Schedule for 2017

Announcing the 2017 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.  

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Breakout   Caregiving
Managing the Maze of Elder Care
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
Tens of millions of people struggle to provide support for their aging loved ones in the face of systems that offer inadequate emotional, logistical, and financial support. Children caring for frail parents experience not only the complexities of proffering companionship and medical assistance, but the stress of dealing with role reversal. Aging partners endeavor to care for each other despite their own physical indignities and cognitive deficits. Nursing homes fail to help patients and families lead the fullest possible lives, and insurance rarely covers all the costs of elder care in any form. Can we do better? How do we honor and safeguard our senior citizens through their final years?
Buckminster Fuller Dome
Breakout   Moonshots
Red Light for Traffic Deaths
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
Traffic fatalities are the ninth leading cause of death worldwide, with the greatest impact falling on low- and middle-income countries. In the United States, the Department of Transportation has declared that traffic deaths can end within the next 30 years, and countless lives will be saved worldwide if the aspirations of other global road-safety initiatives are realized. Reducing or eliminating traffic-related deaths and serious injuries requires a mix of sophisticated technology, political and resource commitments, and shifts in social norms. Driverless cars outfitted with multiple sensors, road design that has safety at the forefront, and policies and behavior changes that make seat belts a norm (and speeding an aberration) point the way.
Aspen Fire Department
Breakout   Intersections
Pfizer Presents: Entrepreneurship for Good: Innovating across Disciplines to Improve Health for All
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
Traditional philanthropy — cash grants and product donations — has given way in some settings to a more entrepreneurial approach to fostering global health solutions. Through its Health Delivery and Social Innovation portfolio, Pfizer provides catalytic grants to social entrepreneurs and organizations to help scale innovations that reach underserved populations in low-resource settings. Learn from a Liberian physician harnessing health technology to speed diagnoses; an engineer who has developed a $3 clean birthing kit for use in India; and a one-stop shop that provides cost-effective diabetes care in Mexico. Here is a look at opportunities to marry technology, engineering, and design with health-focused disciplines to create sustainable change.
Koch Building, Booz Allen Hamilton Room
Breakout   Spotlight Viewpoints
New Leadership at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
Richard Besser recently assumed the role of president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. A pediatrician, Besser served most recently as ABC News’s chief health and medical editor and was previously acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He will continue RWJF’s commitment to building a Culture of Health to meet today’s pressing challenges. Water Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, talks with Besser about his journey, new role, and the future of health and philanthropy.
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Breakout   Caregiving
The Commonwealth Fund Presents: Improving Care for the Sickest People
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
Five percent of people account for half of all US health care costs. Disproportionately older, these adults have clinically complex conditions, functional limitations, and social service needs that can lead to depersonalized emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and skilled nursing or home health services. How can health delivery systems effectively manage this population? The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation are among five organizations that have partnered with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to develop the Playbook: Better Care for People with Complex Needs, a resource to promote evidence-based approaches for improving health outcomes and reducing costs. Hear smart, strategic thinking about how best to support the sickest, most complex patients in America.
Doerr-Hosier Center, Kaufman Room
Plenary Session   Caregiving
Aspen Lecture: Two Sisters: A Story of Care
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
A bone marrow transplant was Maggie Lake’s only hope of surviving lymphoma, and her sister, Elizabeth Lesser, was the perfect match. But Elizabeth’s decision to become a donor meant not only agreeing to a painful procedure, but also to exploring with Maggie their mind/body connection as they raced against the clock to clean up their relationship and strengthen their bond. Her book, Marrow, explores both their bone marrow transplant and their "soul marrow transplant," and asks us all to consider the healing power in giving fully of ourselves. Psychology Today calls Elizabeth “heartfelt without being Pollyanna, wise without being condescending, and spiritual without being woo-woo.”
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Plenary Session   Intersections
James Beard: America's First Foodie (Film and Discussion)
4:15 pm - 5:45 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
A passion for food — growing it, cooking it, and eating it — has become one of the favorite pastimes of countless people. Did it all begin with James Beard? Learn why that claim is made in the new PBS American Masters documentary, James Beard: America’s First Foodie. Following the film, Corby Kummer, food writer for The Atlantic, will lead a panel discussion with two of America’s great chefs.
Paepcke Auditorium
Plenary Session   The Brain
The Neuroscience of Poverty
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
Poverty is a powerful stressor that influences growth and development in children, and physical and mental health throughout adulthood. Science and imaging technology are making its impact visible, demonstrating how the socioeconomic disparities that flow from historical injustice alter brain structures. We’re also learning that social capital can be a protective layer against the health effects of poverty, even as the gap widens between those who can access it and those who cannot. What does neuroscience tell us about poverty’s impact? How can we better use social capital and other tools to prevent or reverse the effects?
Koch Tent
Speaker Salon   Spotlight Viewpoints
Undaunted: Defining Moments
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
In every leader's journey, there is a moment, or a series of moments, that stand out — a miserable failure, a grand success, a total surprise. The magic in that experience is rarely just the moment itself, but most often the way in which each leader responded to it. It is that response that shapes a person’s approach to challenge and change forever after. Come hear ten of today’s most dynamic grassroots global health leaders describe the moments that defined them.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Speaker Salon   Spotlight Viewpoints
