Faster Cures Event in NYC : promoting the gospel of Nonprofits in Second Life

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On Tuesday, November 6th, I was invited to attend a meeting put on by Michael Milken's FasterCures organization, to discuss innovative uses of technology to promote faster cures for serious diseases. The FasterCures organization works to accelerate medical research and treatments, using nonprofit innovations. The organization was founded by Michael Milken and was Awarded $35 Million by the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation. There was an impressive guest list including Dr. David Agus, one of the world's best/most well-known and respected Oncologists, John Wilbanks of Science Commons and the Semantic Web (producing meaningful search results, or folksonomy for science) and James Heywood, founder of PatientsLikeMe, a social network for medical patients.

Some of the ideas that emerged from the day's meeting:

  • Mike Milken said, "We need to change existing institutions, but it is very difficult which is why we founded a new institution, to change policy. New thought policy is strong, not weak.
  • We need better post-treatment follow-up with patients
  • There needs to be a better infrastructure and it needs to come from a doctor
  • We need free (technology) tools for patients
  • we need to re-think intellectual property and transparency
  • We don't need any more white papers about solutions, we need clinical trials, interviews and conferences
  • We have no institutional memory
  • We need to track impact better, to keep community engaged

  • I presented how Second Life could be a free and easy way to conduct these trials, interviews and conferences. At first, I was greeted by some condescending, or inquisitive glances, but by the end, I had a room full of eager enthusiasts. The highlight of the day was when Mike Milken even referred to Second Life, later in the afternoon, as "what Susan was talking about with the use of virtual worlds" as a viable solution.

    After the day's meeting, there was a swanky evening reception honoring Sumner Redstone. He spoke briefly about Cancer and the importance of having a good diet. In all, the connections I made and the views from the Esquire House were the best of any event I have been to in my career.

    Here was their FasterCures blog entry on the meeting