What are You Breaking Through?

That's the questions to delegates at the 2015 TEDMED event. Thanks to the Fellowship with the Bush Foundation I am able to attend this premier gathering. TED talks are now iconic for the sharing of ideas and inspiration. TEDMED takes that speaking and event formula and applies it to health and medicine.

In just a single day, I've met and listened to some of the most brilliant innovators in health and science. As a historian of sorts, the closest comparison to what TEDMED is might be the famed academies or lectures in England in the 1800s -- minus the formal wear and with the inclusion of women and minorities.

Two incredible examples.... 

 With U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy at TEDMED, November 20, 2015, Palm Springs, CA.

With U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy at TEDMED, November 20, 2015, Palm Springs, CA.

One of the speakers, Sam Sternberg, is with CRISPR and innovating CRISPR Cas9, a gene splicing and editing technology. Yes, it is possible to cut bad or defective genes with better or repaired gene sequences. This is not science fiction. And to hear first hand the discovery, development, evolution, and application of what was once science fiction is mind-blowing.

You'd likely think that someone like Dr. Sternberg is unreachable, but the wonderful thing about the TEDMED experience is accessibility to the speakers; which takes me to the second example.

The U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, gave an impassioned talk about the important role happiness plays in our health. I'm going to write separately on this topic. Following General Murthy's talk, I had the chance to spend five minutes talking to him and his chief of staff about addiction and the work of Face It TOGETHER. He was deeply interested. His office is preparing a report on the state of addiction and addiction care in the U.S. That brief interaction will hopefully lead to a follow-up conversation with General Murthy's office and input into his report.

This is the TEDMED experience. Brilliant and impassioned people from all over the world have convened to learn about breakthroughs in health and medicine and to share their breakthroughs, both big and small. 

We advance as a people and a civilization because of curiosity and drive toward something better. How are you breaking through in our home, your life, your community, or your work? What barriers are standing in the way from a life and a world that you want to live and you want to leave for your children?

The inspiration at TEDMED is that you do not need to be the inventor of gene editing technology, but simply be a compassionate and curious human being.