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

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Sunrise Session  
Yoga
7:00 am - 7:45 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Anderson Park
Breakfast Talk   Our Planet, Our Health
Forest Therapy: A Guided Walk in the Wilderness
7:00 am - 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Forest therapy, or shinrin-yoku, began in Japan in the 1980s and is gaining popularity worldwide as a reputable healthcare fix for stress. Guided forest therapy is said to lower blood pressure and heart rate, regulate stress hormones, combat addiction, and shorten recovery from surgery. Join us for an early morning walk through the Ashcroft Wilderness with Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author, naturalist, and certified forest therapy guide. Learn the history and implications of forest therapy and feel its effects firsthand amidst the wildflowers, trees, and wildlife native to Castle Creek. Meet at the Limelight Hotel at 7am for transportation to Toklat Lodge, where a short presentation will be followed by a guided walk. To-go breakfast included. Dress warmly; mountain mornings can be chilly.
Ashcroft Wilderness, Toklat Lodge
Sunrise Session  
Early Bird Special: Experience the Wonder of Birds
7:00 am - 7:45 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
This bird watching journey winds through the Aspen Meadows campus and along the banks of the Roaring Fork River. Beginner and advanced birders are welcome to join local naturalist and Roaring Fork bird expert Rebecca Weiss on this walk. Meet at the Walter Isaacson Center at the Aspen Meadows Reception building.
Aspen Meadows, Walter Isaacson Center
Med School: Fostering a Healthy Microbiome
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Human beings swarm with bacteria, viruses, and fungi — trillions and trillions of them, inhabiting virtually every part of our bodies. Known collectively as the microbiome, they play a vital role in keeping the immune system strong, synthesizing nutrients, maintaining heart health, and so much more. But when these synergistic communities of microbes are disrupted, we become more susceptible to infections and disease. Recent breakthroughs in manipulating the gut microbiome have opened new therapeutic pathways, including fecal microbiota transplants — in which healthy stool samples are infused into a patient’s body during a colonoscopy. Gastroenterologist Ari Grinspan explains their therapeutic role.
Limelight Hotel
Breakfast Talk   Healthy Communities
Reimagining Elder Care in the United States
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
The US is aging – between 2012 and 2050, the number of adults over age 60 will jump from 43 to 84 million, representing about 20 percent of the population. Meanwhile, smaller and more scattered families will mean greater numbers of people growing old alone. Fostering the social connections and cross-generational interactions that are so essential to healthy aging has become a national struggle. AARP has developed a Livability Index to encourage communities to rethink elder care and give the aging population informed choices. “Tiny houses” within a multigenerational setting allow older people to maintain independence yet avoid isolation while breakthrough psychosocial tools provide a roadmap for dignity, joy, grace, and meaning at the end of life. Does it take a village to achieve these goals?
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Breakfast Talk   Disrupting Health Systems
Unlocking the Power of Blockchain in Health Care
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Stolen medical records are worth more than financial data. If your Social Security number gets into the wrong hands, the cost to society is a dime. If your credit card is hacked, that loss is worth a quarter. But your medical records? They are valued at more than $1,000. Hackers scrape medical records for personal information that can be used to file fake insurance claims, open credit accounts, obtain prescription drugs, and a lot more. With healthcare increasingly under cyberattack, blockchain has emerged as one of the leading technologies to safeguard our privacy, identity, and financial security. How great is the risk and can we protect ourselves?
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Breakfast Talk   Healthy Communities
Where in the World Is Happiness?
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
The United States is not a particularly happy country, according to the World Happiness Report. Issued annually by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the report puts the USA in 18th place, just above the United Kingdom and surpassed by all the Scandinavian countries, Costa Rica, Canada, and Australia, among others. The rankings are based on measures of income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust, and generosity. But at least the residents of Boulder, CO, aren’t feeling blue — and the mayor will explain why. Her city earned top ranking on the National Geographic Happiest Cities list, which examines civic engagement, walkability, and healthful food options.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Plenary Session   Our Planet, Our Health
Earth’s Vital Signs: A View from Space
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
The past two years have been the hottest ever recorded on Earth. Hundreds of gigatonnes of ice have been lost in Greenland and Antarctica and levels of trapped greenhouse gas have never been so high, with carbon dioxide readings above 410 parts per million. Those vital signs tell a story of a planet in trouble, threatening sea-level rise with disastrous implications for the health of communities worldwide. Dava Newman, a NASA leader and expert in space technology and policy, offers an orbital view of planet Earth, with all of its interconnected systems, using videos and stories to demonstrate the risks and propose solutions.
