TEDMED 2013 Moments

Apr 23, 2013, 4:37 PM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team


"TEDMED is the Burning Man for health aficionados," said Robin Hogen, RWJF's vice president for communications, one of several RWJF team members who attended the event in Washington, D.C., last week. The event brings together "public health advocates, clinicians, biomedical researchers, break-the-mold thinkers, prodigies, grateful patients and artists," Hogen said. TEDMED offers a unique opportunity to interact with a brilliant array of people who have one thing in common: finding new approaches to improving health and health care -- an objective that's near and dear to Pioneer's mission. It's not surprising, then, that a number of Pioneer grantees spoke at this year's event.

Here are a few moments from TEDMED 2013 that stood out for RWJF staff:

Crowdsourcing Science

At dinner one evening, I sat next to Jessica Richman, a speaker at the conference and the CEO of uBiome, a startup that engages average citizens in works of science -- aka 'citizen science.' Citizen science efforts often involve crowd-sourcing and can enable non-scientists to engage in scientific research. In the case of uBiome, citizens can sequence their microbiomes -- the colonies of microbes that live in our noses, mouths, guts and other places. uBiome wants to understand better how these microbes influence our health. I learned a lot about large-scale citizen science and how we might integrate it with our work."

- Paul Tarini, Senior Program Officer, Pioneer

Rapping and Reinventing a City's Health Care System

I had a great conversation with Zubin Damania, aka ZDoggMD, a few hours after he gave a talk about his work in Las Vegas with Tony Hsieh of Zappos.  Zubin (an internist and rapper) is working with Tony and developing, from the ground up, a local health care system for the old downtown in Las Vegas, where Zappos has relocated. They're talking to Rushika Fernandopulle, co-founder of Iora Health in Boston, which has an innovative primary care model that aims to 'confer agency on patients and allow them to better realign costs and quality.' I'm excited to follow the Downtown Project and see what lessons it might yield for our grantees."

- Hilary Heishman, Program Officer, Quality/Equality

Swimming Wheelchairs

I saw everything from a wheelchair that could 'swim' to a motor-scooter-based first responder corps that treated over 200,000 people in Israel last year without charging a penny."

- Robin Hogen, Vice President, Communications

Social Determinants of Health -- and London Hikes

I met entrepreneur Manik Bhat, CEO of Healthify, a Baltimore-based startup working to make it easier for doctors to address psychosocial factors that impact people's health. I'll be taking that connection back to some of RWJF's super-utilizer work; Bhat's work is also affecting my own thinking about how providers might be able to make the business case to health plans for providing some level of non-medical care. I also met Jim Bonnette, Partner and Chief Medical Officer for Oliver Wyman's Health and Life Sciences Practice, who spoke to front-line problems medical practices across the country are facing as they think about shifting toward more value-based care delivery models. And I met Steve Sternberg, deputy health rankings editor at US News & World Report, who's wrestling with the best ways to present hospital quality information. I even got some recommendations for great hikes in London from an NIH scholar. I plan to draw on several of these connections as I think about my team's work going forward (and as I plan my British vacation!)."

- Andrea Ducas, Program Associate, Quality/Equality team

If you attended the conference, what were some of your favorite moments?

Read more reactions from RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars who attended TEDMED 2013 on the Human Capital Blog. For more information, visit the TEDMED website or follow TEDMED on Twitter at @tedmed. You can also watch past TEDMED talks by RWJF grantees.



This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.