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Top 10 TED Talks on Public Health
By Staff

The TED Talks series is driven by the desire to bring important and inspiring ideas to the broader public. Here are ten of the most popular TED Talks related to public health.

#1. Bill Davenhall – Your Health Depends on Where You Live


Attention to the environmental aspects of health has been a staple of the public health movement from the beginning. In this fascinating talk, Bill Davenhall explores the possibilities for meshing geographic and demographic data with medical records to improve individual and community health outcomes.

#2. Vic Stretcher – What Inspires True Behavioral Change?


A good coach can make all the difference to the success of an individual or a team. In this 2009 TEDMED talk, University of Michigan Public Health professor Vic Stretcher discusses how personalized digital coaching can help inspire lasting change behavior leading to greater personal and public health.

#3. Sanjay Gupta – What Did We Learn in Haiti?


There is no teacher like direct experience. Speaking live from Haiti via satellite during the 2010 cholera outbreak, neurosurgeon and head CNN medical corespondent Sanjay Gupta talks about public health lessons learned from the experiences of this impoverished and disaster-plagued country.

#4. Rebecca Onie – Can We Rewrite the DNA of Healthcare?


Ensuring community residents have access to the social services and healthcare they need to lead healthy lives is central to the public health task. In this talk, Health Leads co-founder Rebecca Onie discusses how her organization helps bring social services and healthcare together to better meet the needs of communities.

#5. Marc Koska – What’s the Point of a Syringe that Breaks?


The reuse of dirty syringes is among the biggest contemporary threats to public health. In this eye-opening presentation, Mark Koska OEB, inventor of an Auto Disable (AD) syringe that physically prevents it from being re-used and has been credited with saving over nine million lives to date, demonstrates the ongoing dangers of syringe re-use around the world and discusses his work on the problem.

#6. Peter Daszak – What Diseases Come From Animals?


The links between ecology and public health are numerous but only recently receiving the attention they deserve. In this fascinating talk, Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist and president of The EcoHealth Alliance, discusses the spread of pathogens from animals to humans as a result of human actions in our shared ecosystem–with live animal cameos!

#7. Clifton Leaf – How Do We Change the War on Cancer?


Accurate dissemination of health information is key to public health efforts. Award winning health journalist and lecturer Clifton Leaf discusses the ways in which statistical information about cancer is frequently misreported and misunderstood on a grand scale and how this skews efforts to respond to the disease.

#8. Elizabeth Pisani – Sex, Drugs, and HIV: Let’s Get Rational


HIV and AIDS remain a global public health crisis of staggering proportions. Self-described “public health nerd” and pioneering researcher Elizabeth Pisani offers her intelligent and witty take on the ways in which our political systems get in the way of effectively stopping the spread of AIDS.

#9. Dan Buettner – What if it’s the Environment Stupid?


What is it about environments and behaviors that contribute to better health and longer lives? Researcher, explorer, and best-selling author Dan Buettner discusses the answers to these questions discovered throughout his travels and research, as well as the challenges, and successes, in getting them adopted in the United States.

#10. Laurie Garrett – Lessons from the 1918 Flu


Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, the saying goes. Pulitzer Prize winning author and public health expert Laurie Garrett looks to the pandemics of the past for lessons on how to deal with those of the future.