2017 Stage Program

As we work to make advances that will shape a healthier humanity, progress is incremental but vision is unbounded. We create a healthier world by working in that fertile zone between the limited (knowledge, resources, time) and the limitless (imagination, creativity, curiosity)

This year's event will focus on that productive tension between “what is” and “what if,” the inspiration that continues to drive us further into what's possible. Together, we are limitless. 

Session 1:


A wide-angle view of a limitless landscape

5:00 - 8:00 pm | Wednesday, November 1 

In this panoramic overview, we’ll explore a wide range of key issues in health and medicine where forward-thinking leaders, doers and activists are shattering today’s limits and seeking to unleash tomorrow’s possibilities. In this session, we'll address a diverse set of topics, such as designing healthcare systems from scratch, creating mini-brains in the lab to advance neuroscience, the ethics of CRISPR and new scientific discoveries, patient advocacy and caregiving, combating isolation and loneliness, primate precedents for human social hierarchies, leveraging system-level properties of immunity, and caring for Ebola survivors. 

Alta Charo
CRISPR Bioethicist
Frans de Waal
Biologist and Primatologist
Soka Moses
Ebola Combatant
Sophie Andrews
Helpline Hero
Zoë Keating
Defender of Medical and Musical Rights
Steven McCarroll
Genetic Disease Decoder
Ximena Lopez
Gender Identity Guide

Session 2:


Imagining progress and possibilities for a healthier world

8:00 - 9:30 am | Thursday, November 2

Back by popular demand, a new class of Hive entrepreneurs will take the stage to share how their visionary ideas and boundary-breaking innovations are affecting change in every area of health and medicine. Through a series of short talks, this session will feature disruptive thinkers and game-changing ideas in areas like medical tech and devices, life science and therapeutics, digital and mobile health, healthcare systems, care delivery, reimbursement models and IT, public health, advancing science, and more. 

Learn more about the 2017 Hive Innovators

Abner Mason, ConsejoSano

Aleks Radovic-Moreno, Alivio Therapeutics

Amy Schulman, Lyndra

Chee Yeun Chung, Yumanity 

Dan Sobek, Kernel

Gabriel Otte, Freenome

Harith Rajagopalan, Fractyl

James Field, LabGenius

Jo Schneier, Cognotion

Justin Barad, Osso VR

Karen Hogan, BioRealize

Kate Rosenbluth, Cala Health

Kevin Lyman, Enlitic

Mudit Garg, Qventus

Nadja Oertelt, Massive Science

Omar Abudayyeh, Broad Institute

Sara Vander Zanden, The BLOCK Project

Siddarth Satish, Gauss 

Session 3:


Removing barriers that limit access & harm health

10:00 am - 12:00 pm | Thursday, November 2

Transcending limits and making good health available to all sometimes requires us to collaborate and forge common ground. Talks in this session feature topics where the traditional barriers to accessing care and achieving well-being are being lifted, such as new approaches to addressing opioid addiction, expanding social tools to enable technology access for all, providing medical care and guidance for transgender youth, understanding drug development and pricing, drones for good, getting menstruation on the public agenda, and music interpretation for the hearing impaired.

Amber Galloway Gallego
Sign Language Music Interpreter
Keenan Wyrobek
Life-saving Drone Deployer
Guo-li Ming
Brain Organoid Pioneer
Jim Johnson
Anti-Opioid Coalition Chief
Linda B. Rosenthal
Period Rights Activist
Matt King
Social Tech Accessibility Visionary
Sara Gorman
Motive Detective

Session 4:


Nurturing a future where good health has no limits

2:00 - 4:00 pm | Thursday, November 2

TEDMED is always exploring fresh, creative ways to amplify the voices of influential leaders. We’re eager to highlight unexpected connections that accelerate innovation in health and medicine. To that end, this year we’re trying something new.

We are delighted to have Dr. Richard Besser host a special session called Raising Health. He also helped to curate this session, based in part on input from the TEDMED Editorial Advisory Board. Our collaboration with Dr. Besser brings TEDMED 2017 a number of new speakers who offer unique insights about the role of health and medicine in society, specifically concerning our children. Dr. Besser will also host the Raising Health session, offering the perspective of a highly respected thought leader whose work continues to advance the health of our nation and the world.  

Raising Health explores a wide range of places and issues — from the prenatal brain, to the impact of Medicaid — where we are transcending yesterday’s limits on a healthy society. Topics in this session include how prenatal development happens somewhat differently in males’ and females’ brains; how caregivers learned to diagnose and care effectively for babies with Zika; the paradoxically combined burdens of obesity and food insecurity; racial literacy in schools and neighborhoods; how community resources — even public libraries — are evolving to meet the opioid crisis; how access to insurance can impact our health; and how health inequities exacerbate the impact of immigration and new environments on the gut microbiome. 

