Global development expert Alanna Shaikh takes on the toughest of health issues—from the ones affecting the globe at large to the ones hurting her own family.

Why you should listen

TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh is a global health and development specilist with a vendetta against jargon. On her blog, Blood and Milk, she aims to make global development issues both accessible and understandable. In her TED Book, What's Killing Us, she explains the biggest challenges in global wellness -- from HIV/AIDS to the diminishing effectiveness of antibiotics -- in a way that anyone can understand. Earlier this year, she co-founded AidSource, a social network for aid workers. She is also the co-founder of the group SMART Aid, which educates donors and start-up projects about international aid. 

Alanna Shaikh is especially interested in Alzheimer's, as she has watched her father deteriorate from the disease over the past 12 years. But she says the experience has not sent her into denial—she plans to be prepared for the genetically transmitted disease, should it ever arrive. 

What others say

“With her characteristic intelligence for making the complex understandable to lay audiences while not dumbing down the content, Alanna Shaikh has written an excellent, succinct TED book that addresses 10 of the most pressing issues in global health.” — Nassim Assefi on

Alanna Shaikh’s TED talks

Alanna Shaikh on the TED Blog

Fellows Friday

On origami, Alzheimer’s & kindness: Global health expert Alanna Shaikh rethinks preparing for dementia

August 15, 2014

Global health expert Alanna Shaikh gave an unexpected and moving talk at TEDGlobal 2012, called “How I’m preparing to get Alzheimer’s.” In it, she told the story of her father’s struggle with the disease, and outlined some strategies she’d devised in case dementia struck her later in life, too. The TED Blog was curious: How is her experiment […]

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Quotes from Alanna Shaikh

The more things my hands know how to do, the more things that I can be happy and busy doing when my brain's not running the show anymore.
Alanna Shaikh
TEDGlobal 2012 • 747K views Jul 2012
Inspiring, Courageous