5 Amazing SXSW Health Sessions Worthy of Your Vote

If you were under the impression that the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas, is a hipster-filled festival of techies, artists and musicians…then you’d be absolutely right.

But you’d be equally as correct if you thought SXSW was the new hotspot for fresh thinking in health care — with an ever-growing portion of the event devoted to topics in biotech, pharma, medical devices and digital health. Last year, in fact, SXSW featured dozens of science and health sessions covering topics such as FDA regulation of health apps, personalized diabetes care, med tech for chronic disease and emerging cancer detection technology.

SXSW, taking place March 10-17 next year, has grown exponentially since it was launched in 1987. These days, it draws more than 70,000 attendees — not to mention a flurry of peripheral Meetup groups, concerts and discussions that aren’t officially connected with the conference. People who attend are young (average age: 36) and impassioned, making them a sought-after audience.

But one of the best parts of the SXSW is the social aspect. The conference allows the greater public to propose topics for sessions and to vote on which of those sessions should be a part of the mammoth conference. Input from the “PanelPicker” online voting process accounts for roughly 30 percent of the organizers’ decision on whether or not to feature a particular topic.

We encourage you to set up a profile at SXSW (it just takes a minute) and browse through all of the health and science panels to choose your favorites.

Here are five that we have deemed especially worthy of your vote. We’re proud to say that all of these sessions feature clients of CanaleComm:

  1. Reimagining Old Age: The Frontier of Aging Biology. As sci-fi as it may sound, the reality is that medicines will soon exist that allow us to live productive and comfortable lives for much longer than is possible today. This panel will highlight key published research, explain the biology behind medicines in development and discuss the many potential societal impacts of longer health span. Featuring: Ned David, Unity Biotechnology; Matt Herper, Forbes [Vote now!]
  2. Racing Climate Change to Cure Neglected Diseases. Changes in the ocean threaten a treasure trove of potential life-saving medicines found in sponges, algae and other organisms. It’s estimated that 2016 was a devastating year for coral reefs with as much as 93% of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef affected by bleaching due to warming oceans. What can patients expect from marine-inspired therapeutics, and what can people do to help preserve the ocean to protect human health? Featuring: Eduardo Esquenazi, CEO of Sirenas; Fabien Cousteau of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center [Vote now!]
  3. hackPharmaWhat impacts half of all Americans every day yet is mired in the analog age? Prescription medicines. The $1 trillion pharmaceutical sector has recognized the need to use digital tools to modernize patient access, adherence, communication and affordability and is looking both internally and externally for the best and brightest ideas to achieve these goals. Still, tech entrepreneurs can struggle to find product market fit and landing a first contract can be difficult. Featuring: Julie Papanek, Canaan Partners; Alexander Grunewald, Johnson & Johnson [Vote now!
  4. Don’t Be Afraid – Succeeding in Digital HealthThe spectacular demise of digital health startups like Theranos has stoked fear in the hearts of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Join leaders of digital health startups who are dauntlessly facing the gauntlet that has thwarted many that have gone before them and learn what is critical to succeeding in healthcare. Featuring: Wende Hutton, Canaan Partners; Alan Levy, Chrono Therapeutics; David O’Reilly, Proteus; Rick Altinger, Glooko [Vote now!
  5. Cracking the Complex Code of Addiction. Addiction is a monumental public health issue, with President Obama requesting a whopping $1.1B to address the opioid addiction crisis. The check has yet to be written, but the first major legislation to address opioid addiction is on its way to the president’s desk. This signifies an urgency to conquer a problem that’s killing nearly 30,000 people annually in the U.S.—putting it on the same scale as firearm deaths. Featuring: David Matly, Chrono Therapeutics; William Michael Hooten, Mayo Clinic [Vote now!]