maven; Sunny Williams of Tiny Docs
Description: Should medical knowledge be reserved for trained professionals, or can it lie with patients and communities? The Innovators in this Meetup will speak to the importance of empowering patients with medical knowledge that is accurate, reliable, and tailored to their unique needs. TEDMED 2014 Speaker Jeff Karp will lead this conversation examining how medical knowledge can be delivered in various forms–telemedicine, virtual communities, AI-powered assistants, or even “caretoons” — all while serving the tailored needs women, children, underserved populations, or your average health consumer.

Mapping Human Health
Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Zen Chu, TEDMED Community Member
Hive Innovators: Andy Blackwell of Eight Billion Minds; Katharine Grabek of Fauna Bio; Nancy Yu of RDMD; Ted Schenkelberg of Human Vaccines Project
Description: With the rise of technology, we have the opportunity to capture health data like never before. In this Meetup, Innovators will demonstrate the ways in which data can be mapped, across conditions, to better understand, analyze, and reimagine human health. Zen Chu of MIT’s Hacking Medicine Initiative will lead this Meetups about mapping trends around mental health, immunity, rare diseases, or even animal genomics, and what it means for the future of data and human health.

Meetup 4
Tuesday, March 3rd, 4:15 pm – 5:00 pm

Youth and Truth, A Health Equity Conversation
Hosted by RWJF and facilitated by Kellan Baker, an RWJF Health Equity Expert
Speakers: Anne Marie Albanno, Cheryl King, Francis X. Shen
Description: Dealing with anxiety, mood disorders, developing brains, sexuality, and social pressures is just one aspect of the challenges that come with the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. How can we better understand the developing brain in order to ensure that all individuals receive access to the treatment and care they require? Facilitated by Kellan Baker, a leading researcher of how reshaping socioeconomic and political determinants of health can create greater health equity for transgender populations and other marginalized groups, this Meetup will focus on how we as a society can best support our young adults.

Meaning Making and Memory
Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Kafui Dzirasa, TEDMED EAB Member and TEDMED 2017 Speaker
Speakers: Anne Basting, Beatie Wolfe, Frederick Streeter Barrett
Description: French philosopher, Rene Descartes’ famous words “I think, therefore I am” is a powerful statement about a sense of awareness within ourselves. In this Meetup, we explore our brain as a dynamic and complex organ by evaluating creative stimuli that lead to surprising reactions in patients with cognitive impairments and by understanding mind altering experiences that allow us to grow and to heal. Led by former TEDMED Speaker, Kafui Dzirasa, this Meetup challenges us to consider the meaning of life when memories fade.

The Social Side of Health
Hosted by Humana and facilitated by William Shrank, Chief Medical and Corporate Affairs Officer at Humana
Speakers: Cheryl Holder and Jonathan Gruber
Description: Health, as we know, is more than just medical. Our health is impacted by economics, the healthcare system, the environment, and our social surroundings. Whether it’s understanding the impact of a changing climate on population health or structuring our health systems to make healthcare better and more accessible, how we think about the social side of healthcare matters. Humana’s Chief Medical and Corporate Affairs Officer, William Shrank, will guide this discussion.

Trust in Medicine
Hosted by the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) and facilitated by USP’s CEO Ron Piervincenzi
Speakers: Heidi Larson, Katherine Eban, and Ralph Nader
Description: We all deserve medicines that we can trust, but globally, many lack access to high-quality medicines and the health impacts can be detrimental. In this Meetup, hear from TEDMED Speakers who are examining the conditions in which low-cost generic medicine are made, are advocating for consumer rights to help ensure we have access to safe medicines, and are working to restore the public’s trust in the vaccines that help keep us safe. Facilitated by Ron Piervincenzi, the CEO of the U.S. Pharmacopeia, this conversation will dive into how leading thinkers and doers are working to build and maintain trust in medicine.

Meetup 5
Wednesday, March 4th, 8:00 am – 8:45 am

Infectious Disease and Innovation
Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Celine Gounder, TEDMED EAB Member
Speakers: Heidi Larson, Leor Weinberger, and Matt Hepburn
Description: What does it take to fight disease and are we prepared for the next pandemic? Infectious disease specialist and TEDMED Editorial Advisory Board member Celine Gounder will lead this Meetup conversation examining the systems necessary to address pandemic threats – from global vaccine uptake to the development of novel therapies to deprive infectious disease.

