THE U TAKES ON TED

By Lisa Potter, science writer, University of Utah Communications

U faculty and undergrad are among the local luminaries who will present their ideas, stories and creative solutions at the 2018 TEDXSaltLakeCity. The event takes place on Sept. 8, 2018 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah. This year’s theme, “At the Edge,” brings together speakers and performers who will urge us to think beyond our comfort zones to explore new ways of engaging with the world.

TEDX conferences are independently-organized events that carry the spirit of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conferences, which aim to share “ideas worth spreading.” There are still tickets available at tedxsaltlakecity.com/tickets. The ticket includes a day of talk, performances and your choice of lunch from various food trucks.

Lisa M. Diamond, professor, Department of Psychology, Division of Gender Studies

Lisa M. Diamond studies how people express sexual attraction and sexual identity at different stages in their lives. She is renowned for her work on sexual fluidity, which describes a person’s ability to experience shifts in their same-sex and other-sex attraction over time. Diamond is co-editor of the American Psychological Association (APA) Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology, the first, most comprehensive overview of the science that examines human sexuality from a psychological perspective. She has written more than 100 scholarly publications and book chapters, has presented her research all over the world and won multiple awards from myriad professional organizations.

In Diamond’s talk, she will argue that although it’s become common to promote LGBT equality by arguing that LGBT individuals are “born that way,” there are three major problems with this approach: It’s not scientifically accurate, it’s not legally necessary and it’s unjust. As Diamond argues in her talk, “How and why and when individuals become LGBT may be fascinating to scientists like me, but it should have no bearing on whether their parents accept and embrace them and it certainly should have no bearing on public policy.” 

Mohan Sudabattula, undergraduate, Founder and Executive Director of Project Embrace 

U undergraduate Mohan Sudabattula is founder and executive director of Project Embrace, an international medical nonprofit that aims to reduce global health disparities and promote sustainable healthcare. Project Embrace does this through the reuse and repurposing of previously owned medical equipment from the U.S. to meet the need of patients worldwide. 

“Ten years ago, I visited an orphanage in India where children suffered from these exact same diseases (of U.S. patients), but didn’t have access to the medical devices needed to treat them. Those images stuck with me. So, I started Project Embrace, a non-profit that repurposes unwanted medical devices for patients-in-need abroad. Right from the beginning, I knew I wanted to partner with that orphanage,” Sudabattula, who triples majors in biology, philosophy and health & society, told @theU in November.

Since their launch last year, Project Embrace has successfully completed two donation campaigns in Swaziland and India. Sudabattula has also been invited to present about Project Embrace on stages across the United States and England at universities such as Stanford, John Hopkins, and Oxford. Sudabattula is the first ever U student to present on the TEDx stage and his talk will focus on social innovation in healthcare through simple solutions and community empowerment.