Chronic disease is America’s leading cause of premature death and disability. Heart disease, cancer, respiratory illness and certain others are among the most costly and common health problems, yet they are often among the most easily prevented and controlled.
How can we innovate better approaches to help patients prevent, manage and treat their chronic diseases and achieve better outcomes?
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Meet the Challenge Team
The Challenge Team Members are leaders in their fields and reflect multi-disciplinary, passionate and thoughtful perspectives for the Challenge they represent.
Challenge Team members participate in the discussion held by the Great Challenges community, and will be creating responses to questions submitted by the community on the discussion tab.
Amy Tenderich is a journalist, blogger, and patient advocate who started DiabetesMine.com after her diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes in 2003. Her site has become a leading online destination for people with diabetes and one of the top health blogs around the country and the world. In 2006, she won the LillyforLife Achievement Award for diabetes journalism from the Eli Lilly & Company.
She is the co-author, along with Dr. Richard Jackson of the Joslin Diabetes Center, of Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes – a unique motivational guide to the 5 key medical tests that everyone with diabetes should have and monitor regularly.
Amy has made it her personal mission to spur innovation in diabetes care that actually originates with patients. She penned an Open Letter to Steve Jobs in 2007 that went viral, developing into an international crowdsourcing competition called the DiabetesMine Design Challenge. The competition was underwritten by the California HealthCare Foundation, and supported by IDEO, a leading design firm with close ties to Stanford University. The competition culminated in the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit, which Tenderich now hosts each year at Stanford.
Amy is also community manager of DiabeticConnect.com, the fastest growing and most successful social networking site for people with diabetes.
She recently became the Vice President and Chief Patient Advocate at DiabeticConnect’s parent company, Alliance Health Networks. Alliance Health Networks create social networks for people living with chronic conditions. She’s passionate about patient empowerment, and has become a well-known public speaker and advocate for all people with diabetes and engaged e-patients everywhere.
I’ve also made it my mission to spur innovation in diabetes care that actually originates with patients. I launched an international crowdsourcing competition called the DiabetesMine Design Challenge that culminated in the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit event, hosted at Stanford University annually.
In 2011, I jointed Alliance Health Networks, creators of the hugely successful DiabeticConnect patient community, as Vice President of Patient Advocacy.
I am passionate about patient empowerment, and have become a well-known public speaker and advocate for all people with diabetes and all engaged “e-patients” everywhere.
Dileep G. Bal, M.D., is the District Health Officer for the Island of Kauai, and a Clinical Professor at the University of Hawaii in both the Cancer Center and the College of Medicine. Previously, Dr. Bal was with the State of California for over two decades, where he served as Chief of the $250 million Cancer Control Branch. Dr. Bal was the founder and director of California’s legendary Tobacco Control Program. In the late 1970’s Dr. Bal was the Director of Health in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Bal was born and educated mainly in India. He earned graduate degrees in Public Health from both Columbia and Harvard. Dr. Bal has published an extensive amount of medical literature and frequently reviews medical journals. He is a speaker on public health, medical and social issues, both nationally and internationally. He serves on several committees for the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and the Center for Disease Control. He was the commencement speaker at Brown University Medical School in May 2005. He is very active with the American Cancer Society and in 2000-2001; Dr. Bal was the National President of the American Cancer Society.
Ruth Rechis is the Director of Evaluation and Research at the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF). During her more than seven years at LAF, she has worked to establish the office of Evaluation and Research and helped to design, implement, and evaluate numerous programs and resources for people affected by cancer. In her current role Dr. Rechis and her team conduct intramural research, oversee extramural research projects, develop and implement strategic yearly evaluation plans, and provide oversight to the LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence Network. She is also the principal investigator on the LIVESTRONG Survey for People Affected by Cancer, a comprehensive survey assessing the experience of cancer survivors after treatment ends. As a cancer survivor, she has a personal connection to the mission of LAF. Dr. Rechis earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and has published work in journals such as the Journal of Cancer Education and the Journal of Oncology Practice as well as in LIVESTRONG Reports.
As both a researcher and a grantor within the cancer community I have seen hundreds of studies aimed at addressing issues within cancer and have seen what can be successful. In my research, I focus on understanding what cancer survivors need and how to deliver that care to them in a way that meets their needs. Also, I am a cancer survivor.
Hearing those words, you have cancer, and testing the bounds of the health care system for two decades has made me impatient with a system that isn’t good enough yet, but is one that we can change.
Bruce Roberts is the founder and owner of four pharmacies (Leesburg, Purcellville, Lansdowne and The Plains Pharmacies) and a home health care company (Esprit Homecare). He has always has been on the cutting edge in offering innovative pharmacy services, promoting the use of technology in the pharmacy, and in making the pharmacist an integral part of the healthcare team and community. Roberts was named National Community Pharmacist Association’s CEO in 2001. During his tenure as CEO of the NCPA, Roberts was instrumental in creating two companies - SureScripts and Mirixa. SureScripts facilitates the connection between prescribers and pharmacies for the provision of electronic prescribing and has become the predominant means to communicate prescriptions to pharmacies. Mirixa advanced pharmacy into the delivery of clinical services and has since become an industry leader in Medication Therapy Management and other clinical services. Bruce helped implement this platform in Australia where it is now the standard by which clinical services are delivered to patients across the country. Roberts served as the Chairman of the Mirixa Board of directors until his retirement from NCPA.
