Lead from the Heart

To Lead

Find and unmet need in your community and “lead from the heart”

This year I attended TEDMED2013, the 3 ½ day program was one of my greatest professional experiences to date. It was especially rewarding because I was a TEDMED Front Line Scholar and helped with the program. Convening annually, TEDMED assembles innovators and leaders from around the world who share a common goal, creating a better future in health and medicine. Through brilliant short talks and stunning artistic performances, the conference lauds the unexpected solutions that emerge when thought leaders come together, connect, and build relationships. In fact, Jay Walker, TEDMED’s curator, admonished all attendees to step out of our silos and “imagine transforming the future of health and medicine”. Each delegate at TEDMED was encouraged to engage with one another and share ideas. I shared my ideas about “Achieving Medical Innovation”, “Gratitude”, and “Personalized, Value-Based, Science-Driven Health”.

America Bracho, President and CEO of Latino Health Access gave an eye-opening talk, “What happens when patients become leaders on the health team?” A native Venezuelan, Bracho recalls her fortunate background and upbringing. As the daughter of two professors in Venezuela, Bracho was exposed to a life of contradictions, often having abundance when peers had nothing.  Fortunate enough to have food, shelter, clothing and recreational options, Bracho was taught to be grateful and concerned about others. Her father, a chemistry professor, emphasized the unity of humanity. In his opinion neutrality was not an option for human beings, only for litmus tests. We must all be actively engaged in the lives of others in order to combat the negative disparities in our communities.

Bracho took the advice of her parents to heart and moved to the United States to study Public Health. Over 20 years ago, Bracho began the Latino Health Access program. Focused on training community workers to educate their own neighborhoods about diabetes, breast cancer, obesity, domestic violence, and parenting, Latino Health Access has transformed communities in Santa Ana, California.

 The success of the non-profit can be attributed to Bracho’s commitment to empowering members of communities to think, analyze, and take action. Growing leaders in the communities where disparities exist is happening all over the world. Here in the United States, we are starting to realize that community outliers aren’t solving the problems our communities face, but instead problems are being solved through the work of the community and its people. According to Bracho, there is no golden bullet, but through recognizing that each and everyone has needs, assets, and the ability to problem solve we can capitalize on an untapped resource– community members.

Serving others, especially those in your immediate sphere of influence often requires leadership. Take the time today to think, analyze, and take action on an unmet need you see around you and in your own community, and then “lead from the heart” in your community. People can and should lead the change needed in communities.

Watch America’s talk here.


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