April 13, 2012 Leave a comment
Wow. That’s all I can say after three unbelievable days attending the inaugural TEDMED DC event. My head is swelling with ideas and inspiration and innovative opportunities for population health. It was unlike any “event” I’ve ever attended and it sets a new standard for education and networking.
What’s it all about? TED stands for “technology,” “entertainment,” “design.” There were performance artist poetry slams about thinking outside the box that literally took my breath away. There were personal vignettes about surviving breast cancer by the President and CEO of the Red Cross. There were discussions about the technology of food, of fitness, of wellness, of illness. So much of this conference had a population health theme that is perfectly aligned with CCA’s goals and the work of our industry leaders. It was all just presented in a way that makes you think harder and better and more collaboratively.
A common thread through nearly every presentation, I found, was the importance of personal wellbeing and responsibility. Obesity was a key theme and presented from various perspectives. A huge takeaway for me: Obesity is directly linked to one-third of all cancers. Encouraging healthful behaviors at a community and social network level was another key issue and was the top choice of TEDMED delegates in the Great Challenges of health and medicine. Kudos to Challenge Advocate Rajiv Kumar, Founder and Chief Medical Officer, ShapeUp, for promoting the “Inventing Wellness Programs that Work” Challenge. Rest assured, you got several of my votes!
Finally, let me state emphatically: TEDMED, don’t change a thing for next year in DC. I ran into a few of my DC colleagues who work in other health industry organizations this week and, in the words of one, they just “didn’t get it.” Yes, it’s different. Yes, it’s all “West Coast-y.” It is NOT your same old, same old conference with a bunch of boring policy wonks and PowerPoints. Not all of the speakers were equally enthralling (although most of the ones I saw were) but there was certainly a nugget or grain of an idea in every single one that spurred a conversation and possibly another innovation down the road. This conference is about IDEAS and PEOPLE and NEW WAYS OF THINKING. It was also a great equalizer in that the vast cross section of delegates attended to meet and explore. There was no hierarchy, just idea sharing. It was, simply, awesome.
—Tracey Moorhead, President & CEO