Aspen Ideas: Health (previously Spotlight Health) is the opening segment of the annual Aspen Ideas Festival. The three-day health conference features an exceptional mix of inspiring and provocative experts who dive into topics of medicine and health. Attendees are surrounded by the wondrous peaks of Aspen, Colorado with plenty of opportunities for casual interaction, outdoor adventure, films, and other cultural offerings. Some 125 presenters, 80 sessions, and 1,500 attendees comprise the annual health conference, launched in 2014.
Continuing Medical Education for Physicians, Nurses, and Mental Health Professionals
Aspen Ideas: Health has partnered with the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower to offer Continuing Medical Education (CME), Continuing Nursing Education (CNE), and American Psychological Association (APA) credits for members of the medical community.
2018 Program Tracks
The Cutting Edge of Medicine and Science
Legend has it that molecular biologist Francis Crick ran into a pub in Cambridge, England, and announced, “I have discovered the secret of life.” Crick and his partner had just completed the double-helix model of DNA. Fast forward 65 years, when science and medicine continue to build on that foundational discovery to edit genes, alter the course of genetic disorders, and custom-tailor cancer treatment. The astonishing opportunities to manipulate and care for the body don’t end there. Predictive analytics, health apps, and machine learning showcase the remarkable capacities of 21st-century technology to advance research. The human contribution endures too, as venture capitalists and dedicated frontline citizen scientists from Montana to Thailand amply demonstrate. What’s on the horizon and how do we share the benefits?
Disrupting Health Systems
The accelerating pace of change in the health care system reverberates with promise, innovation, investment – and risk. Open access to medical data puts diagnostic and treatment information at easier reach, but cybersecurity is a growing concern. Hope for universal health care butts up against physician shortages and burnout. As blood and vaccines get delivered by drones in Rwanda and blockchains introduce a novel approach to data sharing, basic processes of care are being transformed. Health systems are under pressure to consolidate; novel financing strategies generate new resources for global health; hospitals become pharmaceutical manufacturers; and drugstores start providing primary care. Will all of this make people healthier, and who will benefit?
Communities that are healthy offer so much more than just health care. They are also inclusive, reflecting and responding to the needs of their members, and they facilitate social connections. Nutritious food choices, access to physical activity, a celebration of design, and educational pathways are other essential ingredients in a healthy community. Although the trauma of violence, the anguish of opioids, the dehumanizing impact of racism, and the threat of disease sometimes imperil progress, cross-disciplinary work nonetheless moves forward. Revitalization efforts, often spearheaded by local people, guide children towards productive adulthood, empower women, connect elderly people to younger generations, and engage last-mile community health workers. What assets grow healthy communities and where are ingenious solutions to be found?
Our Planet, Our Health
If our bodies are to be healthy, the planet must be healthy as well. An environment in balance offers human beings clean air, potable water, nutritious food, and countless other gifts. Scientists tell us that time spent in nature has healing powers and we suspect that our forests and oceans contain as-yet undiscovered nutritional and pharmaceutical assets. But the health-threatening consequences of pollution and resource shortages are increasingly revealed in the planet we have mistreated, and as climate change unfolds, these will surely worsen. Finding solutions is a shared responsibility and health systems, scientists, indigenous leaders and chefs are among those stepping forward with their insights and ideas. What integrated approaches can support both human and planetary health?
In a noisy world, fresh and reasoned perspectives on hot-button topics are essential to dialogue. Some issues merit exploration because they ignite passion and controversy, while others of equal consequence need to be more fully understood because they have not yet received the attention they deserve. Powerhouse speakers lead conversations on a medley of issues, offering fresh perspectives on healthy living, delving into sexuality, and sharing lessons about innovations that are strengthening health and the systems that provide it across the US and around the globe.
Aspen Ideas: Health Underwriters
For information about underwriting opportunities for Aspen Ideas: Health 2019, please contact Deb Cunningham by email or at (202) 701-7347.