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Pritpal Tamber

Pritpal Tamber

    • Former Physician Editor of TEDMED
    • CEO & Co-Founder, Bridging Health & Community (USA based)
Fee Range

$15,000 - $20,000

Travels From


Integrating Health and Social Care Ain’t Easy, and Here’s Why

Integrating Health and Social Care Ain’t Easy, and Here’s Why

Why The Future of Health is About Communities Having a True Voice

Why The Future of Health is About Communities Having a True Voice

Innovation, Why Physicians Doubt, and the Web of Trust That Holds Health Care Together

Innovation, Why Physicians Doubt, and the Web of Trust That Holds Health Care Together

Designing Evaluations For What Communities Value

Designing Evaluations For What Communities Value

Dr. Pritpal S Tamber is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bridging Health & Community, a Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to transforming how healthcare works with communities.

Dr. Tamber is the former Physician Editor of TEDMED, TED's dedicated health event. It was in that role that he became convinced that the potential for innovation in health was dwarfed by the size of the challenges.

Dr. Tamber believes that at the heart of the problem is that our current approach to health – deploying technical solutions to bio-medical problems – is not only unsustainable but increasingly failing in a world of circumstance-related chronic conditions.

In response, he founded the Creating Health Collaborative, an international group of practitioners operating from a community’s understanding of its circumstances, rather than health care’s.

The Collaborative’s membership includes individuals from Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, the California Endowment, FSG, HealthPartners, MIT, the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund, Good Food Markets, ISAIAH, Casa de Salud (NM), and the Democracy Collaborative.

From their work, Dr. Tamber has gleaned 12 over-arching principles. Collectively, they outline an inclusive, participatory and responsive process. This process not only has the potential to transform how healthcare works with communities but also to foster the ‘agency’ of a community – its ability to make purposeful choices.

Agency underpins having a sense of control, a characteristic that is increasingly recognized as core to health. In fact, research has made clear that risk factors alone, whether personal, social or environmental, cannot fully explain why people are healthy or sick – the missing link is whether people have a sense of control.

With healthcare increasingly being asked to consider the social circumstances that impact on people’s health, whether it be through ‘population health’, the ‘social determinants’ or ‘value-based care’, Dr. Tamber’s work shows how health care needs to change.

The Creating Health Collaborative is now part of Bridging Health & Community (BH&C). To read BH&C’s March 2018 report, Bringing Purpose to Community Engagement, see:


Dr. Tamber is the former Medical Director of Map of Medicine, a company that produces 'clinical pathways' to improve the flow of patients through healthcare systems. He's also the former Editorial Director for Medicine for BioMed Central, the company that disrupted academic publishing by making open access commercially sustainable. He started his career as an editor at the BMJ.

To book Dr. Pritpal S. Tamber call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.


Reconceiving the Social Determinants of Health

It is increasingly recognized that behaviors, social factors, and the environment contribute up to 75% to our health. However, healthcare is struggling to effectively translate these ‘social determinants’ into new pathways to help people be healthier. Dr. Tamber shows how seeing social circumstances solely through a biological lens limits not only our ability to influence them but also our opportunity to reconceive the role of the health sector in society. The examples he’ll share illustrate a future for health care that goes beyond ‘community benefit’ and ‘corporate social responsibility’.


The True Opportunity of Value-Based Healthcare 

The proponents of value-based health care describe it as the strategy that will fix the industry. But this inward-looking validation of the much-needed shift away from fee-for-service fails – and radically so – to understand the true opportunity in front of us. Dr. Tamber will illustrate how value-based healthcare offers us the opportunity to ask what health is for, and, based on the answers, reimagine health systems so that they return to being of service to the community, rather than the industry. Doing so requires bringing in the communities the system purports to serve and allowing that process to challenge the unvoiced assumptions that define our current approach to health.


Partnering with Communities

As healthcare reimbursement shifts from fee-for-service to so-called ‘alternate payment models’, it’s seeking to partner – and sometimes share risk – with community-based organizations (CBOs). While logical, this shift runs the dangers of seeing the value of CBOs solely through a bio-medical lens. Such an approach prevents us from understanding that many CBOs create others forms of value, such as trusting relationships and a sense of community, that are essential to community health, even if they’re hard to measure in bio-medicine. Dr. Tamber will share stories of how CBOs (and community residents) create and sustain their broad value, and why health care needs to learn to tread both carefully and intentionally when engaging them.


Population Health versus Health Equity

Most organizations limit their definition of population health to ‘the outcomes experienced by a group of individuals’. By failing to embrace the full definition, which includes ‘the distribution of outcomes within the group’, they render their population health efforts inert before they even start. Truly embracing the full definition forces organizations to face their role in health equity. Dr. Tamber shows how members of the Creating Health Collaborative are acknowledging their (often inadvertent) role in driving health inequity and how they’re changing what they do to embrace true population health.


Fostering Agency to Improve Health

It has been understood for some time that risk factors alone – whether personal, social or environmental – cannot fully explain why someone is healthy or sick. The missing link is whether people have a sense of control over their lives, something that requires individuals and communities to have ‘agency’ – the ability to make purposeful choices. Through the work of the many innovators in his Creating Health Collaborative, Dr. Tamber has gleaned 12 principles for how health systems can intentionally foster a community’s ‘agency’ so as to improve its health. Those same principles also act as a mirror to health care to ask whether it can more purposefully engage communities.


What Workplace Wellness Should Really Be

Employers worried about health care costs and absenteeism continue to embrace wellness programs that purport to reduce the likelihood of sickness. The evidence that they work is mixed, at best. Dr. Tamber will illustrate why just trying to change health-related behavior will always be limited given the day-to-day realities of people’s lives. He’ll share examples of how businesses – including those in the health sector – are embracing the idea that 75% of our health comes from our behaviors, social factors and the environment to change how they contribute to their employees’ health – from sickness-preventing organizations to health-creating ones.

Speaking Topics:

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