To the Brave Ones

I’m writing today to let you know that after much discussion and deliberation, we’ve decided that Medicine X, our fall innovation event, will take a hiatus in 2018.

A tweet, a conversation, and a spark

Eight years ago, I posted a tweet announcing my intention to launch my first conference at Stanford. I received a variety of responses, but the one that remains the most poignant is the one I received from a patient, asking me “Have you invited patients to your conference?”

I regretfully had not, and realized immediately that I should probably meet this man.

All these years later, I still remember meeting Hugo Campos at Stanford’s LKSC. We both sat in the lobby as the afternoon sunlight washed over us, and talked about how a health care conference might bring the expertise of underheard voices into its corridors of power to inspire and evoke greater change within the system itself.

Today, I look back at the 130 artists, dreamers, storytellers, and activists who took part in our Medicine X ePatient scholar program, and who truly did inspire and evoke the greater change that Hugo and I dreamed of back in 2010. Today, I think of them, and how proud I am to count them amongst our global Medicine X family.

I’m proud of Hugo Campos, a man with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy who tirelessly advocates for patient access to data, serves on PCORI research groups, and speaks widely on data advocacy issues.

I’m proud of Dana Lewis. Dana is a 2012/2013 program graduate who founded the OpenAPS project, an open-source artificial pancreas used by patients across the world. She is now a co-Principal Investigator on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant.

I’m proud of Michael Seres, a 2012 ePatient program graduate and 2013 ePatient keynote speaker who founded the connected medical device company 11health. He invented, patented and obtained FDA 510k approval for his own medical device that is now a market solution available to millions of patients in the US.

Most of all, I’m proud of you. Look at what we accomplished together and the impact we’ve had. Medicine X wouldn’t be where we are today without you.

It’s time for this spark to empower a new generation of change

In 2015, Hugo and several other Medicine X ePatients were honored by President Barack Obama at the White House as Presidential Champions of Change for Precision Medicine. But, they are only a few of the 130+ ePatient leaders who have graduated from our ePatient programs and are making important and significant changes to impact health care.

The amazing accomplishments of our Medicine X community have led me to reflect a bit on our own program.

How might Medicine X itself make a bigger impact in the world?

In speaking to our advisors, the answers seemed to be spending more time on some of the projects where we’ve worked with our diverse Everyone Included™ teams of patients, providers, and technologists.

We’ve designed high impact tools for local government agencies fighting the opioid crisis with the Department of Health and Human Services, reimagined the patient experience and journey map practice with pharmaceutical companies, brought patients, clinicians, researchers, and technologists together at the Obama White House Office of Science, Technology, and Policy, and explored applications of blockchain technology to facilitate an open flow of information sharing in patient data with IEEE. All of this work was advanced using our Everyone Included™ principles, co-creating alongside patients and caregivers.

It’s time to be brave––and curious

With each of these projects, I’ve always been humbled by the bravery and curiosity of individuals tackling challenges head on with perseverance and resolve.

Although we won’t be on stage at LKSC this year, we will still be working tirelessly. Medicine X at Stanford will continue as a year round academic program. We will pursue research and grant programs, train students and patients, and work with collaborators on solving the most pressing issues in health care. Issues that you have brought to our attention, and that are calling the Medicine X community’s name.

We’ve dedicated the past few years to amplifying the underheard voices in health care, but now, it’s time for us to pause. It’s time for us to listen. We know the empowerment and meaning that our fall innovation event has brought to the Medicine X community over the years. We know that September at Stanford feels like coming home, and just because we’re not coming together this year doesn’t mean we want you to stop your good work. We want you to continue to devote your energy to fixing health care.

And we promise to do the same.

No matter what we do, you will always matter to us. You, our Medicine X family, whom I affectionately call the brave ones, are always walking with us and informing our work. It is because of you that we are Medicine X, and that will never change.

I hope you will join us on this next part of our journey, because our best, most exciting and impactful work is yet to come.

Sincerely,

Larry Chu, MD
Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine
Executive Director, Stanford Medicine X

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