Life's Work: A Moral Argument for Choice (Book Talk)
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
An outspoken advocate for reproductive justice, and an itinerant abortion provider who mostly serves women in the American Deep South, Willie Parker makes a powerful case, framed in principles of Christianity, for helping women in need. This deeply personal and thought-provoking narrative illuminates the complex societal, political, religious, and personal realities of abortion in the United States from the unique perspective of someone who performs them, and defends the right to do so, every day. 
Explore Booksellers
Speaker Salon   Med School
The Science of Temperament: Introvert, Extrovert, or Ambivert?
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
Do you think of yourself as an introvert or an extrovert? Or have you discovered that you are an ambivert, a balanced person with some features of both personality types? At cocktail parties these days, there is talk that introverts are on the rise, but in truth there is no one “right” way to be – just ways that work best for each one of us. Nidhi Berry combines her expertise in human temperament with her psychotherapy training to explain how even a little bit of self-knowledge can influence every facet of our lives for the better.
Limelight Hotel
Wine & Sign  
Wine and Sign: Book Signings by Spotlight Health Presenters
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
Bookstore
Speaker Salon   Spotlight Viewpoints
Late Breaker: 19th US Surgeon General Murthy on the Gun Violence Epidemic
5:30 pm - 6:15 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
Bullets rang out on a Washington baseball field last week, injuring Congressman Steve Scalise and four others and resulting in the death of the shooter. For a moment, the nation stood united in shock. Could our shared sorrow inspire a consensus that gun violence should be tackled as a public health issue? Can we agree that -- when more than 100,000 people are shot every year in the United States, and almost 32,000 of them die -- we have an unruly epidemic on our hands? In conversation with PBS’s Judy Woodruff, 19th U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy takes on a national crisis with a public health physician’s thoughtful perspective.
Koch Tent
Evening Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
What Drives Drug Pricing?
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
High drug prices have seized headlines, angered patient advocates, and prompted congressional hearings. Many causes have been suggested — among them, a fragmented pharmaceutical market that limits competition, the quest for profits (whether to fund expensive R&D or otherwise), and government regulations that bar Medicare from negotiating prices. Harder to find are solutions for patients who cannot afford their therapies. Venture capitalists may be a unique leverage point on the system because their investments can encourage risk-taking and the development of novel, high-impact medicines, shifting the locus of industry’s search for rewards. How do we encourage a drug-development system that innovates, while keeping lifesaving therapies affordable?
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Evening Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
Reproductive Health: Can We Find Common Ground?
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
It has become almost impossible to have a reasoned conversation about reproductive rights. From birth control to abortion, this minefield is strewn with political passion, convictions of faith, and seemingly irreconcilable moral choices. Women’s health writ large is in jeopardy as a result. What do women want and need? How do we engage in reasoned dialogue in search of common ground?
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Evening Session   Intersections
Alonzo King's LINES Ballet: Nourishing Heart and Body through Art
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm MDT on Friday, June 23, 2017
World-renowned choreographer Alonzo King, and four artists from his international touring company, demonstrate “what the body is” and how ideas can be communicated through physical language. They offer new insights into artistic obsession and the emphasis on the mind and the heart dancing the bodily instrument. A choreographed performance will be followed by a conversation with Alonzo King highlighting the importance of art in developing wholeness — both in human beings and in communities.
Paepcke Auditorium
Breakfast Talk   Intersections
Healthy Waters: A Journey up the Mississippi River (Buses leave from the Limelight Hotel at 7am)
7:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
The watershed of the great Mississippi River stretches from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Allegheny Mountains in the east. Communities rely on the river for drinking water; farmers in the watershed produce 92 percent of the nation’s agricultural exports; and the river and its wildlife are important to recreation and ecology. For the past decade, the Walton Family Foundation has sought to restore the quality of the Mississippi River, which is the fourth largest river in the world. Join foundation Board Chair Carrie Walton Penner as she shares this story and describes promising new practices that help increase soil health, improve water quality, and sustain farmer incomes.
Maroon Bells Amphitheatre
Misc  
Yoga in the Park
7:00 am - 7:45 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Anderson Park
Breakfast Talk   The Brain
Applying Neuroscience to the Classroom
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
What does neuroscience have to offer education? A panel of leading developmental neuroscientists and master educators explain how a deepening understanding of interdependent neural processes can revolutionize teaching and learning. Emotions do not interfere with learning, as we once believed, but rather are crucial to our ability to engage complex ideas, process and retain information, and build on experience. By applying insights about interconnected social, emotional, and cognitive development pathways to the classroom, we can dramatically improve the academic success and lifelong well-being of young people. (Underwritten by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Breakfast Talk   Spotlight Viewpoints
What’s Next in Global Health?
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Global health today is characterized by a mix of promising developments and troubling trends. Life expectancy is on the rise, and maternal and child mortality rates are falling. But millions lack basic nutrition, primary health care, and access to vaccinations; we are ill-prepared for the next global pandemic; tobacco use kills six million people annually; and noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have emerged as leading killers. Nations with differing levels of resources are cooperating in new ways and discovering that learning happens in all directions as they do. But the world’s refugee crisis has become a health emergency, and climate change is threatening global stability. Here’s an overview of the opportunities and threats we face.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room

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