TEDxUCLA 2024: We are planning for 2024, the event wil take place in late May (Date TBD)

TEDxUCLA 2023

TEDxUCLA was at the Northwest Auditorium in person and on the UCLA campus. Your ticket purchase funded 100% of TEDxUCLA, thank you.

Meera Varma TEDxUCLA 2023

Photo credit: Meera Varma at TEDxUCLA 2023

2023 Speaker List and Agenda (In order of appearance)

(We had two special guests, Paul McCarthy for a Martial Arts stretch break and Dr. Laura Ritchie on an electric cello doing a demo of a visual and sound-based installation)

Michael Jann

Michael Jann

The Line Starts Here. (Let's Cross It!)

Michael Jann is an Emmy-nominated late-night comedy writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon for over two decades.  Mike currently teaches screenwriting at UCLA-x.  He co-wrote and co-produced the short animated film BUG THERAPY (www.bugtherapy.film). It’s a story about a mosquito who faints at the sight of blood. The subject is deeply personal: Mike’s son suffered a severe mental-breakdown at age 27, resulting in hospitalizations and psych wards. His ongoing recovery (fingers crossed) has fueled Mike’s passion to fight the stigma of mental illness. Mike lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and writing partner Michele Jourdan. Michele’s the smart one; Mike’s the pretty one.

Dr. Michael Leon

Dr. Michael Leon

The Solution to Memory Loss is Right Under Your Nose

Michael Leon received his PhD from the University of Chicago and joined the professoriate at the age of 24.  He is currently Professor emeritus (recalled) in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California Irvine. He also is a member of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, as well as the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders at UCI.  Dr. Leon has received multiple awards for teaching, including the Professor of the Year Award as the best teacher on the UCI campus. He also was associate dean for undergraduate education for 22 years. He has received the Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute for Mental Health for his work on the neurobiology of early learning, the D.G. Marquis Award from the American Psychological Association for developing an effective treatment for children with autism, and the Healthcare Technology Acceleration Award from the California HealthCare Foundation for his work on body weight normalization. In a recent analysis from the Stanford University, he was ranked among the top 2% of scientists in the world. Dr. Leon is a partner in Science Lab 3 and the Mando Group.

Meera Varma

Meera Varma

Your Presence is Your Power

Meera Varma is a mental health activist from Los Angeles, CA. Her struggles with mental health cast a dark shadow over many of her experiences as a teenager and were compounded by the shame she faced when seeking treatment as an Asian-Indian woman. The cultural and societal stigma she endured is what fueled her passion for activism at the age of 14.
Meera’s activism focuses on mental health education, suicide awareness and prevention, and mental health policy. Her work has been recognized by Oprah, President Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.
Currently, Meera is a graduate student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and The Fielding School of Public Health. Through her activism, Meera aims to be a voice of hope to those who are struggling in silence. Learn more about her at meera-varma.com.
Dr. Kenneth Wells MD MPH

Dr. Kenneth Wells MD MPH

Follow your Passion: Science and Art

Kenneth Wells, M.D., M.P.H. is David Weil Professor, Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neurosciences and Human Behavior and Professor Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine and Health Policy and Management, Fielding School of Public Health.  He is Affiliated Adjunct Staff at RAND and Staff Psychiatrist at West Los Angeles VA and research co-director of the UCLA/VA Center of Excellence for Veteran Recovery and Resilience.  His research focuses on Community Partnered Participatory Research to improve equity in mental health services access, quality and outcomes, including digital services for mental health prevention and use of arts to address mental health stigma. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and with community partners led by Healthy African American Families II won the 2014 Team Science Award of Association of Clinical and Translational Science. He directs the Semel Institute’s Center for Health Services and Society and Healing and Education through the Arts (HEArts), to address mental health stigma through arts.

Wells is founder and director of the Mansfield Chamber Singers, and composes vocal works to address stigma of mental illness. Wells’ video integrating community-partnered research on depression with his choral composition, “Thrive!” with poem by the late Dr. Loretta Jones, was California winner of the National Academy of Medicine’s Visualize Health Equity (https://nam.edu/visualizehealthequity/#/artwork/94 ).

Wells has written and produced operas: “The First Lady” on resilience in complicated grief based on Eleanor Roosevelt; “The Center Cannot Hold” on recovery from schizophrenia based on memoire by Elyn Saks, reviewed in Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), streamed by Mental Health America. “Veteran Journeys”, supported by California Arts Commission grant for Veterans in the Arts, was selected for Awareness Film Festival and receivedSpecial Jury Courage Award for portraying courage of Veterans; and won “Docs Without Borders” International Film Festival awards for Docu-drama Feature  on Social Issues: Excellence in Editing; and Outstanding Excellence for Original Score. Live performances were at UCLA and the Indianapolis Opera Young Artist Program. His fourth opera, “The Center Cannot Hold Part II: Recovery” will be produced as part of Take Action LA for Mental Health of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, June 17, 23 and 25 at UCLA and live streamed. 

Event link is here:

 

Dr. Thea Pham PhD

Dr. Thea Pham PhD

What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker: the paradox of modern quest for happiness

Thea is a neuroscientist, an award-winning entrepreneur & biotech venture capitalist who currently leverages her decade of scientific training and operational experience into investing in innovative technology that improves healthcare.

