The art of TEDMED speakers from RISD

In an intellectual and creative adventure, five Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) faculty members and 20 students have contributed their talents by creating portraits of TEDMED’s 2013 speakers.

In his STEM to STEAM initiative, RISD President John Maeda — who will be on stage at TEDMED 2013 as a speaker — is attempting to transform thinking about the role of art and design in civic life, in commerce, and as an agent of innovation in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

RISD’s Illustration Department has long pursued partnerships in learning through its practical course offerings and partnerships with academic, corporate and research institutions, working side-by-side with physicians, scientists, computer programmers and engineers.

“With the TEDMED project we jumped at the chance to immerse our students and faculty in worlds of inquiry that have broadened our enthusiasm and scope of understanding about the terrific work these people are doing,” said Robert Brinkerhoff, Professor and Illustration Department Head at RISD.

“That partnership alone has expanded the thinking of the illustrators involved in the project, but we must also recognize that artists and designers are able to formulate deep questions and observations that can help propel research and discovery into new territories. Behind all innovation are eloquent, imaginative, creative personae and it’s been an absolute pleasure to convey the energy underlying such fascinating enterprise,” he said.

The portraits will be featured in the TEDMED conference book and throughout the event.

In six words, what’s your vision for the future of health?

When TEDMED convenes this week at the Kennedy Center, we know we’ll have some of the brightest, most forward-thinking medical innovators of our time in one place. And we can’t wait for the discussions and conversations that will take place about the future of health — resulting in big thoughts, big ideas and big changes.

But sometimes, to get to the big ideas, you have to boil your thoughts down to their essence. Inspired by the legend of Ernest Hemingway once winning a short-story contest using only six words, when Delegates registered we asked them to develop their own health story:

In exactly six words, tell us your hopes for the future of health and medicine. 

We selected a few of our favorites — read them below. And for a sense of the larger picture, check out the Wordle word cloud above. It’s drawn from nearly 1,500 six-word responses from TEDMED Delegates and gives a sense of the overarching themes that are top-of-mind in healthcare today.

  • People living longer in full health
  • Breakthrough business models driving better health
  • Prevention is better than a cure
  • Affordable preventive care, promoting individual responsibility
  • Human networks, collaborative discovery, thoughtful personalization
  • Greater understanding and impact through communication

How would you state your vision for the future of health and medicine in exactly six words?

Diverse group of speakers for TEDMED’s 2013 lineup

TEDMED’s mission is to gather multi-disciplinary voices to enlighten, entertain and inspire conversation and new possibilities. Hence the latest additions to our diverse and phenomenal speaker lineup:

One child may be a piano prodigy; another may have Down’s syndrome. Both may equally challenge their families. “Far From the Tree: author Andrew Solomon will share stories about how diversity unites us all.

Hear why internal medicine physician Roni Zeiger left his position as Chief Health Strategist at Google to explore the next generation of social media and health.

Pediatric Critical Care Cardiologist John Kheir will show how patients can ‘breathe easier’ with his life-saving injectable oxygen-filled microbubbles.

Food provocateur Michael Hebb will gather us at his table for a challenging conversation.

Palliative care oncologist, patient advocate, and former NASA programmer Amy Abernethy focuses on the intersection of big data and patient rights.

Visit for more information and to apply to hear these speakers in person this April at the Kennedy Center.

Seven more TEDMED speakers for 2013

This year, the TEDMED Editorial Team received more than 1,600 nominations for speakers. What could the 50 or so who are speaking at TEDMED 2013 possibly have in common?

The Team answers with three words: Inspiration, insight and impact. The inspiration to take a novel, even provocative approach; insight that’s valuable across disciplines; and work that promises to have a broad impact in health and medicine.

Today, seven more speakers were added to the roster for TEDMED 2013 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.:

Visit for more information and to apply for the event.

TEDMED announces first speakers for 2013

TEDMED 2013 has announced its first group of 10 speakers who will take the Opera House stage at the Kennedy Center this April 16-19th.

They are:

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Chancellor, Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor:  Can we innovate better by throwing out our favorite tools?

Elazer Edelman, Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Professor, Health Sciences and Technology, MIT Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Director, Harvard-MIT Biomedical Engineering Center; Senior Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital:  How can cosmology be leveraged for medical innovation?

Elizabeth Marincola, President, Society for Science and the Public:  With open access, who translates medical research?

Larry Smarr,  Founding Director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology:  Can you coordinate the dance of your body’s 100 trillion microorganisms?

Sue Austin, Artist, Freewheeling:  When is a wheelchair an ultra-light submarine?

Deborah Estrin, Professor, Computer Science, Cornell Tech, NYC Professor, Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College Co-founder, Open mHealth:  Biometric apps — can there be too much of a good thing?

John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design:  Can we design our way to better medical visualization?

Issac Kohane, Professor of Pediatrics and Health Sciences Technology, Harvard Medical School:  How can every clinical visit be used to advance medical science?

Peter Attia, Founder and President, Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI):  Is the “obesity crisis” just a disguise for a deeper problem?

Christopher J.L. Murray, Institute Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME):  What does a $100 million public health data revolution look like?

See for more details and to apply for a conference invitation.