Novel Approaches to Big Problems, A Health Equity Conversation
Hosted by RWJF and facilitated by Aletha Maybank, an RWJF Health Equity Expert
Speakers: Cheryl King, Francis X. Shen, and Thomas Abt
Description: Big problems require big solutions. The speakers in this Meetup are developing and implementing big, novel solutions to some of society’s most serious issues. From curbing the rising rates of teen suicide, to fighting for justice in the legal system, to reducing urban violence, these individuals are committed to saving the lives of some of our most vulnerable populations. Aletha Maybank, the AMA’s Chief Health Equity Office, will guide the conversation and help us to understand how equity plays a key role in finding solutions to these issues.

A Vision for a Healthier Future
Hosted by Geisinger and facilitated by Geisinger Leadership
Speakers: Fred Moll, Gokul Upadhyayula, and Suchi Saria
Description: We live in a world where robotics, bioimaging, and machine learning are becoming increasingly common terms. This Meetup will explore the possibilities of constantly emerging technologies with capabilities to transform healthcare tools as we currently know them. Geisinger will lead this Meetup discussion about the role of technology in creating a healthier future.

Science and Storytelling
Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Nadja Oertelt, TEDMED EAB Member and TEDMED 2017 Hive Innovator
Speakers: Amit Choudhary, Michel Maharbiz, Zuberoa Marcos
Description: Whether it’s conveying the nuances and implications of a tool as powerful as CRISPR, understanding molecular and physiological states, or harnessing the power of storytelling in presenting scientific advances to keep the world moving forward, how we tell the story of science is integral to reaching and inspiring a broad audience and making the impact needed to shape a healthier humanity. Nadja Oertelt, TEDMED 2017 Hive Innovator and Co-Founder of Massive Science, facilitates this conversation about science and storytelling.

The United States Pharmacopeia: 200 Years of Building Trust in Medicine

The TEDMED 2020 theme is Make Way For Wonder, and we are looking forward to convening our Community and embracing the wonders of our times, the astonishing accomplishments, incredible possibilities, and extraordinary potential for the future. So, we were thrilled when the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) decided to celebrate its 200th Anniversary with TEDMED. After all, today’s wonders are built upon a strong foundation of scientific discovery. And, humanity is especially eager for those innovations that will help people everywhere live longer and healthier lives. In anticipation of USP’s presence at TEDMED in March, we talked with Ronald T. Piervincenzi, Ph.D., chief executive officer, about the organization’s history, its current work, and its approach to building trust in the future of medicine, supplements, and foods.

TEDMED: We’re excited to have you and USP join the TEDMED Community, especially on the occasion of such a monumental milestone – USP’s 200th anniversary.

Ronald T. Piervincenzi: Thank you. I’m thrilled to introduce USP to TEDMED’s audience and look forward to meeting attendees in Boston in March.

TM: What made you choose TEDMED to celebrate this milestone anniversary?

RP: Today, we are observing an unprecedented transformation in healthcare. USP’s 200-year legacy is built on trust and confidence in healthcare systems and anticipating and responding to emerging health challenges. Our founders joined together in 1820 to protect patients from a prevalence of poor-quality medical products. The backdrop today is different in scale, geography, modalities and many other factors. But the value of our work is the same. We are exploring how to build trust in future medical breakthroughs. There are many in the TEDMED community we can learn from and engage with as we imagine what the future holds.

TM: That’s exactly what TEDMED is all about! Let’s dive in. What is a pharmacopeia and what does USP do?

RP: Simply put a pharmacopeia is an official publication that includes a list of medicinal drugs and contains how those medicines are to be prepared, directions for their use, and assays to assess medicinal quality. The United States Pharmacopeia–National Formulary, which USP publishes, is the official quality standard for medicines marketed in the U.S. It is also used in over 140 other countries. USP is the leading independent scientific nonprofit organization that collaborates with the world’s top experts in health and science to develop quality standards for medicines, dietary supplements, and food ingredients. Through our standards, advocacy and capability building, USP helps increase the availability of quality medicines, supplements and food for billions of people worldwide. As the world gets smaller and more connected, quality issues affect everyone. Diseases travel. Drug resistance grows. Fake medicines kill. The foundation of quality we’re building helps address these and other global health challenges. Whether decreasing the prevalence of substandard and poor-quality medicines or helping to curb antimicrobial resistance, we’re there across 10 global sites working to protect the health of people all over the world.

