Schedule for 2018

Announcing the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival schedule! Find the session you're looking for by sorting by Program Tracks, Session Date, or search by session name or speaker.

Downloadable Spotlight Health Agenda

Downloadable Aspen Ideas Festival Agenda

Spotlight Health Registration
10:00 am - 5:00 pm MDT on Thursday, June 21, 2018
Comcast NBCUniversal Ideas Pavilion
Festival Previews   Healthy Communities
Families in Crisis at the Border: What is the Impact on Children?
3:30 pm - 4:20 pm MDT on Thursday, June 21, 2018
More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the Mexico/US border in recent weeks. Housed in tent camps, converted warehouses, and other shelters, they have had no idea when they will see their parents again. The Trump Administration may end the enforced separation by indefinitely detaining families together, but that is unlikely to eliminate enduring health impacts. “Highly stressful experiences… can cause irreparable harm to lifelong development by disrupting a child’s brain architecture,” warns the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The Presidents of AAP and The Children’s Place, which works with traumatized children, talk about the enduring biological and psychological consequences of the trauma facing the young migrants.
Paepcke Auditorium
Opening Session  
2018 Spotlight Health Opening and Welcome
4:45 pm - 6:00 pm MDT on Thursday, June 21, 2018
Join Dan Porterfield, Margaret Low, Peggy Clark, and Katie Drasser to kick off the Spotlight Health Festival, featuring a conversation with Larry Merlo and Bernard J. Tyson moderated by Bertha Coombs.
Greenwald Pavilion
Opening Reception
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm MDT on Thursday, June 21, 2018
Doerr-Hosier Center
Science Fair (Film and Discussion)
7:30 pm - 12:00 am MDT on Thursday, June 21, 2018
From National Geographic Documentary Films and winner of the 2018 inaugural Sundance Film Festival Favorite Award, Science Fair follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks, triumphs — and, inevitably, hormones — on their journey to compete at the 2017 International Science and Engineering Fair. Facing off against 1,700 of the smartest, quirkiest teens from 78 different countries, only one will earn the Gordon E. Moore Award as Best of the Best. A post-screening discussion with 2012 award winner Jack Andraka will illuminate the excitement of the competition. (This film screening and panel discussion is made possible in part by support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.)
Paepcke Auditorium
Evening Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
Johnson & Johnson Presents: THRIVE – Storytellers from the Front Lines of Health
7:30 pm - 12:00 am MDT on Thursday, June 21, 2018
If a young woman cannot walk home safely from a health clinic, can she really be healthy? If a mother has no access to post-partum care, can her newborn thrive? If a health worker makes only monthly visits to a community, can residents reach their full potential? Good health is not only the absence of disease, but the opportunity for well-being. During this evening of storytelling, health champions from around the world talk about how they are innovating to rethink and redefine what it means to be healthy, so that everyone can THRIVE. Celebrate the pioneers of ingenuity who are shattering glass ceilings, championing the voiceless, and combining passion, purpose, and practice to accelerate health on the front lines, for all.
Aspen Meadows, Madeleine K. Albright Pavilion
Evening Session   Disrupting Health Systems
POLITICO's 'Pulse Check' Podcast: 2018 Elections and the Politics of Health Care (Live Taping)
7:30 pm - 12:00 am MDT on Thursday, June 21, 2018
Health care never stops engendering political debate. Ten states have asked the federal government for the right to impose work requirements on some individuals receiving Medicaid, insurance premiums are expected to rise again this year, and the Affordable Care Act continues to provoke legislative and judicial action. How will all of that influence the upcoming election? Learn more at the live podcast taping of Pulse Check, POLITICO’s weekly conversation with some of health care's most interesting and influential people.
Belly Up Aspen
Evening Session   Healthy Communities
Gun Violence: A Mental Health Crisis for Youth
8:30 pm - 12:00 am MDT on Thursday, June 21, 2018
Over the past 20 years, almost 200,000 children under age 18 have been shot. Nearly as many attend schools where a shooting has taken place. Mass casualty events receive much of the attention — 60 percent of high school students say they are concerned that a shooting will occur in their school or community — but these actually represent just a fraction of the damage caused by gun violence. Along with physical injuries, the emotional impact of such trauma can be lifelong. This session opens with a video, followed by a conversation with children who have had personal experiences with gun violence.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Sunrise Session  
7:00 am - 7:45 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Anderson Park
Health Risks on a Changing Planet: Pollution, Climate Change, and More
7:00 am - 10:00 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Enjoy the beauty of the Maroon Bells while listening to a talk about the impact of climate change on human health, followed by an easy guided nature walk along the edge of Maroon Lake. Meet at the Limelight Hotel at 7am for transportation to the Maroon Bells. To-go breakfast included. Dress warmly; mountain mornings can be chilly. Description of Talk: The Earth is under tremendous pressure from environmental contaminants, climate change, fishery depletion, and the impending shortages of vital resources, such as clean water, arable land, and phosphates. Worldwide, pollution kills nine million people prematurely ever year, the vast majority in low- and middle-income countries. The cumulative health threats are compounded by trends that have virtually all of the planet’s population growth occurring in the crowded, unplanned cities of the Global South. Cooperation is the only cure: health and environmental professionals need to work upstream with colleagues in finance, industry, energy, agriculture, urban planning, and transportation. Against a backdrop of danger, solutions worth celebrating are emerging.
Maroon Bells Amphitheatre
Breakfast Talk   Spotlight Viewpoints
From Opioids to Health and the US Economy: A Conversation with the US Surgeon General
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
As the nation’s top doctor, the US surgeon general is uniquely positioned to use his bully pulpit to drive Americans toward healthy decision-making. Jerome Adams is the 20th person to serve in that capacity, where he promotes wellness strategies, warns the public against emerging health hazards, and is a leader of the 6,500-person Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which stands ready to travel the world in a crisis. Adams has said that his leading priority areas as surgeon general are the opioid epidemic, the intersection of community health and economic prosperity, and the connection between our nation’s physical and mental health to our national security.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Breakfast Talk   Spotlight Viewpoints
