Saturday, October 9, 2010

Video: At Aspen Institute Forum in Abu Dhabi, Dr. Newman Shares Vision for Surgical Innovation for Children

At the Emirates-Aspen Forum on Innovation, sponsored by the Aspen Institute in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 5, Dr. Kurt Newman, senior vice president at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, discussed the ways the Institute is rethinking surgery for children around the world. Dr. Newman was part of a panel on “Innovation in the Health Sector” with Suhail Mahmood Al Ansari, healthcare associate director for Mubadala; Dr. B.R. Shetty, CEO of New Medical Center; and Finn Goldner, director of health system financing for the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi. View video. (Dr. Newman starts at 35:10.)

“I have been facing issues of taking care of children one at a time and seeing the issues that they deal with and families deal with as you care for them,” Dr. Newman said. “Maybe it seems mundane, but it’s the problems of big operations on small children, pain and big incisions. In the field it seemed like there was progress, but not the big quantum leaps that I would read about when people were decoding the genome and when we were doing all these other things.”

Dr. Newman explained that the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation has been challenged to think creatively and innovatively to find ways to make surgery more precise, less invasive, and pain-free for children. “This was a very different way of thinking than we usually think about in science and medicine. Usually it is very incremental…it’s not taking big leaps…it’s not that kind of a culture.”

The Institute is driven by big ideas and a spirit of innovation, he said. “There’s a sense of urgency -- we’ve got to get this done. We want to do it and it’s attracting the best talent from around the world. People want to make a difference. And they want to have this opportunity of freedom, of some resources, of an opportunity to take some shots. We’re not sure what’s going to work, but they’re going to take some shots and change the paradigm.”

View video.