TM: This seems like a very modern approach to medicine. Why did the U.S. need a pharmacopeia in 1820?

RP: Today, people trust U.S. medicines to be among the safest in the world but that wasn’t always true. In 1820, the U.S. was a new country. Medicines were made individually and differently by physicians or apothecaries. There were no regulations or more importantly, standards, to ensure that what you received in one city was the same as another. A medicine’s strength, quality, and even its identity varied widely depending on where it was made. Simply put, before our founding in 1820, there was no way to ensure that what was on the medicine label was what was actually in the bottle. Our founders—11 independent, forward-looking physicians— were concerned about this lack of uniformity and acted to protect patients from poor-quality medicines. Three of our founders were not only physicians, but also U.S. Senators—they were the voice that the U.S. needed to ensure the quality of medicines Americans used. They established the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, which published the first U.S. Pharmacopeia. A great deal has changed since our founding but the importance of having quality standards for medicines and other new therapies remains—now, our work is much more global.

Image courtesy of USP

TM: This year’s TEDMED theme, “Make Way for Wonder,” explores how medicine and healthcare is changing. Is that a theme that resonates with you?

RP: Absolutely. Wonder and scientific discovery makes medical breakthroughs possible. But trust makes them popular. More than 800 independent volunteer scientists contribute their expertise to develop and approve USP’s standards. They help to build trust by setting clear quality expectations for medicines, dietary supplements, and foods. In turn, USP standards help manufacturers worldwide bring more quality and affordable products to market, which benefits people everywhere. A recent Johns Hopkins University study found that on average, drugs with a USP public quality standard had approximately 50% more generic manufacturers compared with medicines without such a standard. The study also found that quality standards helped facilitate pharmaceutical competition and reduce prescription drug costs in the U.S.

Image courtesy of USP

TM: How does a 200-year-old organization prepare for the future?

RP: New technologies and treatments—precision medicine, digital therapeutics, 3D printing, immunotherapy, gene and stem cell therapies, and artificial intelligence—have arrived or are on their way. As we prepare for dramatic breakthroughs, we must work to ensure trust and quality are established as a part of these advances. Unfortunately, trust broadly is in a precarious position across sectors. Our history has taught us that for an innovation to become a widespread reality, both quality and trust are critical to its broad acceptance. USP together with hundreds of our stakeholder organizations and partners are already working to build confidence in future breakthroughs and to anticipate and address where the gaps will be. We know that when a USP public standard is available, we help manufacturers be better able to adopt the new technology, which is often a significant cost savings. In addition to conducting workshops and roundtables on topics such as cell and gene therapies and digital therapeutics, USP is working with the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and more than 100 leaders from health and science worldwide to explore the developments and role that trust will play in shaping people’s health between now and 2040. We will explore the project’s findings from this “Trust CoLab” with the TEDMED 2020 Community.

Image courtesy of USP

TM: We’ll look forward to learning more about the Trust CoLab. Until then, what else should the TEDMED Community know about USP?

RP: I mentioned our volunteer scientists earlier. I invite TEDMED community members who are committed to making the world healthier, being scientifically rigorous, and working independently from politics or the private sector, to consider becoming a Champion of Trust. They can learn more by visiting our website or by stopping by the USP Lounge in the Social Hub at TEDMED. I also encourage everyone to also learn more about USP’s past, present and future and opportunities for other collaborations with us at www.usp.org/200.

TM: Thank you, Ron and very best wishes on the beginning of USP’s third century.

Why do doctors practice race-based medicine?

by Dorothy Roberts, guest contributor

Biological scientists established decades ago that the human species can’t be divided into genetically discrete races. Social scientists have shown that the racial classifications we use today are invented social groupings. And historians of medicine have traced doctors’ current practice of treating patients by race to justifications for slavery. Doctors I’ve talked to readily concede that race is a “crude” proxy for patients’ individual characteristics and clinical indicators. Countless patients have been misdiagnosed and treated unjustly because of their race.

