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The World & COVID-19

Identity and Inclusion during COVID-19 | Dr. Oluwaferanmi Okanlami ("Dr. O.") | TEDxWrigleyville

TEDxWrigleyville 2020 Theme: “Humanity, a View From Inside the Pandemic,” filmed inside Wrigley Field (Chicago) amidst civil unrest and with full compliance of Covid-19 related quarantine restrictions.

[Massive protests around the Chicago area and Covid-19 requirements prevented Dr. Okanlami from filming his talk inside Wrigley Field. The TEDxWrigleyville set was relocated to Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood to film his talk.]

Covid 19 has highlighted long standing institutional disparities faced by lower income, certain ethnic and racial groups, and other vulnerable communities. Dr. Oluwaferanmi Okanlami (“Dr. O.”), a disabled African immigrant, sits in the center of the Venn diagram wherein many of these communities intersect. Dr. O. is also an Ivy League educated physician working at the front lines of the Covid crisis in one of the country’s most elite health care institutions. Dr. O.’s talk reveals the interconnected web that is our healthcare system and society, showing us we are all only as healthy as our most vulnerable populations. According to Dr. O., who himself sits at the intersectionality of different societal labels, treating our neighbor as we would want to be treated will keep us all healthy. Dr. Oluwaferanmi Okanlami is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine & Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Director of Adaptive Sports in Michigan Center for Human Athletic Medicine and Performance at Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan. He also serves as the Spokesperson for Guardian Life in their Equal & Able partnership.

“Dr. O.” was born in Nigeria before immigrating to the US at a young age. He attended High School at Deerfield Academy and college at Stanford University where he also ran Track & Field serving as captain his last two seasons and achieving Academic All American recognition. He then earned his MD from the University of Michigan before matching into Orthopedic Surgery at Yale.

At the beginning of his 3rd year Dr. O. experienced a spinal cord injury, paralyzing him from the chest down. After two surgeries and intense rehabilitation, he was blessed with some return of motor function. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at the TEDx website