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Pritpal S Tamber

Co-Founder and CEO of Bridging Health & Community and Former Physician Editor of TEDMED


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Dr Pritpal S Tamber is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bridging Health & Community, a Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to transforming how we approach health so that it goes beyond health care and public health to include fostering the ‘agency’ of a community – its ability to make purposeful choices.

Dr Tamber the former Physician Editor of TEDMED, TED's dedicated health event. In that role, he reviewed over 1600 innovations and helped shape the 40 talks that made it into the 2013 program. It was through that role that he became convinced that current efforts in health innovation will fail to meaningfully impact population health or health equity.

In response, he founded the Creating Health Collaborative, an international group of innovators exploring health from the perspective of people and communities. Their work adopts a broader understanding of health to encompass things like safety, physical functioning, financial security, emotional security, and nourishing relationships. The Collaborative’s membership includes individuals from Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, the California Endowment, FSG, HealthPartners, MIT, the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund, ISAIAH, and the Democracy Collaborative.

Common to all of their innovations is the key insight that risk factors alone cannot explain why people are healthy or sick. The missing link is whether people have a sense of control over their lives, something that requires individuals and communities to have ‘agency’.

The Collaborative is now part of Dr Pritpal S Tamber’s Seattle-based nonprofit, Bridging Health & Community, which takes a radical approach to ‘health equity’ and the ‘social determinants of health’. It explores how systems can intentionally foster a community’s ‘agency’ so as to collectively agree priorities and derive, implement and evaluate solutions.

Together with his Co-Founder, Dr Bridget B Kelly, formerly of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), they have described 12 principles to fostering agency to improve health. They work with health care, public health and philanthropy to radically transform how they approach a community’s health.

Click here to read their March 2017 report, Fostering Agency to Improve Health.

Dr Pritpal S Tamber is the former Medical Director of Map of Medicine, a company that produces 'clinical pathways' to improve the flow of patients through health care systems. He's also the former Editorial Director for Medicine for BioMed Central, the company that disrupted academic publishing by making open access commercially sustainable. He started his career as an editor at the BMJ.

Population Health vs Health Equity

Most organisations limit their definition of population health to ‘the outcomes experienced by a group of individuals’. By failing to embrace the full definition, which includes ‘the distribution of outcomes within the group’, they render their population health efforts inert before they even start. Truly embracing the full definition forces organisations to face their role in health equity. Dr Tamber shows how members of the Creating Health Collaborative are acknowledging their (often inadvertent) role in driving health inequity and how they’re changing what they do to truly embrace population health.

Twelve Principles Key to the Future of Health

It has been understood for some time that risk factors alone cannot explain why someone is healthy or sick. The missing link is whether people have a sense of control over their lives, something that requires individuals and communities to have ‘agency’ – the ability to make purposeful choices. Through the work of the many innovators in his Creating Health Collaborative, Dr Tamber has gleaned 12 principles for how health systems can intentionally foster a community’s ‘agency’ so as to improve its health.

Reconceiving the Social Determinants

It is increasingly recognised that social factors and the environment contribute up to 70% to our health. However, health care is struggling to effectively translate these ‘social determinants’ into new pathways to help people be healthier. Dr Tamber shows how seeing social circumstances solely through a biological lens limits not only our ability to influence them but also our opportunity to reconceive the role of the health sector in society. The examples he’ll share illustrate a future for health care that goes beyond ‘community benefit’ and ‘corporate social responsibility’.

What Workplace Wellness Should Really Be

Employers worried about health care costs and absenteeism continue to embrace wellness programs that purport to reduce the likelihood of sickness. The evidence that they work is mixed, at best. Dr Tamber will illustrate why just trying to change health-related behaviour will always be limited given the day-to-day realities of people’s lives. He’ll share examples of how businesses – including those in the health sector – are embracing the idea that 70% of our health comes from social factors and the environment to change how they contribute to their employees’ health – from sickness-preventing organisations to health-creating ones.

"Dr. Tamber was excellent. Such an enjoyable person. Kind, smart, humble, funny…I can’t say enough good things about him. His talk was on point and very well received. He incorporated the right amount of humour while also delivering a direct message that we can’t just keep doing what we’ve been doing if we want anything to change in our communities; a message that this group needed to hear...Judging by the mob of people that he stuck around and patiently chatted with, I think everyone enjoyed him and his message. It definitely closed out the conference on a super high note. I can’t thank you enough for connecting us with him. Thank you for making us look good!" WSHA

"Pritpal gave us a compelling case to change how we think about and create health, and then provided a path to move forward." HICCup

"If you are looking for an inspirational speaker thinking out of the box about the future of healthcare, Pritpal will certainly not disappoint." International Federation of Health Plans

"Friends — if you get a chance to hear Dr. Pritpal Tamber speak — go! Fun, energetic, smart, and witty. You will enjoy." Vanderbilt University Medical Center 

"Pritpal's talks on health innovation provide an accessible framework that is informed, thoughtful and truly unique."
Loeb & Loeb 

"Pritpal outlines and contextualized a full day's agenda in ten minutes - with total clarity, laugh-out-loud humor and an inspiring sense of purpose. His remarks were a launch-pad that all 100 of us used to think new and bigger thoughts." Harvard Divinity School

Pritpal presents in English


UK : £7k to £15k

Europe : £7k to £15k

US : £7k to £15k

Asia/Middle East : £7k to £15k

Travels From

UK and Washington

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