During my tenure as CEO of the NCPA, I was instrumental in creating two companies - SureScripts and Mirixa – that I believe are two perfect illustrations of the capabilities of pharmacy. SureScripts is a company that facilitates the connection between prescribers and pharmacies and has become the predominant means to communicate prescriptions to pharmacies. Mirixa advanced pharmacy into the delivery of clinical services and has since become an industry leader in Medication Therapy Management and other clinical services. Both are examples of how the advancement of pharmacy plays a critical role in shaping the healthcare industry and delivers an unrivaled level of patient-centric care.
Michael Roizen, M.D. is the Chief Wellness Officer and J. Gorman and Family Chair of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. He is a graduate of Williams College and University of California, San Francisco, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital.
Dr. Roizen is the author of the highly popular “YOU” wellness series, co-written with Dr. Mehmet Oz. Dr. Roizen co-founded RealAge Inc. and the website RealAge.com. The book RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be? became a New York Times #1 bestseller. His books have reached national and international acclaim. He and Dr. Oz write a column syndicated to 101 newspapers worldwide. He and Dr. Oz shared an Elle award in 2008 and the Paul Rodgers award for best medical communicators by the National Library of Medicine.
Dr. Roizen has founded twelve companies and co-invented a drug approved by the FDA. He has appeared more than 18 times on nationally broadcast shows, including Oprah, and hosts a 2-hour weekly radio show. He has given more than 1,400 lectures to professional medical groups and has been recognized with more than 25 professional lectureships.
As Chief Wellness Officer of Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Roizen is committed to promoting healthy habits in an effort to reduce the chronic disease burden in the United States. Healthcare costs continue to rise, mostly because of preventable or manageable chronic diseases. Forty percent of all healthcare expenses stem from three lifestyle choices: physical inactivity, unhealthy eating habits and tobacco use. By targeting these three lifestyle choices, Dr. Roizen believes we can halt - and potentially reverse - the escalating chronic disease rate.
He was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. He is on the board of the San Francisco Food Bank and the J. Craig Venter Institute and established an integrative medicine clinic in the Saint Vincent de Paul homeless shelter in SF. He chaired the Google Health Advisory Council and is Medical Editor of The Huffington Post. The Ornish diet was rated #1 for heart health by U.S. News & World Report in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
He received awards including the “National Public Health Hero” award from the University of California, Berkeley; recognized as “one of the most interesting people of 1996” by People magazine; honored as “one of the 125 most extraordinary University of Texas alumni in the past 125 years;” chosen by LIFE magazine as “one of the fifty most influential members of his generation;” and by Forbes magazine as “one of the seven most powerful teachers in the world.”
Over 75% of the $2.8 trillion in health care costs are due to chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes that can be largely prevented or even reversed by making comprehensive lifestyle changes. Without drugs or surgery. At any age. Today.
Deneen Vojta, MD is Senior Vice President for Business Initiatives and Clinical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group and Chief Clinical Officer of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance. As a member of the core leadership group, she identifies innovative solutions in the marketplace addressing the significant health care challenges facing the nation. In this role, she spearheaded UnitedHealth’s partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Y–USA to launch the National Diabetes Prevention Program, lead the design and study of a scalable child obesity intervention, and partnered with entrepreneurs to disseminate technology delivering health care in the home.
Dr. Vojta previously served as Vice President of Research and Innovation for UnitedHealthcare. Under her leadership, Vojta forged practical and sustainable solutions focusing on payment reform and chronic care delivery – most notably, she introduced a Diabetes Health Plan into the commercial marketplace.
Before joining UnitedHealth, Vojta held several senior management positions in health care. Most recently, she served as CEO of MYnetico, a company she founded to focus on the child obesity epidemic facing the nation. Deneen has 20 years of executive experience in health system and health plan administration. Throughout her career she has successfully partnered with community stakeholders to improve the health care outcomes of her constituents, served as a board member of non-profit healthcare institutions, and received numerous federal and foundation grants to investigate complex health care concerns.
Dr. Deneen Vojta is uniquely positioned to discuss innovative solutions in both health plan design and delivery of care that can help address this global crisis. She can elucidate the value of cross-sector collaboration between public, private, and non-profit organizations in tackling this public health crisis.
Dr. Vojta is a senior physician executive at UnitedHealth Group, where she led the development of various diabetes and prediabetes prevention, control and management programs working with partners such as the YMCA and retail pharmacies. Most recently, Dr. Vojta led UHG’s collaboration with Comcast to deliver the Diabetes Prevention Program through a reality TV series.
Challenge Team Perspectives
We selected 10 questions out of the many submitted by our Great Challenges Community, to be addressed by each of our Team members.
See their responses and perspectives, below.
Question 1What lessons can we learn from the successful management of chronic diseases such as diabetes to better manage chronic mental illnesses?
New pathways to manage chronic illnesses develop every day. Pharmacists are always up-to-date on the latest prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications and supplements. It’s important to track and analyze these methods and responses that yield the best overall health outcomes. Those methods need to then be fed back into the system and shared with all members of the health care team in an effort to form best practices across the industry and synchronize their efforts.
Select a Question to View The Challenge Team's Responses
The following questions were submitted by the TEDMED Community and selected for further discussion. The Team Members have weighed in on each, select below to see their responses:
Amy Tenderich, Dileep G. Bal, MD, MS, MPH, Ruth Rechis-Oelker, PhD, Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, Michael Roizen, MD, Dean Ornish, MD, Deneen Vojta, MDMeet the Team