Alexa “Lexy” Dantzler, a Intel Science Talent Search 2013 finalist and winner of the Glenn T. Seaborg Award, was one of five Society for Science & the Public student alumni to be provided a complimentary scholarship from TEDMed to attend the TEDMed 2013 conference held in Washington, DC this April.
In April, I was given the opportunity to attend the TEDMed 2013 conference at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. After entering and checking in for the event, I made my way over to “The Hive,” a large tent where innovative medical technology systems were on display by start-up companies. I learned so much about different technologies that were on the forefront of medical innovations. For example, I learned about a technology system that tracks a patient’s medical history and laboratory results and interfaces that information in real time to predict trends in the patient’s health. Such a system could help a physician see a trend and potentially prevent hospitalization for the patient. I also learned about an interesting company called Brain Sentry that built a model helmet for athletes that senses when the athlete suffers a potentially harmful impact. This information is then sent to parents and medical specialists who can then analyze the data.
After learning about these innovative and advanced technology systems, I made my way over to the Opera House where I listened to the first seminar of TEDMed. Over the course of the event, I heard physicians, researchers, politicians, strategists, singers, artists, writers, and SSP’s very own Elizabeth Marincola speak about different trends and important topics in the fields of health, medicine, and research. Many of these TEDMed talks focused on the importance of personalized, preemptive, and predictive medicine. Other speakers spoke about the need for a more comprehensive and organized patient medical history to track trends in a patient’s health and stressed the importance of transparency of information from the doctors to the patients and of the entire patient experience.
The TEDMed talks were centered around a central theme: the need to enhance patient care. The TEDMed team made it known to the attending audience that health and medicine are not a one-way street. While doctors need to be knowledgeable and personable, patients have to be proactive as well. After dancing on stage with other members of the audience and Richard Simmons, listening to the Surgeon General speak about her role in working to help America to become more fit, and meeting current medical students and doctors, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at TEDMed and am even more inspired and excited to pursue my goal of attaining my MD/PhD in order to extend the applications of science in the service of humanity.