So why do doctors cling so fiercely to race-based medicine?

BWSyringe2One reason is force of habit. For generations, beginning in the slavery era, medical students have been taught to take the patient’s race into account. Race is built into the foundations of medical education, which assumes that people of different races are biologically distinct from each other and suffer from diseases in peculiar ways. What’s more, medical students aren’t given much latitude to question the lessons they are taught about race.  Without a radical disruption, these students go on to train the next generation of doctors with the same flawed racial dogmas.

Another reason is that doctors aren’t immune from commonly-held racial stereotypes and misunderstandings. Most Americans believe some version of a biological concept of race, and doctors are no exception. In fact, the entire field of biology has been plagued by controversy and confusion over the meaning of race. It is not surprising that the medical profession would be influenced by racial thinking that has been perpetuated in U.S. education, culture, and politics for centuries.

In addition, there are institutional and commercial incentives to continue practicing medicine by race. Starting in the 1980s, the federal government required the scientific use of racial categories to ensure greater participation of minorities in clinical research and to address health disparities. Unfortunately, this effort to diversify clinical studies focused on biological rather than social inequalities and has reinforced genetic definitions of race.  In 2005, the federal Food and Drug Administration approved the first race-specific drug, a therapy for African-American patients with heart failure, that was repackaged as a race-based pill to enable the cardiologist who developed it to obtain a patent. Labeling drugs by race may be financially advantageous to pharmaceutical companies by providing a marketing niche and an avenue for FDA approval. The biomedical research and pharmaceutical industries have tremendous influence over how medicine is practiced.

Doctors are quick to bristle at any suggestion that treating patients by race results from their own racial prejudice. They disavow any connection to blatantly racist medicine of the past—the horrific treatment of enslaved Africans; unethical medical experimentation on African Americans, such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and use of Henrietta Lacks’ cancer cells; Jim Crow segregation of medical services; and mass sterilization of black, Mexican-origin, Puerto Rican, and Native American women in the 1960s and 1970s.

Doctors argue that they are using race for benevolent reasons or, at most, as a benign way to classify their patients. But race is not a benign category. Race was invented to support racism and it is inextricably tied to racial oppression and the struggle against it. There is no biological reason to divide human beings into white, black, yellow, and red. Race seems natural only because we have been taught to see each other this way. Sometimes, when I speak to doctors about this topic, I can see their physical discomfort with giving up their reliance on race. It feels like asking deeply religious people to give up their belief in their deity. Race is more than an ordinary medical feature—it is part of people’s deeply-held identities, their sense of their place in society, and their view of how the world is ordered. This is why ending race-based medicine will require a great leap of imagination, a new vision of humanity tied to a movement for racial justice.

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Global scholar, University of Pennsylvania civil rights sociologist, and law professor Dorothy Roberts exposes the myths of race-based medicine in her TEDMED 2015 talk.

Magic Medicine? The wonders of nanomedicine

by Daniel Kohane

The content, views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by TEDMED. By inviting guest bloggers, TEDMED hopes to share a variety of perspectives that provoke and engage our community in discussion and debate.

Imagine being able to treat your medical condition immediately when you need to, safely, and without input from anybody else. No waiting to see your doctor, no wondering whether that extra dose of medicine will be too much.

Sound like magic? Well, that is exactly what many of us scientists in nanomedicine believe is right around the corner. And we are proposing the use of a “wand” to make it happen.

“Sometimes you can achieve big things by thinking very small.” Daniel Kohane at TEDMED 2014
“Sometimes you can achieve big things by thinking very small.” Daniel Kohane at TEDMED 2014

Here’s how it would work in a patient with chronic pain. Such a patient would likely have pain that would wax and wane throughout the course of the day and during the night. His/her need for relief would also fluctuate, depending on activity and effort level. Currently, oral pain pills would generally be used to treat the condition, which would take effect sooner or later, and might or might not make the patient adequately comfortable. In some cases, the medicines could make the patient too comfortable, or effectively stoned. The wand could make all of this so much better.