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Plenary Session   Healthy Communities
A Stark Look at the Opioid Epidemic
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
“The Opioid Diaries,” a photographic essay published in Time magazine in March 2018, is a stark and vivid portrayal of what the opioid epidemic means to the individuals, families, and communities who struggle with it. Award-winning photographer James Nachtwey shares pictures and stories from the project. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opens the session with a snapshot of the crisis.
Paepcke Auditorium
Plenary Session   Disrupting Health Systems
A Conversation with Surgeon, Author, and Researcher Atul Gawande
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
In a wide-ranging interview with PBS anchor Judy Woodruff, best-selling author Atul Gawande explores some of the most pressing issues in health and medicine today. Informed by his experiences as a practicing physician and a lucid staff writer for The New Yorker, Gawande brings a deeply humanist perspective to topics such as making surgery safer across the globe, how health systems can innovate, and what really matters as death approaches.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Breakout   Healthy Communities
Johnson & Johnson Presents: Spotlighting Local Innovators in Health
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Imagine social workers as innovators, nurses as entrepreneurs, and public health researchers as agents of change. Powered by a mix of science, heart, and creativity, these empowered local leaders are approaching health innovation from the ground up and driving solutions that cross disciplines and build on community insights. Their frontline experiences give them knowledge, insight, and skill that can be leveraged to advance health at the local, regional, and national levels.
Koch Building, Booz Allen Hamilton Room
Breakout   Healthy Communities
Announcement: Release of Findings from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund’s Healthy Food and Community Change Initiative
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
To address the food deserts throughout many of New York City’s low-income communities, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund (LMTIF) leveraged public and private partnerships to build healthy food initiatives focused on contributing vitality, economic opportunity, and health equity. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) and LMTIF will release new findings on the impact of LMTIF’s 10-year, $15 million initiative - which funded 45 grantees. The interactive discussion will offer individuals and philanthropies models for replicating programs across the country. Following briefings by Laurie Tisch and RPA’s President/CEO Melissa Berman, participants from LISC NYC and Green City Force will share their on-the-ground experiences.
Doerr-Hosier Center, Kaufman Room
Mount Sinai Presents: Saving Lives through Genomics
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
The promise of precision medicine is that it will allow physicians to develop individually tailored treatment regimens for every patient. In the future, two people with exactly the same disease may well be prescribed very different pharmaceuticals. Drawing on genomics, bioinformatics, cell biology, and the microbiome, and factoring in lifestyle, medical and family history, and environmental factors, the goal is to offer bespoke treatment that can transform the course of a disease.
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Breakout   Spotlight Viewpoints
Holding the Line on Global Women’s Health
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
The health of women and girls is closely tied to their right to make informed decisions about sexuality, marriage, and child-bearing, but the US is stepping back from leadership in this area. For the first time, the State Department has eliminated detailed information about contraception and maternal health care in its annual country reports on human rights. And the current Administration has reinstated and broadened the so-called “gag rule,” which prohibits foreign aid from going to any organization that discusses abortion as part of its family planning activities. What is the impact on reproductive health services and the organizations that provide them?
Aspen Meadows, Madeleine K. Albright Pavilion
Design Thinking: A New Strategy for Shaping Global Health
10:20 am - 11:10 am MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Once considered a boutique enterprise, design thinking is no longer a luxury available only to a select few in the developed world. This novel approach to decision making is going democratic, with well-funded efforts to share it more widely, and apply it more equitably. Design thinking offers a package of tools to promote human-centered, financially viable solutions, opening the door to creative solutions that address long-languishing problems. Design thinking has become a trend, one that may reshape health systems, sanitation practices, payment mechanisms, and much more.
Koch Tent
Luncheon Roundtable  
Roundtable Lunch: US vs. 10 High-Income Nations: Who has the Best Health Care?
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Marble Garden Tent
Luncheon Roundtable  
Roundtable Lunch: From the Front Lines: Meet the Scientists Driving the New Era of Medicine
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Robert Zirkelbach with the PhRMA Scholars
GOBOLDLY Tent (Paepcke Lawn)
Luncheon Roundtable  
Roundtable Lunch: Drug Prices: What Can be Done?
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Marble Garden Tent
Luncheon Roundtable  
Roundtable Lunch: Health Disparities: America's Chronic Condition
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
GOBOLDLY Tent (Paepcke Lawn)
Luncheon Roundtable  
Roundtable Lunch: Fighting the Flu: A Bereaved Parent and Vaccine Researcher Discuss the Future of the Flu and the Quest for a Universal Vaccine
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Marble Garden Tent

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