A Memoir from the Frontlines of Humanitarian Aid
Richard Heinzl is the founder of Doctors Without Borders Canada: the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization that inspired a movement among medical professionals to help the world’s most vulnerable populations. Modest and deeply passionate, Heinzl shares stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the midst of war, famine and other challenges—and how technology like telemedicine is changing the face of healthcare around the globe.
In 1988, just out of medical school, Richard Heinzl founded the first North American chapter of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian organization. Soon after, he became its very first field volunteer, spending an extraordinary year in remote Cambodia. His inspiring experiences there are movingly captured in his memoir, Cambodia Calling. Thousands of volunteers for DWB/MSF have since followed in his footsteps, bringing their healing skills to help many of the world’s most vulnerable people.
“If I can share one lesson with you, it would be to follow what you love. Any one of you can dream up a country you want to go to, or an idea that you want to make happen, or a program that you want to create ... there is a world waiting for you.”— Richard Heinzl
Today, Dr. Heinzl continues to work with DWB/MSF on technology issues as an advisor on their Telemedicine Advisory Committee.
Heinzl is also the new Global Medical Director of the Harvard-affiliated WorldCare International: a leader in providing access to quality second opinions from physicians at some of the world’s top academic medical centers. Heinzl’s work at the world’s largest telemedicine company, WorldCare, puts him on the frontier of new healthcare technologies. WorldCare provides access to more than 20,000 U.S-based specialists. Coupled with his previous role at Doctors without Borders, Heinzl’s new post gives him a unique view on healthcare. Years ago, he worked with limited resources and improvised with primitive technologies. Today, he works with bountiful resources and cutting-edge tech. Regardless of the circumstances or the equipment, Heinzl remains firm in his goal of helping people through medicine.
A renowned speaker, he shares his stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the midst of war and other challenges. Heinzl has been awarded the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Alumni Award of Merit, and named one of Report on Business’s Top 40 Under 40 for his work.
Just over 30 years ago, Richard Heinzl founded the Canadian chapter of Doctors Without Borders, and took off around the world: working in remote locations far from modern resources. There, he and his colleagues would dream of what technology would one day do for medicine. And as cell phones and the Internet spread throughout the developing world—meaning images could be sent and received from anywhere, anytime—he began to watch those dreams become reality. He saw first-hand how telemedicine would spark a dramatic transformation in health care: geography, once the great barrier to quality treatment, would soon be overcome by innovation.
Today, the borderless revolution continues. In this exciting keynote, Heinzl describes how groundbreaking work with big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotech, genomics, and Cloud applications mean that not only is the world smaller and more efficient than ever before, but entrepreneurs can pick and choose from a host of innovations to create unprecedented health care technologies. Heinzl tells stories from the world’s most vulnerable places to reveal the humanitarian impact of cutting-edge science, drawn from his years of work abroad and with leading tech companies. And he explains how many technological advancements can also originate from emerging markets—meaning science and technology can (and will) flow from the places they’re most needed.
Filled with emotional and inspiring stories, coupled with an insatiable curiosity about the furthest possibilities of tech, Heinzl expands upon our ongoing search for better medicine and toasts the changing face of human health.