The wand would actually be a laser, or another powerful light source. The patient would place the laser over the painful area and press a button, firing near-infrared light into the affected tissue, where the patient’s physician had injected or implanted a reservoir of drugs. That reservoir would have been built with light-sensitive nanostructures (like those in my TEDMED talk) so that it would respond to a specific light fired by the laser by releasing those drugs. So, using the wand would cause pain medications to be released at the site where the pain is – and only there; no getting stoned with this treatment. And by varying the intensity and duration of the light beam, the patient would be able to determine exactly how much pain relief is delivered, and for how long.

This approach need not be limited to pain; it could be used for a wide range of diseases, in many parts of the body. And the wand need not use light. Scientists have shown that similar effects can be achieved with oscillating magnetic fields, ultrasound, electricity, and many other energy sources. In fact, people are now looking at drug-releasing devices that would not even require the wand component – there would be indwelling sensors on the device that could sense when a drug needed to be released. Alternatively, the devices could have computerized programming that would enable complex patterns of drug release suitable for a particular disease. That process would remove the burden from the patient of having to self-administer injectable drugs several times a day.

As nanoscience gets increasingly sophisticated, it opens up possibilities for medicines that are specific, targeted, with fewer side effects, and easier to deploy. While the potential is not truly magical, they are certainly parts of this field that previous generations of physicians, scientists, and patients would have thought impossible.

At TEDMED 2014, Daniel Kohane, Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and a Senior Associate in Pediatric Critical Care at Boston Children’s Hospital, revealed some of the amazing work he’s doing with nanoparticle technology to transform the power, safety, and specificity of drugs. 

2015’s Research Scholars: Another Peek into What Makes a Great TEDMED Talk

Earlier this year, we shared details around some of the critical elements that support TEDMED’s editorial process. Specifically, we shared our core values, code of ethics, speaker selection process and the addition of TEDMED’s inaugural Editorial Advisory Board (EAB). As we explained, our EAB members advise TEDMED on topics, themes and speakers that should be considered when creating our annual stage program.

Now, as we prepare to announce this year’s program and speaker line-up, we want to give you a peek into another significant group that contributes to our editorial process: the TEDMED 2015 Research Scholars.

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When TEDMED curates the talks that are being considered for the stage each year, topics range literally from A (autoimmune disease) to Z (zona pellucida). To assist us with reviewing and researching the deep science behind potential topics, themes and speakers, TEDMED relies on outside feedback from our Research Scholars who are a diverse group of carefully selected experts.

Our Scholars are equipped with the professional training, objective knowledge and institutional credibility required to give TEDMED a wealth of insights, informed perspectives and thoughtful suggestions for further queries and investigation. TEDMED assembles Research Scholars from across the biomedical spectrum: university faculty, post-docs, grad students, public health professionals, entrepreneurs, science journalists and medical students from leading institutions and associations.

It’s no mystery why our Scholars break away from their busy schedules to volunteer their time in support of TEDMED’s mission. Each is a person of extraordinarily generous spirit; and, each is passionate about making a difference in health and medicine. We are proud to count the TEDMED Research Scholars as valued members of the TEDMED community…and we thank them for their outstanding contributions.

Without further ado…we are honored to recognize the Research Scholars for TEDMED 2015. See the full list here.

Stay informed as details around TEDMED 2015 continue to be shared. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and consider registering today for TEDMED 2015 in Palm Springs, November 18-20, at the beautiful historic La Quinta Resort! We’ll begin announcing details of the program next week.

Healing Metaphors – A Q&A with Abraham Verghese

At TEDMED 2014, physician and author Abraham Verghese shared a compelling and original perspective on the impact of language on medicine. In the Q&A below, he reveals more about how embracing our creative selves can help preserve the humanity in healthcare.

Abraham shares why it's important to breathe life back into medical language. [Photo: Kevork Djansezian, for TEDMED]
Abraham shares why it’s important to breathe life back into medical language. [Photo: Kevork Djansezian, for TEDMED] 
Why does this talk matter now? What impact do you hope the talk will have?

