Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, which owns and produces CES®, the global stage for innovation. In January 2018 from the CES stage, Shapiro interviewed Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD, and Foundation board member John Grisham about focused ultrasound.
He also joined the Foundation at the 6th International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound in October 2018, where he gave a keynote speech on the importance of innovation at the intersection of technology, business, and healthcare.
We recently spoke with Shapiro about his passion for the potential of focused ultrasound and why he supports the Foundation.
What is your connection to the Foundation? How did you first hear about the Foundation?
Former CTA board member Bill Crutchfield – owner of Crutchfield in Charlottesville, VA, and a friend of mine – asked me to attend a Washington, DC, lunch at which Focused Ultrasound Foundation Chairman Neal Kassell, MD, spoke. I was so impressed and asked many questions.
What moved you to get involved?
The more I learned about focused ultrasound, the more impressed I became. I was most impressed because the technology offers patients a less intrusive and debilitating alternative to treat so many maladies. My wife is a retina surgeon, and her practice uniquely looks at value-based care in use of injections for macular degeneration. She also has developed a novel, lower cost, less frequent treatment for macular edema. So many doctors treat patients with what they were taught or what makes the most money, but they don't consider the intrusiveness of a treatment or the discomfort of the patient. Moreover, there are impacts to the patients’ lives, including the lost time, the impact on families and caretakers, and the societal costs.
What excites you most about focused ultrasound?
I am excited about the possibilities of using this technology as a noninvasive alternative to current therapies such as surgery or drugs. This is an innovative treatment that works, and we need to adopt it globally. Imagine how many lives will be improved if it is proven to work equally well or better than many existing treatments!
Why do you care about focused ultrasound?
I care about focused ultrasound because it is innovative, uses technology, and offers an alternative to traditional treatment modalities, which can be excruciatingly uncomfortable for patients and costly to society. As humans, we can always do better, and focused ultrasound can improve millions of lives!
What impact to you hope to achieve through your philanthropy?
I don't view this as philanthropy – I view this as an investment in a better world. I believe everyone is entitled to great health care, which means different choices. This is an important societal investment!
What do you tell others about the Foundation?
I am an advocate for this technology, as it is important. The Foundation is well-run, and everyone I met associated with it is passionate about this cause.
What would you tell someone who is considering making a gift to the Foundation?