Thea is also a passionate & outspoken advocate for mental health for immigrants, especially in Asian American community. Thea has cultivated a community through quarterly town halls with thousands of participants to spark conversations cultural stigma & generational trauma. She is also invited guest speaker at top universities on the subject.

Thea received her PhD in Neuroscience at UCLA and is a proud Sai Gon native & has been calling Los Angeles her home for the last decade.

STRETCH BREAK

Paul McCarthy

Paul McCarthy

5 min break, in the martial arts style

Paul McCarthy has been the Director of the UCLA Martial Arts Program for 14 years, he is also the founder of The Cognitive Kali Method, a movement modality that enhances cognitive function using ancient martial arts! He believes in using the martial arts to help us thrive as healthy human beings, whether from creating inclusive communities to combat issues around mental health and loneliness or from the physical and cognitive benefits that many martial arts can provide to folks. His talk in 2016 “Cognitive Kali” discussed using movement prescriptions instead of pharmaceuticals to help a variety of health issues that we as humans regularly deal with. Combining martial activities, dance, music and rhythm in ways that we can predict will help with certain factors like, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline or injury and a whole slew of other issues that we know exercise and music can help with.

Jim McCarthy

Jim McCarthy

Always Wear the Right Shoes

Jim McCarthy is the Co-Founder and CEO of Stellar, the only full-service livestream partner for professional live entertainment organizers and creators, committed to delivering premium interactive online shows to paying audiences around the world.

For nearly 20 years, Jim was the CEO/Co-Founder of Goldstar helping 10 million people go to Goldstar to discover live events nationwide for 5,000 live entertainment organizers.

When the COVID-19 crisis shut down the live entertainment industry in March 2020, Jim led the charge to develop Stellar, to help producers create and sell high quality-live streaming events. In August 2020, Stellar started welcoming creators and audiences in beta. Since then, millions of people have live-streamed a variety of shows available on the platform. Released in July 2022, his book, Beyond the Back Row: The Breakthrough Potential of Digital Live Entertainment and Arts, helps break down the why, how, and what of online, streaming, and hybrid live events. Jim is also the curator and co-founder of TEDxBroadway, the sold-out annual event dedicated to the question: What’s the Best Broadway Can Be? He has spoken at conferences all over the world, including TED, SXSW, INTIX and more. His articles have been in ForbesFast Company and Business Insider. About Jim, Bob Lefsetz has said, “Jim McCarthy is smart, he’d win in any world, not only via his brain, but his hard work and dedication.”

Jim is a very active member on the Board of Directors at the Pasadena Playhouse. He studied English at Harvard University and received an MBA at UCLA Anderson School of Management. He has a black belt in Northern Eagle Claw Kung Fu.

Russell Korobkin

Russell Korobkin

Getting by Giving: The Power of Radical Empathy in Negotiation

Russell Korobkin is Interim Dean and Richard C. Maxwell Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. He teaches and writes about negotiation, dispute resolution, contracts, and the intersection of law and human behavior. He is the author of The Five Tool Negotiator: the Complete Guide to Bargaining Success (Liveright, 2021), as well leading textbooks on negotiation and on contract law and more than 50 law journal articles in the fields of behavioral law and economics, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution, contract law, and health care law.

Prior to joining the UCLA faculty in 2001, Korobkin held appointments at the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. He has taught as a full-time visiting professor at Harvard Law School and the University of Texas School of Law.  He regularly teaches negotiation courses to undergraduates, law students, and business students around the world, conducts negotiation training programs for professionals, and mediates disputes.

He earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School and B.A. from Stanford University.

Milan Koch

Milan Koch

The Importance of Persistence in Life

Milan Koch is a German-American venture capitalist based in Los Angeles, California. He is the founder and managing partner of Mantis Venture Capital, an early stage fund that invests in consumer tech, media/entertainment and fin-tech companies in partnership with Grammy-award winning pop duo “The Chainsmokers”

Barry Jackson

Barry Jackson

How do you get Your Ideas?

Barry began his career as a commercial artist working in the record industry for such artists as Neil Young, The Band, ZZ Top, and The Grateful Dead. Movie posters, include Disney’s Fantasia, Escape from New York, Predator 2 and many others.

 In the field of animation and earned over 20 screen credits including the films, Horton Hears a Who, The Nightmare before Christmas, Shrek, The Prince of Egypt, Ron Howard’s, The Grinch, and Sausage Party. Feature film production design credits include the Weinstein’s, Escape from Planet Earth, and Warner Bros., The Ant Bully.   Awards include the 2011 Telly Award for production design of Cartoon Network CG feature, Firebreather.  His animated short film, The Killer Buzz, won the Director’s Circle Award and numerous others.

 Art for opening titles designs include, The Great and Powerful Oz, Mary Poppins Returns, the mini-series, The Leftovers, and A Crowded Room, all done in concert with Yu and Company. Writing credits include his first children’s book, Danny Diamondback, which along with his screenplay has been optioned as a CG feature. Barry teaches at The Art Center College, as well as a popular Zoom Art Class for his Instagram followers. A book of his artwork is available at: www.barryejacksonart.com