The Speak Health Project

The SpeakHealth Website


To improve health by linking the efforts of those in medicine with those in the arts in order to stimulate meaningful public discussion that can expand our culturally normal views of health, healthcare and medicine, and ultimately affect personal and collective choices.


We envision a society in which health-related wisdom is part of an ongoing cultural discourse stimulated by the arts and media and informed by our best research. This includes emerging insights into what health is and what best creates it. Because our individual and societal behaviors are the largest controllable factors determining our health, and they emerge largely from our collective beliefs and attitudes, the value of strengthening cultural wisdom about health must not be underestimated. As food and nutrition writer Michael Pollan says “culture is your mother.” This challenging work must be transdisciplinary, requiring those in previously separated fields to work closely together, strive to understand each other’s “worlds” and generate the kind of innovative work that can emerge where disciplines intersect.

The Internet and other new media and communication technologies provide an unprecedented opportunity following a century in which limited mass communication channels have been controlled by organizations concerned more with commerce than with health. Now, there is no longer a reason not to renew our efforts to engage the general public in compelling ways on the issues that matter most to everyone. We hope what emerges from the conversations at SpeakHealth is a sense of a comprehensive, inclusive vision with a broad enough perspective to take in the myriad factors that affect health and healthcare and accommodate points of view that each seem true and yet seem to exclude one another. Finally, we hope such a vision can help guide decision-making at every level.


The SpeakHealth site is essentially an expanded blog, but one in which many voices discuss many issues. It is non-commercial. It is a widely transdisciplinary effort that includes people from the sciences, medical practice, media, and the arts. Because culture itself is the focus—no single area of expertise can suffice. It includes emerging research: voices of researchers whose work not only blazes new frontiers but also causes us to rethink our basic views of health and medicine. Street speak: the voices of people you might meet at the park, in the supermarket, or at a neighborhood restaurant. There are video polls that make us face the moral dimensions of an expanded view of health, “takeaways” that give us tangible tools with which to look at our own behaviors, and HealthWhys take a more philosophical—sometimes artistic look at our ideas about health.

Visit the Contributors page to see who is blogging now. See who is supporting the effort with their time, expertise, or financial resources on the Sponsors page. Find several ways you can become involved by looking at the Participate page. Pick one. We need your voice!


SpeakHealth does not currently accept or display any forms of advertising.


SpeakHealth’s intended audience is anyone interested in health, healthcare, health culture, and joining our community of purpose.