Dr. Rafael Campo at TEDxCambridge

Dr Campo giving his talk; credit to Bearwalk Images (www.thebearwalk.com or @bearwalkcinema)

On Friday, May 3, the Boston Opera House was graced with the 10th annual TEDxCambridge event, where six incredible speakers and two performance acts brought audience members an evening of inspiration. Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the event, which was inaugurated at Harvard in 2009, TEDxCambridge is one of the largest and longest-running independent TED events in the world. This year featured the most culturally diverse speaker roster in TEDxCambridge history. Each speaker underwent at least 60 hours of professional coaching in order to prepare for their talks, and the gigantic project is produced by an all-volunteer team of professionals.

For the student, this year's event was particularly exciting and relevant, with an opening by Anthony Jack of Harvard Graduate School of Education speaking on the impact of privilege disparities between college students. The night went on to include talks about the importance of time-saving (Ashley Whillans, Harvard Business School), gender-based leadership incompetencies (Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, University College London and Columbia University), moral questions about the justice system (Erin Kelly, Tufts University), the behavior and development of children in non-Western societies (Dorsa Amir, Boston College) and closed with Rafael Campo speaking about poetry and the importance of empathy in the medical profession (Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center). There is much rapidly changing and developing into the world, and TEDxCambridge was a fantastic glimpse into just some of what's going on in the Boston area.

Last month, I got the chance to interview Dr. Rafael Campo for WHRB. We talked then about the importance of educating medical students not just on science and medical techniques but also on the arts and humanities, to improve their human connection with patients and ultimately improve their practice. As impactful as that conversation was, Dr. Campo's presence on stage was something else; I got to experience him reciting his poetry live, which was just as moving (if not more) off the paper as on. In addition, he told some stories of his patients, including an inspirational story of one who marched and spoke in support of finding a treatment for AIDS--proving that words are powerful and can make a difference.

Dr. Campo's talk was a beautiful way to end the speakers of TEDxCambridge 2019. TEDx and other talks are a great way to get an education outside the classroom! The next TEDxCambridge event will be August 21, 2019.

Jennifer Wang is a studio engineer, DJ for the Record Hospital, and guest contributor to WHRB News.