Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

TEDMED 2014, now processing…

If the mark of a great conference is coming away with a brain so full you think it might explode with imagination, then TEDMED 2014 achieved greatness.

TEDMEDbadgepicIt’s days later, and I’m still processing everything I heard from the stage and learned from my fellow delegates in offstage conversations. I’m more than a little relieved to know that others who were there feel the same way. One person wrote me in an email, “I’m still mentally tired/processing things.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Certainly, during the three-day conference I recognized some major themes that resonated, at least for me. I suspect every delegate came away with different impressions based on the emphasis of their work and their personal viewpoints. But we have one thing in common: We were all there because we care deeply about shaping the future of health and medicine. And the inspiration we absorbed will fuel our work for months, if not years, to come.

While the ideas for my blog post simmer, I put together a Storify of tweets shared live at the event, to collect my thoughts and pass them on to others. They’re the ideas that stood out for me, by tickling my brain, touching my heart — or both.

If you were at TEDMED, I’d love to hear what you found most inspiring or meaningful. Share your thoughts in the comments and I may include them in an upcoming post.

Let’s keep the imaginative conversation going.

(Re)setting expectations for TEDMED 2014

What do I expect from TEDMED 2014?

Nothing. And I mean that in the best possible way.

20130417-002033.jpgI am eager to approach the experience with the same open-minded innocence I had last year, my first time as a TEDMED delegate. Because I didn’t know what to expect, I was rewarded with one surprise after another, one chance encounter after another, one new idea after another washing over me.

Going in to last year’s conference, I did know this, from TEDMED’s own description:

TEDMED is a global community dedicated to unlocking imagination in service of health and medicine. Our goal is to seed the innovations of today, making possible the breakthroughs of tomorrow…for a healthier, more vibrant humanity.

I knew I’d be meeting some of the most groundbreaking, creative minds in health and medicine, in person and onstage. I knew I’d be challenged to look at sickness and healing in entirely new ways. I knew I’d be in for an adventure.

20130418-221717.jpgI was certainly right about all that. But there was so much more, true to last year’s theme of “unexpected connections.”

At TEDMED 2013 I made invaluable connections, both in my brain and in the real world of the healthcare education and advocacy work I do. This year, I hope to come away with the same.

I don’t expect this year to be exactly the same, in part because I’m not the same person I was 18 months ago. Really, none of us are. Certainly, the fields of health and medicine aren’t. Neither is my professional and personal network.

photoDuring and after the conference, I became an active member of the TEDMED Great Challenges community, which explores the most complex issues in health and medicine today — “knotty issues that cannot be fixed with a simple cure and require a deeper understanding to truly resolve.” I’m always pondering the Great Challenges topic closest to my heart, The Role of the Patient. Since last year’s conference, I’ve moderated live online events for TEDMED Great Challenges and contributed a post to the TEDMED blog.

I made some phenomenal personal and professional connections, including one that led to the work I do now with Consumer Reports Health for the Choosing Wisely campaign.

WalkingGalleryJacketLast year, I also had conversations at TEDMED with my friend Juliet Rogers about Functional Medicine, which introduced me to a philosophy of healthcare that I now practice, and it has utterly transformed my health. That’s why you’ll see me at TEDMED 2014 wearing my jacket painted by Regina Holliday, as a member of The Walking Gallery and in celebration of my newfound wellness.

The speakers and delegates I will learn from and meet this year won’t be the same as last year, and I don’t expect the experience to be the same. In fact, I hope it’s not.

Because TEDMED is immersive, I can’t promise to blog every day. But, if it’s anything like last year, I’ll want to share my experience, even if it means losing a little sleep in the process. As I recall, I returned to my hotel every night far too stimulated to fall asleep right away.

That part, I hope will be just the same as last year, no matter where inspiration and my imagination lead me.

Follow along with my experience on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, and check back here for updates.

Read all my posts from last year here.

This Moment, This Meeting

My brain is full after my first day at TEDMED. So is my soul.

As I wrote in my last post, I knew this would be an adventure of open-minded imagination. But I didn’t expect the first presenter to articulate it so clearly — or creatively.

I’d never heard of Kishi Bashi before. I’ll never forget him now.


Ignore, for the moment, that I fell instantly in love with his music. He’s a singer and multi-instrumentalist with heart and humor.

But it’s something he said that really struck me: “This moment, this meeting.” He was reminding us to stay present in the moment, something artists do whenever they create. It’s just as powerful if you’re working in medicine, science, education, communications or public policy. It’s a powerful part of living life to the fullest no matter what.

I had the good fortune to hear Surgeon General Regina Benjamin talk about bringing the joy back into being healthy. I got to listen as Rafael Yuste of Columbia University spoke about his dream of climbing to the summit of medical science: mapping the human brain, as he will do with the BRAIN Initiative.

There was so much more, but one of the most inspiring voices of the night was America Bracho, Executive Director of Latino Health Access, who promotes wellness by getting volunteers engaged in working for the health of their own community alongside professionals.

“Tell the story of hope,” she said. She wants us to tell the story of how the health of poor communities can be transformed by encouraging people to get involved.

Before coming to TEDMED, we were asked what one word best describes what drives us to innovate.

My one word? Hope.

After the opening session of TEDMED, I certainly have high hopes for the days ahead. And I’ll savor every moment as it comes.


UPDATE: After re-watching Kishi Bashi’s presentation, I realize his actual quote was “One moment, one meeting.” But his message of being in the moment — each moment — made its impact just the same.