Sexual Harassment in the Sciences
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
The #MeToo movement has inspired a sister movement called #USToo, designed to expose and eliminate sexual harassment in the sciences. A sweeping new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine looks at the extent to which women in these fields are harassed on campuses, research labs, medical centers and other academic environments. The chilling impact on the recruitment, retention and advancement of women does more than harm individuals – it also holds back critical progress in science, health, and medicine. A look at policies and practices that can curb abuse.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Breakfast Talk   Our Planet, Our Health
Building a Water-Secure Future
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Water is perhaps the world’s most precious and health-sustaining resource, and surely one most at risk. Microbes, lead, and other contaminants threaten access to clean and safe drinking water. Record-breaking droughts and catastrophic floods put burdensome pressure on agriculture and imperil crops. In the face of these challenges, leaders are stepping up to reimagine water systems and solutions. They are promoting green infrastructure to build back thriving wetlands and forests and manage stormwater runoff, engaging the community to protect wells, and reviving indigenous water management strategies. Is it enough to secure a sustainable water future?
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Med School: The Science of Cannabis
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Marijuana is now legal for medical purposes in 29 states, and nine states allow it to be sold for recreational use. With broad claims made for its physiological and psychological value, cannabis is being used to treat seizures and glaucoma, reduce pain and inflammation, stimulate appetite, lessen stress, boost the immune system, and much more. It has also been widely adopted as a pathway to pleasure, raising questions about neurological effects, especially in the developing brains of teenagers. For decades, funding restrictions prevented US researchers from studying the science behind marijuana, but we’re finally learning more about how it works and where the risks and benefits lie.
Limelight Hotel
Plenary Session   Healthy Communities
Designing for Health
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Visionary architects, artists, and builders are using cutting-edge design to transform homes, workplaces, schools, neighborhoods, and parks. Recognizing the health-promoting power of good design, their blueprints call for farmers’ markets and recreational fields on hospital grounds; planning processes that revitalize challenged communities by engaging local people as collaborators; and art that reflects and celebrates culture. How do we leverage the power of design to bring people together and foster their well-being?
Koch Tent
Venture Capitalists: Best Bets on Health
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Nothing demonstrates that health is an industry ripe for growth and change more clearly than the enthusiastic participation of venture capitalists. Far more than in the past, they are committing resources to seed start-up operations, not only in artificial intelligence and data science, but also in the life sciences and health-related services and delivery systems. Recognizing the innovations being fueled by scientific breakthroughs, they are eagerly seeking opportunities to enhance and extend life – and to generate profits along the way. How do venture capitalists decide where to place their bets, and what is likely to win big in the coming years? Does health equity factor into their decision making?
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Plenary Session   Disrupting Health Systems
Health Systems of the Future
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Medical and technological breakthroughs, cultural and demographic upheaval, policy changes, and financial realities virtually guarantee that the health care system of tomorrow will look nothing as it does today. In addition, business models favoring hospital consolidation, payer-provider integration, and new reimbursement mechanisms are driving new ways of delivering patient care. Unprecedented changes are the reality. How can we evolve?
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Burnout: Healing Doctors So They Can Keep Healing Us
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Burnout is afflicting more than half the physicians in the United States, according to the National Academy of Medicine, which defines it as “a syndrome characterized by a high degree of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a low sense of personal accomplishment at work.” Doctors are leaving the field in droves, intensifying acute workforce shortages that put patients at risk. Those who stay behind are struggling to perform their jobs optimally, and are in danger of making medical errors. Recognizing the crisis, health experts and advocates are exploring evidence-based opportunities to build back physician well-being in order to protect patient health and strengthen health systems.
Koch Tent
A New Prescription to Lower Drug Prices and Increase Access
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Many clinicians have first-hand knowledge of what happens when their patients are unable to obtain the medications they need, at an affordable price. Widespread drug shortages and skyrocketing prices have created a crisis that could be costing lives in the US. With Intermountain Healthcare in the lead, joined by Ascension Healthcare, SSM Health, and Trinity Health, one group of health systems is actually doing something about it: forming a not-for-profit drug company to manufacture their own generic therapeutics. In an evolving health care landscape, this is a bellwether of new business models designed to improve the access and affordability of vital medicines.
Koch Building, Booz Allen Hamilton Room
Breakout   Healthy Communities
The diaTribe Foundation Presents: Breakthroughs in Treating Chronic Disease
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
The vaccine that virtually eradicated polio, and the antibiotics that transformed the course of many infectious diseases, were almost literally magic bullets. When it comes to chronic diseases, a straightforward strategy is much less likely to emerge, but we are making great progress through teamwork and the interactions of complex, cross-disciplinary networks of providers and services. Digital health, targeted behavioral support, new approaches to nutrition, and the overhaul of primary care systems are just a few innovative tools being put in place to tackle chronic disease to tackle chronic disease as we explore opportunities to move from a fee-for-service to a fee-for-value payment approach. What else can be done to drive prevention and wellness forward?
Doerr-Hosier Center, Kaufman Room