TEDMED's Great Challenges in Health and Medicine

Dates of Project: February 2012 through December 2014

Description: TEDMED launched Great Challenges in Health and Medicine to spur people from both medical and nonmedical fields to explore them, through both in-person and online workshops and discussions driven by the innovative use of social media.

“Much of America’s work and conversation on critical health issues takes place in silos.”—Shirley Bergin, COO of TEDMED

“The answers aren’t going to come from any one of us—they’re going to come from all of us.”—Jay Scott Walker, chair of TEDMED

Key Results

  • The Great Challenges team reported these results:

    • In April 2013, TEDMED staff convened a three-and-a-half-day conference at the Kennedy Center in Washington, featuring TED-style talks on health and health care. The event drew 1,800 onsite attendees and another 30,000 who participated via the Web.
    • At a three-and-a-half-day TEDMED conference in April 2012, some 10,000 conference participants—including those online—voted to choose the top-20 great challenges in health and health care from a list of 51.
    • Project staff launched an online communications platform that included a project website, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, a YouTube channel, and blogs, to engage a broad community in conversations on the top-20 challenges. Online engagement via these outlets grew dramatically.
    • TEDMED convened a Great Challenges Day in Washington in April 2013 that drew 532 onsite participants and others at 10 remote sites, including nine schools in the health professions and one TEDMED site.