What do I expect from TEDMED 2014?
Nothing. And I mean that in the best possible way.
I 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.
I 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.
During 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.
Last 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.