If a media time grab could give a snapshot of the unique and varied personalities that comprise the TEDMED community, these past couple of weeks might suffice.
Ankita Rao of Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with USAToday, profiled physician/rapper/community healthcare innovator Zubin Damania, who spoke this April, about his often, um, “indelicate” viral videos that poke fun at pop culture while at the same time delivering valuable PSAs on health, or offering acerbic commentary on the state of healthcare. His wit has a serious side, though:
Damania delivered a talk at the 2013 TEDMED conference in Washington in April called “Are Zombie Doctors Taking Over America?” In it, he offered his take on the physician lifestyle right now: a hazy mix of rounds in the hospital, hours on the phone with insurance companies, tedious paperwork and getting home late, only to worry about mistakes made somewhere along the way.
“There are so many pieces, but fundamentally the human relationship is ignored in this system,” he said.
How does the world die? In a piece titled, “Life, Not Death, is Focus of New Health Metrics,” Discover magazine reported on Christopher JL Murray‘s breakthrough global health data measuring system and it’s surprising revelations about how disease risk factors vary according to where and how we live, and new definitions of infirmity and wellness. As Jeremy Smith wrote:
Around the world, for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claimed roughly twice the number of lives as HIV/AIDS in 2010, but HIV/AIDS was much more fatal to young people, and therefore appears higher in the DALY ranking. Likewise, as risk factors, not eating enough fruit out-rivals illicit drug use. For years, experts have said that most of the world’s major childhood diseases could be eliminated with clean water. What global burden suggests is that while lack of access to water and sanitation is a concern, five times worse for the world is indoor smoke from cookstoves, a major contributor to respiratory illnesses, communicable diseases, cardiovascular problems and cancers.
Watch Murray discuss and see more examples from his TEDMED talk:
Another maverick, TEDMED 2013 speaker Sandeep Kishore, appeared in the pages of Weill Cornell Medicine magazine in a piece by Beth Saulnier, titled, “The Doer,” about Kishore’s global health activism. He’s the founder of The Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network, a group promoting research, policy and advocacy work targeting NCDs; has worked on a half-dozen submissions to the WHO; serves on the board of the NGO Universities Allied for Essential Medicines; has won a Howard Hughes Fellowship — and he’s still in med school.
And TEDMED Managing Editor Lisa Shufro offered a peek behind our stage curtains in the Huffington Post, profiling David Blaine — who gave one of TEDMED’s most watched talks ever in 2009 — and what might scare him even more than repeatedly risking his life on death-defying stunts.