First veterinarian chosen as TED fellow

Claire Simeone, marine mammal veterinarian, has a message for the world
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To be a TED fellow, you must be recognized as a rising star in your field, someone who offers a novel approach to addressing one of the many complex challenges in today's world. This January, it was announced that one of the 20 members of the 2018 class of TED fellows is a veterinarian, Dr. Claire Simeone, the first veterinarian selected as a fellow since the program began in 2009.

"It was a dream of mine to give a TED Talk one day because (TED) exemplifies innovation and excellence and thought. I lost my mind when I learned I was chosen," said Dr. Simeone, who works for The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, the world's largest marine mammal hospital and education center.

As a veterinarian and an ocean health advocate, Dr. Simeone is passionate about translating her scientific work and research into compelling stories and about inspiring global conservation of marine mammals and oceans. Seeing a gap in hands-on marine mammal training in many countries, Dr. Simeone launched the center's International Veterinarian In-Residence program to mentor and train veterinarians from around the world to help treat marine mammals and expand the web of knowledge on caring for these species.

​Dr. Claire Simeone, a 2018 TED fellow (Photos by Bill Hunnewell/The Marine Mammal Center)

TED is a nonprofit with a mission of spreading ideas, typically through short talks available for free on the internet. It began in 1984 as a conference focused on technology, entertainment, and design, and today covers most of its topics—from science to business to global issues—in more than a hundred languages.

The TED Fellows Program has 453 fellows from 96 countries whose talks have collectively been viewed online more than 178 million times. Among Dr. Simeone's classmates is a Turkish astrophysicist studying the structure and dynamics of galaxies, an American immunologist researching tissue regeneration, and a Ugandan investigative journalist working in the Middle East to expose human rights abuses of migrant workers.

"We are proud that our 2018 fellows comprise a truly global, cross-disciplinary group of individuals, each of whom has already had extraordinary impact in their fields. They are boldly using technology, the arts, science, advocacy, and beyond to address some (of) the most pressing topics of our day, including campus sexual assault, refugee health, a free and independent press, and climate change," said TED Fellows Deputy Director Shoham Arad.

​Dr. Claire Simeone (center) performs an ultrasound on a southern sea otter with International Veterinarian In-Residence Dr. Elsa Coria (left) at The Marine Mammal Center.

Dr. Simeone and her fellow classmates will deliver their talks at TED2018 this April in Vancouver. During the yearlong fellowship program, TED fellows receive professional coaching and mentoring, and work with a public relations expert dedicated to sharing their latest projects with the world. Fellows participate in an active online network and attend regional meetups and retreats.

A 2011 graduate of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Simeone spent four years as a conservation medicine veterinarian with The Marine Mammal Center and the fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She recently transitioned into a new role spending part of her time as the center's hospital director for "Ke Kai Ola," which means "The Healing Sea," a hospital and education center in Hawaii dedicated to caring for injured, ill, and orphaned Hawaiian monk seals and returning them to the wild.