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

SEARCH
The Man Who Saw Inside Himself
4:10 pm - 5:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Larry Smarr believes in being the CEO of his own body, and for years, he has been measuring inputs (food and drink) and outputs (caloric expenditure and excretion patterns), and juxtaposing that data with imaging and analyses of his blood and stool samples. “Transparent Larry” ultimately created a three-dimensional model of his inflamed colon, a virtual image that shortened and simplified his surgery for Crohn’s disease. Smarr may be unusual in his determination, but the tools he used represent the future of medicine. The difference in the operating room, said his surgeon, was like driving before and after the advent of Google maps. Patient and doctor will be on the stage together.
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Plenary Session   Disrupting Health Systems
Health Care for All: Possibility or Pipe Dream?
4:10 pm - 5:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Universal health care involves much more than providing insurance coverage to everyone. It also means ensuring that appropriate, affordable, and timely medical services are available to all, in keeping with the view of health as a fundamental human right. In the US, the framework of Medicare for All is gaining traction. Health workers in Mali are working deep within communities to provide free health care to anyone in need, and under-age-five mortality rates in rural communities have plunged as a result. Is universal health care a realistic goal and what tradeoffs have to be considered to achieve it?
Koch Tent
Plenary Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
Health Reform: Where Do Conservatives Go from Here?
4:10 pm - 5:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Despite repeated attempts, Congress has not repealed the Affordable Care Act, although the Trump Administration has chipped away at some of its provisions. The requirement that all insurance plans offer “ten essential benefits” has been softened and the individual mandate to carry a minimum level of coverage has been repealed. Conservatives remain united in their distaste for the law and want bolder action, but they are divided about where to go next. They are vigorously debating marketplace reforms and health savings accounts, strategies to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid, and ways to return more authority to the states. Where will the conversation on the right lead?
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Evening Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
Development as Dignity
5:00 pm - 5:30 pm MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Development in the Global South is fundamentally about dignity – the dignity of people, of planet, and of all life. In a new anthology by the Aspen New Voices Fellows, the authors offer a balanced view of global health and development, presenting a fresh perspective in an increasingly polarized world. Hear them tell stories of their quest for dignity and share engaging insights from Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.
Hotel Jerome Antler Bar
Book Signings  
Wine and Sign
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Join Spotlight Health presenters for a wine tasting and an opportunity to get your book signed by the author.
GOBOLDLY Tent (Paepcke Lawn)
Breakthroughs in Cancer Treatment
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Whether the headlines describe a “cancer moonshot” or a “war on cancer,” they capture a yearning and determination to eliminate the scourge of malignancy. Artificial intelligence, huge genomic data sets, and expanded access to clinical trials are pushing forward knowledge about the package of diseases we call cancer. As the treatment arsenal expands, it highlights both the promise and the limits of immunotherapy, targeted drugs, and other advances. Broad-based funding across many scientific disciplines will most likely drive further progress, but is the hardest to secure. What is the latest in cancer treatment, and why are cures so elusive? (Underwritten by GSK)
Limelight Hotel
Plenary Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
Undaunted: Stories from the Front Line
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Sometimes, a single data point can arouse new insights, inspire a novel problem-solving approach, encourage a career shift, or even change a life. In an hour of fast-paced, sensory-rich storytelling, ten trailblazing development leaders from the global South share frontline stories about a piece of data that altered their journeys toward global health — and explain why their learnings should matter to all of us. (Underwritten by Johnson & Johnson)
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Evening Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
Far from the Tree (Film and Discussion)
7:30 pm - 12:00 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Discover the courage of compassion through the eyes of parents journeying toward acceptance of their unique children. Based on Andrew Solomon’s best-selling book, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, the film offers a deeply personal view of what it means to parent a child with autism, Down syndrome, or short stature, or to have raised a teenager who murders a little boy. Directed by Rachel Dretzin, this sneak peek screening will be followed by a discussion with Solomon and some of the parents featured in the film. (Underwritten by the diaTribe Foundation)
Paepcke Auditorium
Evening Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
When Breath Becomes Air: A Conversation About Life, Death, and Humanity in Health Care
7:30 pm - 12:00 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Illness and death are universal challenges, but not something we anticipate in our 30s. Kate Bowler and Lucy Kalanithi understand that any of us can confront these harsh realities at any time. Bowler was 35 when she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. She tried to make sense of it in Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. Kalanithi, an internal medicine doctor, completed her husband Paul’s manuscript, When Breath Becomes Air, after the neurosurgeon died of lung cancer at the age of 37. The two women discuss life, death, and the pursuit of humanity in American health care.
Belly Up Aspen
Evening Session   Our Planet, Our Health
The Interplay of Human and Animal Health
7:30 pm - 12:00 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
Human survival depends on an extraordinarily complex dance with animals. From the bees whose pollinating habits give us much of our food supply to the primates who testify to the power of evolution, from the animals that transmit diseases to humans to those that contribute to therapeutic research, our lives are completely intertwined with the millions of other species inhabiting Earth. These delicate relationships are being transformed in an era of mass extinction and biodiversity loss, upending agriculture, increasing transmission of infectious diseases, modifying the gut microbiome that preserves immune function, and diminishing the benefits of experiencing nature.
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
Evening Session   Healthy Communities
Report Card: How Do Colleges Score on Student Health Needs?
8:30 pm - 12:00 am MDT on Friday, June 22, 2018
College presents opportunities for students to test their wings, explore new relationships, pursue their personal best, and develop an enduring passion for learning. Often the first opportunity for real independence, the college years can also pose serious health risks — among them, mental health issues, binge drinking, sexually transmitted diseases, date rape, infections, and sleep deprivation. Two academic leaders talk about campus health: Paula Johnson, a cardiologist and women’s health expert, is president of Wellesley College; Dan Porterfield, now president of the Aspen Institute, just stepped down as head of Franklin & Marshall College.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Koch Building, Booz Allen Hamilton Room

Pages