I was struck by the colorful metaphors that peppered medical descriptions in years past – the “strawberry” tongue, the “Mulberry” molar, the “Apple core” lesion of the colon, and so many more. I’ve found it so hard to believe that – with the avalanche of new diseases, new science and new technology – we simply haven’t developed new metaphors quite as colorful as the “saber-shinned tibia” or the “crackpot’s skull” of years past. It’s a peculiar atrophy of the imagination at a time when our scientific imagination knows no bounds. I think our right brains are churning, wanting to label and make colorful and to connect, but the imagined constraints of science and data have introduced a peculiar self-consciousness. I’m hoping that my talk encourages us to create more eponyms, more metaphors, and more colorful ways of capturing this incredible time we live in.

What is the legacy you want to leave?

I’d like to think that, in the era of tremendous advances in science and in medicine, I tried to keep us from losing sight of the patient, that vulnerable human being who gave us the great privilege of being with them at their time of need. What that human being needs in addition to our robotic technology, our beautiful diagnostic tools, is a caring relationship with another human being. I’d like to think that I spoke strongly for that and that I introduced a generation or more of students to the bedside and to that special privilege.

William Osler is quoted as saying that he desired no other epitaph “…than the statement that I taught medical students in the wards, as I regard this as by far the most useful and important work I have been called upon to do.” I don’t know that he actually used that on his tombstone, but I understand the sentiment. Every single student I work with at the bedside (even though the process might seem inefficient to be working with just one or two students) has the potential to go out and, in a lifetime, care for hundreds and thousands of patients. So, if you influence them well, you truly have leveraged something in the best sense of that word. I’d like my legacy to be about that work, both at the physical bedside but also metaphorically, and having brought readers and listeners to that sacred space and having perhaps conveyed in every manner that I could, the romance and passion and privilege of being in medicine. It’s not a business and never will be. Even though it enriches a lot of people, and even though it seems to be very much a business, medicine will always be a calling.

What’s next for you?

I have in mind the shaping of something I am calling “The Center for the Patient and Physician,” which I think of as a place to explore every aspect of the patient-physician relationship. At one level it will be pedagogy, teaching at the bedside and refining methods for teachers. But it will also be bringing in folks from a multitude of disciplines. For example from anthropology and ethnography to look at the patient-physician interaction, or tapping into bioengineering and design schools to look at the spaces where we interact. Perhaps, using population health sciences to look at influences on large populations of certain styles of physician-patient relationship. Or serving as a locale where postdocs and scholars who are interested in any aspect of this, can develop their craft – from studying empathy, compassion and caring to developing the next generation of pocket tools.

Are there any action items that you want your viewers to take?

Invent a metaphor that captures the work you do! If something could be named after you, what would it be? Go ahead, don’t feel shy!

What is Culinary Medicine? Q&A with John La Puma

Nutrition specialist, chef, author, and practicing physician John La Puma lives and works on an organic farm in California. He makes his garbanzo guacamole recipe on the TEDMED stage while sharing his philosophy that the food we eat is as important as the pills we take, a key component of preventive health and our well being.  On the TEDMED Blog, John elaborates on culinary medicine and what role patients may have taking charge of their health and even educating their physicians about how to consider nutrition as part of the treatment plan.

John La Puma on culinary medicine
“Food is the most important healthcare intervention we have against chronic disease.” John La Puma, TEDMED 2014. Photo: Jerod Harris for TEDMED.

Why does this talk matter now?

Patients who ask their doctors, “What should I eat for my condition?” really want answers. Meanwhile, clinicians are clamoring for more and better information and training on nutrition. Culinary medicine is a new evidence-based field in medicine that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine to yield high-quality meals and beverages which aim to improve the patient’s condition. It is already being taught in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.

What impact do you hope the talk will have?

I hope that the talk will help accelerate the cultural shift in healthcare towards wellness and well-being as primary goals in medicine. People need to know that some physicians care deeply about helping them become well with what they eat.

What is the legacy you want to leave?

Our mission is to inspire health-conscious consumers to look, feel and actually be measurably healthier by what they eat. The opportunity to use culinary medicine to prevent and treat disease is substantial, and culinary medicine should be considered as part of both the medical history and treatment plan in medicine.

How would medicine change if your ideas become reality?

