The opening of TEDMED 2013 brought several distinct and separate ideas together into one common voice asking, “how do we make health better by looking outside of healthcare?”
An African proverb shared during the session seemed to embody the spirit of TEDMED… If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Seeing with a Broader Lens was an appropriate title for the opening session as the audience was clearly challenged to look at the possibilities of what could be. Dr. Rafael Yuste summed it up very nicely when he told us the real question is not what you can do, but what do you want to do? He’d like to map the human brain and as the neuroscientist behind the Brain Mapping Project, it looks like he’s going to get the opportunity.
Do art and healthcare go together? According to John Maeda they do and after listening to him talk for just a few minutes you’re shaking your head in agreement. John spoke about design thinking, a human focused way of addressing and solving a problem. An excellent example in healthcare are the redesigned prescription bottles currently in use at Target pharmacies.
Danny Hillis challenged us forward thinking healthcare professionals when he said ‘prevention is so 20th century’. What? Prevention is the goal. No, preemption is the goal. Health is not binary; there are more stages than sickness and health. He sees the most interesting place in medicine as the point when the body fails and begins to move from health to sickness. Identifying the variables that signal this failure will allow healthcare professionals to preemptively manage patients in very individual ways. Preemption is so 21st century.
The most articulate presentation of the opening session was by far that of America Bracho. Her ideas around community are simple yet profound. She is truly making a difference at the most basic level of life – our communities where we live and thrive on a daily basis. She stared with the idea that you can’t create solutions from behind a deck. The community, those impacted by the situation, must lead the change. Simple idea, common sense but often not how things work. She is a firm believer that despite our position in life we all have ideas and knowledge to share, we all bring assets to the table. We all have a voice and we all want to be heard. She challenged us to look at life with a broader lens. When we see a powerless, hopeless, devastated community look at the alternative story of hope, change, empowerment and inclusion.
Let’s get the TEDMED discussion going…
What did you think of the TEDMED 2013 opening session?
Which speaker moved you the most? Why?