Guest Curator and Co-Host

As a pediatrician, Rich Besser's passion for improving children's health formed the foundation of a career committed to public health. A strong believer in the power of communication to inform health and health decisions. Rich spent eight years as ABC News' chief health and medical editor, where he reported on important local and global health stories for families across the nation. Prior to ABC News, Rich held a number of positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he notably led the agency's response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic as its acting director in 2009. Rich became President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in April. He is committed to building a comprehensive "Culture of Health" that provides everyone in America with the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. 


Camila Ventura
Zika Family Caregiver
Chera Kowalski
First Responder Librarian
Dan Knights
Computational Microbiologist
Heidi Allen
Health Access Investigator
Howard Stevenson
Racial Literacy Psychologist
Jill Goldstein
Clinical Neuroscientist
Sandy Hassink
Pediatric Obesity Fighter

Session 5:


Pushing back limits with current knowledge

6:00 - 8:00 pm | Thursday, November 2

Overcoming today’s limits in health and medicine means confronting gaps in our knowledge. This session will update us on what we know (and what we don't), and will keep us abreast of fascinating developments in areas such as artificial intelligence, cancer immunotherapy, how autoimmune disease impacts the brain, global health as an instrument for peace, and the perils of practicing medicine in war time.

Betty Diamond
Autoimmune Disease Detective
Bill Frist
Global Diplomacy Doc
Greg Corrado
Human-Machine Connector
Lennie Sender
Cancer Guru
Leila Fadel
Intrepid Journalist
Dr. Farida
Aleppo First Responder
Peter Bach
Drug Development and Pricing Navigator

Session 6:


Escaping yesterday’s limits on better health

9:00 - 11:00 am | Friday, November 3

New technologies, treatments and paradigms that were unthinkable a few short years ago have now become “the new normal.” What’s becoming possible in today’s labs, clinics, and treatment centers is redefining how we’re addressing health challenges on many fronts. This session explores novel forms of male contraception; the genetics of brain science; harm reduction strategies to combat addiction; uniting patients, providers, families and communities to shape medical care; hedonic city maps that reveal emotion and connect communities; and why we tend to ignore the facts that will save us. 

Agnes Binagwaho
Post-Genocide Healthcare Architect
Shai Shen-Orr
Systems Immunologist
Jennifer Chenoweth
Human Experience Cartographer
John Amory
Mark Tyndall
Drug Addiction Epidemiologist
Meg Gaines
Health Partnerships Lawyer

Session 7:


The limitless horizons of health and medicine

1:00 - 3:00 pm | Friday, November 3

What does the long-term future of health and medicine look like? While the road ahead may be filled with barriers to overcome, each of those challenges represents new paths ready to be explored. This session will preview some of the most vexing limits we face today, as well as some of the most promising paths that lie ahead. Topics featured in this session include driving innovation in precision medicine, preventing incurable genetic diseases via three-person fertility treatments, the future of environmentalism and its relation to our health, conquering the impact of stress on our potential to succeed, and what we might learn if our bodies could talk. 

Amitabh Chandra
Health Policy Renegade
James Hamblin
Human Body Correspondent
Mary Herbert
Reproductive Health Protector
Michael Hendryx
Environmental Truth Extractor
Sian Leah Beilock
Performance Under Pressure Sage



Below, we introduce you to an impressive group of seven co-hosts and the executive producer who will guide us through the TEDMED 2017 program. We’re honored to have Dr. Rich Besser host a special session titled Raising Health. Rich co-curated Raising Health in collaboration with our Editorial Advisory Board, shaping the session's themes and speakers around the ideas that personally inspire him. The other 6 co-hosts are members of our Editorial Advisory Board, and each has played an integral role in developing this year’s stage program. We’re grateful for these individuals, as well as for the full Editorial Advisory Board, and the important contributions and collaborations they bring to TEDMED throughout the year.
Sandeep "Sunny" Kishore
Global Health Changemaker
Session 1: ALL IN ALL
Stacey Chang
Ambassador for Design in Health
Session 2: AUDACIOUS
Lucy Kalanithi
Rich Besser
Pediatric Health Reformer
Celine Gounder
Storytelling Disease Detective
Kafui Dzirasa
Brain Engineer
Vanessa Ruiz
Artistic Anatomy Curator
Session 7: OPEN ROAD
Shirley Bergin
Superhero in Residence