All clinicians should be able to write culinary medicine prescriptions and know how food, like medicine, works in the body. I’d like to see condition-specific food and lifestyle measures become something that clinicians can offer, effectively, before prescription medication for most chronic conditions.

What is your core belief about culinary medicine?

Everyone has a right to clean, healthful, delicious, real food that both satisfies their appetite and makes or keeps them well…before it may be too late to offer more than comfort food.

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

70% of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, memory loss, premature wrinkling and impotence are preventable. 80% of cancers and much of asthma and lung disease are preventable, and from environmental causes, like toxin exposure or diet.*  Knowing more about what’s in your food and how it got there can help you take your own health into your own hands, save you money and provide joy and energy for those you love. With culinary medicine, health-conscious people can live life to its youngest.

Ask your doctor, “What do I eat for my condition?”  If he or she doesn’t know, do your own research- here’s my list of resources.

Now it’s time to try John’s Luscious & Rich Garbanzo Guacamole recipe!

1 ripe medium avocado, preferably Haas

1 medium clove of garlic, peeled, diced and creamed with lime zest

1 medium serrano chile pepper, stemmed and diced, but not seeded

1/4 teaspoon minced lime zest, preferably organic

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 medium lime)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, COOC preferred

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder, such as Madras curry

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

5 sturdy springs cilantro or Italian flat leaf parsley (optional)

Cut the avocado in half long-wise around the pit and separate the halves. Remove the pit.

Use a spoon to scoop around the flesh and remove it in one piece.

Place upside down on a cutting board, dice into large chunks. Scoop up and place in a large stainless steel bowl.

Add the garlic, chile, zest, juice and oil, and mix by hand with a fork or a tablespoon.

Smash the chickpeas with the flat side of a chef’s knife, to break the skin. Sprinkle the curry and black pepper on the garbanzos, add to the bowl, mix again, and top with herb garnish if desired.

Serve with corn tortillas or toasted chips, sliced jicama triangles and sliced cucumber circles. Enjoy!

Nutritional Data Per Serving (3 servings):193 calories, 17 g carbs, 14 g fat, 3 g protein, 125 mg sodium, 7 gram fiber.

Adapted from La Puma J. “ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine”, Crown, 2008.

(c) John La Puma, MD, Santa Barbara, CA, 10.2013

*See John’s TEDMED bio page for references and resources that support these claims.

How ultrasound became a disruptive innovation

Resa Lewiss, Director of Point-of-Care Ultrasound and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Radiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, unlocked imaginations about ultrasound applications in her talk at TEDMED2014. She explained why and how ultrasound at the bedside has become a game changer for clinical care.

She recently took a moment from her duties in Denver to share more about her work and impressions of TEDMED.

Resa Lewiss: How Ultrasound Has Become a Disruptive Innovation
Reas Lewiss at TEDMED2014. Photo by Sandy Huffaker for TEDMED

What motivated you to speak at TEDMED?

I attended TEDMED2013 in Washington DC. I was inspired by the people, the space and the vision of TEDMED. I believe that the arts inspire creativity and innovation. And innovation begets innovation. I live the aphorism mens sana in corpore sano, [a sound mind in a sound body]. TEDMED does too.

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

This talk will hopefully deconstruct healthcare silos. Point-of-care in partnership with ultrasound can be a concept that is difficult to comprehend. I hope to have connected the dots between the technology and the resultant improvement in patient care- for health care providers, people in tech and people in the world. The safety profile, time efficiency and cost effectiveness are self-evident.

Tell us about the top 3 TEDMED2014 talks or performances that left an impression with you.

Jill Vialet: Sobering reminder for ourselves and loved ones. Play is healthy.

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz: Back to basics, obvious and inherent and yet never quite articulated in this way before.

Bob Carey: Honest and emotional. Much respect for his willingness to show his vulnerability; a sobering performance.

Robin Guenther: She hit it on the head. Who is looking out for the healing and healers? Thank goodness she is. Mens sana in corpore sano.

What is the legacy you want to leave?

One of quality, integrity, justice, honesty, excellence, and mindfulness.

Contact Resa to learn more about how to encourage point-of-care ultrasound curricula integration at all medical schools and for all providers.

Resa Lewiss at TEDMED2014. Photo by Sandy Huffaker for TEDMED.