Dr. Thomas Insel is an American neuroscientist and psychiatrist who led the US National Institute of Mental Health from 2002 until 2015. During his tenure his team spent more than $20 billion in research. The most of any mental health organisation in the world.
During his time at the NIMH Dr Insel focused a lot on serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar illness, and major depressive disorder. He also established autism as a major area of focus and led a large increase of funding for autism research.
After his time at the National Institute of Mental Health he did a stint leading the Mental Health Team at Verily Life Sciences—formerly Google Life Sciences—before launching his own company MindStrong with two other founders. MindStrong is attempting to transform mental health through innovations in virtual care, data measurement, and data science.
Dr. Ron Epstein is a Harvard trained family physician who started out practicing in the 70s when the HIV epidemic was just emerging and there was no treatment. Since then he has spent 40 years working in end of life and advanced cancer care. Dr. Epstein is also a lifelong meditator and mindfulness coach, and is the co-director of Mindful Practice Programs, which offer 4-day retreat-like workshops for doctors, to show them how they can provide better care for their patients by taking better care of themselves. These retreats show clinicians not only mindfulness techniques for dealing with stress, but also how to build resilience and how to protect yourself from burnout and bitterness by getting out of your own way. Dr. Epstein also wrote the book ‘ATTENDING—Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity’. The first published book on mindfulness and medicine.
Dr David Riedel is an Associate Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Infectious Disease Fellowship Program at the University of Maryland’s hospital. When we spoke Baltimore was experiencing its expected peak week of COVID cases. At his hospital they had just over 50 patients with COVID, with 50% of patients on respirators. In the conversation we cover the full gamut of what’s happening with COVID in Baltimore and nearby New York. We also talk about what he has learned from the virus as an infectious disease specialist.