First TEDxUConnFarmington Unfolds Unknown

Students from the School of Dental Medicine and School of Medicine at UConn Health organized the first TEDxUConnFarmington event, Unfolding the Unknown.

Event host Frank Amaefuna poses with TEDxUConnFarmington team. (Basant Sallam photo)

This past weekend, students from the School of Dental Medicine and School of Medicine at UConn Health organized the first TEDxUConnFarmington event, Unfolding the Unknown.

This two-hour virtual event-hosted by second-year dental student Frank Amaefuna-showcased a number of speakers selected from within the UConn Health community.

“I was left in awe after each speaker, seeing how well they were able to address the issues that many may not have known existed in different facets of life; it was a necessary reminder to continue to unfold,” Amaefuna said.

TED is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. Within TED, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share impactful and innovative thoughts with the intent to stimulate conversation.

Basant Sallam, second-year dental student and chair of TEDxUConnFarmington , was inspired to bring TEDx to UConn Health because she noted that members within the community had ideas worth spreading and wanted to bring the spirit of TEDx to campus.

“I’ve been interested in TEDx and TED community since 2014 and think that it is a great platform to bring a community together and share ideas! I’d like to give this year’s team a huge shoutout for putting together this event and for all their hard work in spearheading a lot of it,” Sallam said.

The theme, Unfolding the Unknown, inspired speakers and participants to interpret what that means for the future of the health care profession.

“Though in its inception phase, the TEDx event was welcoming and a breath of fresh air,” said Edward Amelemah, second-year dental student and TEDxUConnFarmington logistics chair. “The stage for future talks and events has been set!”

Frank Amaefuna and student speaker Livja Koka. (Basant Sallam photo)

Topics included reflections from a medical student on a year living with older adults in an assisted living community, inclusive dental care in individuals with disabilities, remote work, and dental anxieties and fears. The event also included performances by medical students reflecting on the importance of unity, perseverance, and strength and encourages less division in today’s society.

Second-year dental student Carlos Cardenas said, “This was my first TEDx event, and I can’t believe how spectacular it was. I learned, I cried (yes I did, the violin, the piano, the voices), and I engaged in conversations. Thank you TEDxUConnFarmington!”

Learn more about TEDxUConnFarmington, including the full list of speakers and performers from the premiere event. The full program will be made available on the official TEDx YouTube channel in the coming months.

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