From TED2016, 5 Fellows’ Ideas Worth Spreading

Photo: Ryan Lash

This week, 21 of the most inspiring young innovators from around the world came to Vancouver to give a TED talk and join a global network of change-makers: the TED Fellows. Now in its eighth year, the program has 399 Fellows from 87 countries, whose talks have collectively been viewed more than 110 million times.

TED attendees are among the first in the world to hear from these incredible people and learn about their world-changing ideas. Here are five of the standout ideas shared by Fellows this week, along with links to news articles so you can get to know them too.

Photo: Ryan Lash

Ghanaian-American TV director and producer Nicole Amarteifio created, writes and directs the hit web series An African City, which follows the friendships, careers and romantic lives of five successful Ghanaian and Nigerian women who return to Accra, Ghana, after being raised abroad. The show, which launched in 2014, has been called Africa’s answer to Sex and the City by both CNN and the BBC.

With An African City, Nicole hopes to shatter stereotypes common in portrayals of Africa, including war, poverty and famine. Instead, the show tells modern love stories and features fashion and music from top African artists. Season 1 of An African City has over 2 million views on YouTube, and Nicole launched Season 2 in January 2016.

See Ebony: ‘An African City’ Migrates from Ghana to Worldwide

Photo: Ryan Lash

Jessica Ladd’s nonprofit organization Sexual Health Innovations is dedicated to creating technology to advance sexual health and well-being in the United States. Among its resources is Callisto, a third-party reporting system that allows college sexual assault survivors to securely produce a timestamped record of the incident and electronically report it — or report only if someone else accuses the same assailant, helping to identify repeat offenders.

Sexual Health Innovations also maintains So They Can Know, a website with more than 100,000 users that helps people who have been diagnosed with STDs to notify their partners, either in person or anonymously. The nonprofit will soon launch Private Results, an open-source system that delivers STD test results online and over the phone, linking patients to resources and next steps.

See Globe & Mail: TED Fellow develops online reporting system to help sexual-assault victims

Photo: Ryan Lash

Human geneticist Keolu Fox’s mission is to increase ethnic diversity in genome studies to figure out why certain populations — including indigenous peoples — experience higher rates of common chronic diseases. For his PhD at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Keolu has used genomic technologies to help people who receive frequent blood transfusions experience fewer complications due to incompatibility.

Keolu is also working on a number of initiatives to guarantee that indigenous peoples are partners in, not just subjects of, genomic research. These include a mobile genome-sequencing platform, interactive informed consent forms and a tribal consultation resource.

See BBC: The man making genes democratic

Photo: Ryan Lash

Italian biomedical engineer and entrepreneur Laura Indolfi is revolutionizing cancer treatments with smart biomaterials for drug delivery and cell therapy. Her company PanTher Therapeutics is engineering an implantable, biocompatible device that delivers high concentrations of cancer-fighting drugs inside tumors while simultaneously containing cancer progression with a physical barrier.

This year, Laura will complete preclinical testing of this device so that she can eventually design and plan Phase 1 clinical trials in patients with pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the world.

See Fortune: An entrepreneur with a novel approach to fighting cancer

Photo: Ryan Lash

Writer Michael W Twitty is on a mission to discover the foods of his ancestors — enslaved African Americans in colonial and antebellum America — using culinary history to explore race, challenge cultural appropriation and promote culinary justice. Michael blogs as he travels the American South, bringing communities together around food history and cooking and, in the process, reclaiming endangered cultural history and heritage.

He also writes about the intersection of his black, Jewish and gay identities and how such frameworks impact the way we experience food. He’s currently working on his first book, “The Cooking Gene: Searching for Food Routes and Family Roots in the Old South.”

See Washington Post: His Paula Deen takedown went viral. But this food scholar isn’t done yet

To learn more about all 21 new Fellows and how to get involved with the TED Fellows program, visit

Thanks to Patrick D’arcy and Karen Eng for contributing, and to Kim Brubeck for reviewing a draft of this article.

Founder of BWK New York. PR partner to the TED Fellows. Cereal entrepreneur.

Founder of BWK New York. PR partner to the TED Fellows. Cereal entrepreneur.