Hilde and Bill Birnbaum Endowed Lecture 2015

Annual program highlights research that improves health

Each year, Group Health Research Institute and the Group Health Foundation host a lecture to honor Hilde and Bill Birnbaum, founding members of Group Health who were passionate about their cooperative and its power to improve patient care through research. 

2015 speaker: Dr. Mike Evans

Patient engagement in the digital age

Michael F. Evans, MD, associate professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, will deliver Group Health’s 16th Annual Birnbaum Endowed Lecture at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 3, at the Washington State Convention Center. Doors open at 7 a.m.; breakfast is served at 7:15 a.m.

Dr. Evans is a family physician and researcher who shares Group Health’s passion for finding practical ways to help people live happier, healthier lives. The title of his lecture is “Disruption, Peer-to-Peer Health Care, Creativity, and YouTube: New Landscapes for Shaping Health Choices.”

Through his Health Media Lab at the University of Toronto, he is fusing the power of talented artists, scientists, patients, and clinicians to create informative, funny, engaging videos on health issues that matter to millions. Carefully researched and lovingly created, his “White Board Medical School” videos have circled the globe, attracting more than 11 million YouTube viewers free of charge. Topics range from stress management, diet, and exercise to acne, cancer screening, and knee replacements.

Dr. Evans collaborates with leading experts—including Group Health researchers—in creating his online series. With more than 200,000 new viewers each month, the Health Media Lab’s aim is to craft messages so compelling that viewers will share them with others, spawning networks of friends and family members who support one another’s healthy pursuits. He has developed more than 30 videos in nine different languages, accumulating more than 11 million views on his YouTube channel.

Dr. Evans worked with Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator Katharine Bradley, MD, MPH, on a video called “Let’s Rethink How We Drink,” which encourages new approach to considering the health effects of alcohol. He has also collaborated with Matt Handley, MD, MPH, Group Health Medical Director for Quality, on a shared decision-making video for men considering prostate cancer screening.

In addition to his media work, Dr. Evans is a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and a scientist at St. Michael’s Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. His work has been profiled in publications such as Journal of the American Medical Association and Reader’s Digest; he’s been mentioned in media ranging from The Walrus to the Netflix blockbuster, Orange is the New Black. Recent recognition includes being chosen as a “top 10 innovator in health” by the Canadian Medical Association and winning the gold medal in social media at the Web Health Awards. He is asked to speak widely about innovation, patient engagement, creativity, and best health.

If you would like to attend the lecture, please RSVP on e-mail ghribirnbaumlecture@ghc.org. by May 26. Space is limited. You can also follow the event on Twitter at #Birnbaum2015.

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