Curating Healthcare in a Rapidly Changing World

In times of rapid change, the healthcare sector is a microcosm of change in society as a whole. Today, whether it is coping with a new, emergent disease such as Zika, struggling with the social, psychological, and public health dimensions of the Syrian complex emergency, or forging innovations to quickly adapt to the changing environmental conditions–including abrupt climate change–the medical profession has serious “skin in the game” with all of these issues.

Perhaps it is no surprise that a well known medical executive, Rick Gannotta, is so broad in his scope. Besides serving as the chief executive of well known hospitals in the United States, from a creative perspective, Gannotta considers himself a “curator” of healthcare information–someone who is able to leverage the vast river of information he is exposed to on a daily basis, and present it in fresh, insightful, and impactful ways.

Gannotta’s creative side was fully expressed when he gave a TEDx Talk in Dublin Ireland in 2013 about “Mindfulness and High Reliability Organizations.” Inspired by an interest in Eastern philosophies and industries with no room for failure in day-to-day operations, such as aviation, Gannotta transposed a unique area of research to the medical field. By fostering a “Be Here, Be Now,” approach, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals could potentially be equipped with a scalable, no-cost technology and practice that could produce higher outcomes for patient safety. By embracing and practicing “being in the present,” positive outcomes in the most pressurized situations could rise–supporting both the patient and practitioner alike.

In the most intense of humanitarian environments, “Be Here, Be Now” has potential to provide an incredibly-needed tool, especially as organizations such as Oxfam declare 2016 to be a year of “unprecedented” strain.

The broadness of Gannotta’s worldview expands even further. In a detailed interview with ReliefAnalysis, Gannotta explores the emergence of Zika as part of a broader concern about what he terms so-called “cryptoform” viruses. On the unprecedented refugee outflows from the Syrian complex emergency, Gannotta provides a medical lens to explore the incredible demands that forced migration has on local and international medical systems alike.

Gannotta even explored a proposition per Paul Beckwith in Episode 1–that abrupt polar climate changes (e.g. a “Blue Ocean Event”) could increase the number of lower-latitude disasters by a factor of 10-20 times–and drew parallels with the medical response on par with the September 11, 2001 attacks, and a level of international collaboration required on par with the Kyoto Protocol.

Gannotta’s “Be Here, Be Now” philosophy itself comes across strongly in the interview, as he is able to navigate a broad spectrum of issues and provide insights within a medical framework. His ability to curate issues of vital importance to the disaster management and humanitarian assistance community is truly formidable.

Also in this episode, an emerging disaster brief: esteemed New Zealand activist Kevin Hester provides a fascinating perspective about the Arctic methane emergency; the World Health Organization identifies 60 million people at risk from the 2015-16 El Nino; Russian-Western tensions gravitate around the deteriorating Aleppo emergency; and Australopithecus’ name is bandied about–our most ancient humanoid ancestor called, and his great granddaddy wants his climate back.

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