Students organize third TEDxUMKC event

TEDxUMKC takes place March 14 at the National World War I Museum.
TEDxUMKC takes place March 14 at the National World War I Museum.

Two School of Medicine faculty members will speak at TEDxUMKC, an event organized primarily by medical students.

Independently organized, TEDx events are modeled after and operate under a license from TED, the nonprofit known for its lecture series in which speakers have 18 minutes to present ideas about science, technology, creativity and other realms.

TEDxUMKC will take place March 14 from from 1–5 p.m. in the auditorium at the National World War I Museum. Speakers will include Nicholas Comninellis, M.D. ’82, M.P.H., clinical assistant professor of community and family medicine and founder of the Institute for International Medicine, and Stephen Kingsmore, M.B., Ch.B., D.Sc., professor of pediatrics and director of the Center for Pediatric Genome Medicine at Children’s Mercy.

Tickets for seating in the auditorium are no longer available. Tickets remain for a livestream of the event in the museum’s reception area. Registration information, a full list of speakers and other details are available online.

The March 14 event will be the third TEDxUMKC conference and the first to take place off-campus. Fifth-year medical student Harika Nalluri has served as the head curator of TEDxUMKC since the inaugural conference was held at the Volker campus in the fall of 2012. “It’s been a great way to make connections with people who have made huge impacts in Kansas City,” she said.

Nalluri said she was inspired to put together an event at UMKC after attending the annual TEDxKC conference. She sought the advice of Mike Lundgren, the organizer of TEDxKC, which outgrew a 500-seat auditorium at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and now takes place at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The most recent TEDxUMKC was held in the Student Union Theater. The event sold out, and one video presentation appeared on the TEDTalks YouTube channel. William Black, associate professor of economics and law at UMKC and an expert in the banking industry, gave the talk, which has been viewed more than 1 million times.

Third-year medical student Rahul Maheshwari is the co-curator of this year’s TEDxUMKC. Medical students Max Holtmann, Divya Igwe, Brooks Kimmis, Jacob Lee, Shubhu Sekhon and Ryan Sieli also serve on the board.

“Ditching Dogma” is the title of this year’s event. A statement on the TEDxUMKC website says dogma is embedded into the human condition, continuing:

We are taught what processes worked for our ancestors and we observe those same processes being utilized by others around us. Accordingly, more often than not, we follow suit. Ditching Dogma is about creativity, innovation, and thinking differently: not accepting the notion that we should do things simply because “that’s how they’ve always been done,” rewarding those who take risks while casting away notions of traditionalism.

Sieli said the ditching dogma theme was inspired by Gary Gaddis, M.D., Ph.D., Missouri Endowed Chair for Emergency Medicine, who uses the phrase when he talks about research projects that interest him.