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Top 10 Ted Talks on Public Health

We love Ted Talks. They are great places to find inspiration for our daily lives, as well as our professional lives. We have compiled these videos to help inspire you in our pursuit of a career in Public Health.
Some of the concepts, and ideas in these lectures are pretty radical, revolutionary, and hopefully inspire you onwards to greatness.

Nancy Lublin on Texting That Saves Lives


When Nancy Lublin started texting teenagers to help with her social advocacy organization, what she found was shocking — they started texting back about their own problems, from bullying to depression to abuse. So she’s setting up a text-only crisis line, and the results might be even more important than she expected.

Nancy Lublin is CEO and Chief Old Person at DoSomething.org, where she harnesses the extraordinary energy of teens and focuses it on issues they care passionately about.

Rebecca Onie on What If Our Healthcare System Kept Us Healthy ?


Rebecca Onie asks audacious questions: What if waiting rooms were a place to improve daily health care? What if doctors could prescribe food, housing and heat in the winter? At TEDMED she describes Health Leads, an organization that does just that — and does it by building a volunteer base as elite and dedicated as a college sports team.

Rebecca Onie is the founder of Health Leads, a program that connects patients to basic care and resources, such as food and housing, that are the root cause of many health problems.

Erik Hersman on Reporting via Texting


While this video is not about medicine, or public health it’s connotations are equal. You could absolutely use this idea to help create awareness about an acute medical crisis or region of the developing world.

At TEDU 2009, Erik Hersman presents the remarkable story of Ushahidi, a GoogleMap mashup that allowed Kenyans to report and track violence via cell phone texts following the 2008 elections, and has evolved to continue saving lives in other countries.

Erik Hersman nurtures the creativity springing from the African tech community, and helps spread its innovations throughout the world.

Atul Gawande on How Do We Heal Medicine


Our medical systems are broken. Doctors are capable of extraordinary (and expensive) treatments, but they are losing their core focus: actually treating people. Doctor and writer Atul Gawande suggests we take a step back and look at new ways to do medicine — with fewer cowboys and more pit crews.

Surgeon by day and public health journalist by night, Atul Gawande explores how doctors can dramatically improve their practice using something as simple as a checklist.

Nathan Wolfe on Searching for Viruses


Virus hunter Nathan Wolfe is outwitting the next pandemic by staying two steps ahead: discovering deadly new viruses where they first emerge — passing from animals to humans among poor subsistence hunters in Africa — before they claim millions of lives.

Armed with blood samples, high-tech tools and a small army of fieldworkers, Nathan Wolfe hopes to re-invent pandemic control — and reveal hidden secrets of the planet’s dominant lifeform: the virus.

Larry Brilliant on Stopping Pandemics


Accepting the 2006 TED Prize, Dr. Larry Brilliant talks about how smallpox was eradicated from the planet, and calls for a new global system that can identify and contain pandemics before they spread.

2006 TED Prize winner Dr. Larry Brilliant has spent his career solving the ills of today — from overseeing the last smallpox cases to saving millions from blindness — and building technologies of the future. Now, as President and CEO of the Skoll Global Threats Fund , he’s redefining how we solve the world’s biggest problems.

Laurie Garret on Lessons from the 1918 Flu


In 2007, as the world worried about a possible avian flu epidemic, Laurie Garrett, author of “The Coming Plague,” gave this powerful talk to a small TED University audience. Her insights from past pandemics are suddenly more relevant than ever.

Pulitzer winner Laurie Garrett studies global health and disease prevention. Her books include “The Coming Plague” and “Betrayal of Trust,” about the crisis in global public health.

Elizabeth Pisani on Sex, Drugs, and HIV


Armed with bracing logic, wit and her “public-health nerd” glasses, Elizabeth Pisani reveals the myriad of inconsistencies in today’s political systems that prevent our dollars from effectively fighting the spread of HIV. Her research with at-risk populations — from junkies in prison to sex workers on the street in Cambodia — demonstrates the sometimes counter-intuitive measures that could stall the spread of this devastating disease.

Elizabeth Pisani uses unconventional field research to understand how real-world behaviors influence AIDS transmission — and to overhaul antiquated, ineffective prevention strategies.

Emily Oster on HIV/AIDS in Africa


Emily Oster re-examines the stats on AIDS in Africa from an economic perspective and reaches a stunning conclusion: Everything we know about the spread of HIV on the continent is wrong.

Emily Oster, a University of Chicago economist, uses the dismal science to rethink conventional wisdom, from her Harvard doctoral thesis that took on famed economist Amartya Sen to her recent work debunking assumptions on HIV prevalence in Africa.

Hans Rosling on Data and Worldviews


Talking at the US State Department this summer, Hans Rosling uses his fascinating data-bubble software to burst myths about the developing world. Look for new analysis on China and the post-bailout world, mixed with classic data shows.

In Hans Rosling’s hands, data sings. Global trends in health and economics come to vivid life. And the big picture of global development—with some surprisingly good news—snaps into sharp focus.