'Re-emerging' from most uncertain times

February 23, 2023
A man stands on a stage speaking to a group in audience
John Rhodes, an MUSC cardiologist with dyslexia, was one of the featured speakers at last year's TEDxCharleston event. Provided by TEDxCharleston

Name something that COVID didn’t ruin. OK, so maybe it’s responsible for an uptick in remote work, which isn’t all bad, but for the most part that useless virus has given society a real gut punch – and it’s just now finally starting to recover. 

That’s why the focus of this year’s TEDxCharleston event – the grassroots initiative featuring local speakers speaking passionately about topics ranging from health to social issues, technology and more – is a celebration of our culture coming out of a tough stretch, tougher and smarter for the experience.

According to organizers, the past two-plus years have created a world fraught with new challenges and risks but new opportunities as well. 

“Creativity, innovation and thoughtfulness are all needed to deal with this new reality,” the event’s website states. “An exciting lineup of speakers and performers will explore many important and inspiring ideas at the event, appropriately themed ‘Re-Emerge.’”

TEDxCharleston draws nearly 1,000 in-person participants each year, not including an extensive online following. This year marks the 10th year of the event, which will be held at Charleston Music Hall on March 29.

Three of the 20 scheduled speakers/performers are MUSC’s very own: surgical oncologist Andrea Marie Abbott, M.D.; trauma surgeon Ashley Hink, M.D.; and neurosurgeon Alejandro Spiotta, M.D.

Three headshots, one of Andrea Abbott, one of Ashley Hink and one of Alex Spiotta 
                                                            From left, Drs. Andrea Abbott, Ashley Hink and Alejandro Spiotta.

Abbott, who serves as director of MUSC Health’s Melanoma Program, specializes in the treatment of breast and skin cancers. Communication is something the surgeon really values. Her talk will focus on how all people, not just in health care, can better achieve their goals through communication that is calm, concise and honest.

Hink, who is passionate about eliminating gun violence in our community, not just treating those who have been hurt, has been instrumental in establishing several new programs and initiatives in and around the Charleston area. Hink plans to speak about how health care systems can work with survivors and communities to break cycles of violence by addressing its root causes.

Spiotta, a professor of neurosurgery and neuroendovascular surgery and vice chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at MUSC, has devoted much of his professional career to studying and treating cerebrovascular disease. During his career, he’s performed thousands of complex, high-stakes brain surgeries in record time through deep focus and mindfulness. During his TEDx talk, he will get into how those same techniques can help with everything from exercise to finding success in the workplace.

For more information, visit www.tedxcharleston.org.