Janet Tobias has parallel careers in medicine/technology and film/television. Tobias founded Ikana Health & Media in 2004. At Ikana Health Action Lab, Tobias focuses on how health content, technology, and social networks affect health behavior. She leads Ikana’s work in strategy, advocacy, and social entrepreneurship. Tobias focuses her digital content work around global health and innovation.
Tobias is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Health Evidence and Policy at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia’s School of International Affairs and Public Policy, and a Research Professor of Global Public Health in the NYU Global Institute of Public Health (GIPH), where she is been a mentor in the Public Health Entrepreneurial Ventures course.
Tobias sits on the advisory board of Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s student clinic: East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership. She previously sat on the board of Healthbuilders, Healthright International, and The National Juvenile Defenders Center. She was a member of the Drug Forum of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, from 2009 to 2015, where she was part of the MDR-TB working group, and helped organize a forum on public understanding of clinical trials.
Tobias started her film and television career at CBS’ 60 Minutes as Diane Sawyer's associate producer. She then worked as a producer at ABC News’ Prime Time Live, as the editorial producer for ABC’s legal and criminal justice coverage, a national producer at Dateline NBC, and an executive producer at VNI (which became New York Times Television). After working at the networks, she moved to PBS where she created and executive produced the Emmy award winning PBS program Life 360.
In 2001, she co-founded Sierra/Tango Productions, which has produced over 20 documentaries, many of them on medical/health subjects including neurosurgery, infertility treatment and the emotional health of teenagers. In 2012, Tobias’ first feature documentary, No Place on Earth, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was released theatrically by Magnolia Pictures in North America and Senator Films in Europe. Her most recent feature documentaries are Unseen Enemy, about the 21st century threat of epidemics, and Memory Games, about four of the world’s best memory competitors. Both films have been broadcast/streamed around the world. She was nominated for a Writers Guild award for both No Place On Earth and Unseen Enemy.