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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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
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
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
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   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
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
Lunch Session In Town   Our Planet, Our Health
A Conversation with Todd Stern, the Paris Climate Accord's Lead US Negotiator
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
As US special envoy for climate change in the Obama administration, Todd Stern helped cobble together a consensus among almost 200 countries to hold themselves accountable for reducing global warming. Stern describes the landmark Paris Agreement as “finding the sweet spot between what was possible and what was necessary.” He’ll talk about how the negotiations unfolded, what the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the agreement will mean, and why climate change must be contained.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Lunch Session On Campus   Our Planet, Our Health
Wellspring of Indigenous Knowledge
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
The complexity of indigenous cultures is underappreciated by most modern observers, yet native people have sophisticated knowledge and ways of thinking that could help heal the planet. Traditional societies seldom distinguish between the health of the environment and the health of those who inhabit it, and recognize that damage to one is damage to the other. There is much to learn from their deep understanding of biological diversity’s importance, their respect for the natural resources that sustain them, and their ability to read the land, from animal migration patterns to changes in sea ice conditions. How can we use native wisdom to promote the Earth’s well-being?
Doerr-Hosier Center, Kaufman Room
Lunch Session On Campus   Healthy Communities
Beyond Opioids: Shining Light on Less Visible Prescription Drug Epidemics
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Opioids have attracted much of the public attention given to drug abuse in recent years, but they are far from the only pharmaceuticals that can be abused. Nora Volkow, whose research helped establish drug addiction as a disease of the brain, will talk about less-publicized prescription drug epidemics. Overdose deaths from benzodiazepines, used to treat anxiety and insomnia, have jumped sevenfold in a short few years. Prescriptions for amphetamines, commonly used for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, have skyrocketed. Volkow talks about how we got here and what can be done.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Lunch Session On Campus   Disrupting Health Systems
On the Frontier of Global Health Financing
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Leveraging global health resources requires on-the-ground knowledge and deep understanding of what motivates the public, business, and philanthropic sectors. Impact bonds, entrepreneurial approaches to philanthropy, and other novel financing strategies are ways to attract new pools of money while generating rewards for achieving positive health outcomes. NGOs can seed innovation and then draw in government to scale up. What mix of investment incentives, new financing products, and opportunity will produce better health for the world’s citizens?
Aspen Meadows, Madeleine K. Albright Pavilion
Lunch Session In Town   The Cutting Edge of Medicine and Science
Med School: Separating Hype from Hope in Genome Science
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Genomic discoveries were supposed to transform medicine and move us to a new vision of preventive health care. But 15 years after the Human Genome Project was complete, that still hasn’t happened. Meanwhile, direct-to-consumer genetics companies are bypassing health care providers to market ancestry, disease risk, diet, exercise and even dating and wine applications directly to the public. Robert Green, one of the world’s leaders in generating the evidence-base for genomic medicine, describes what's right and what’s wrong with the genomic revolution, and how we can realize the promise of precision medicine for all. (Underwritten by America's Biopharmaceutical Companies)
Limelight Hotel
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
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: 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: 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: Drug Prices: What Can be Done?
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Marble Garden Tent
Deep Dive: Digital Revolution in Health
1:20 pm - 2:40 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Dozens of physicians, health consultants and other medical experts have gone on the payroll at Apple and Google to drive research. Amazon’s secret health team – called 1492 – is exploring new platforms for electronic medical records, virtual physician visits, and health apps. Predictive analytics, automated diagnoses, and wearable sensors are other areas of digital opportunity. Recognizing the clinical implications of these efforts, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a Digital Health Innovation Action Plan to safeguard health technology. Will it truly transform health care, or has hype overtaken reality?
Koch Tent
Deep Dive   Healthy Communities
Deep Dive: Portrait of a Healthy Community
1:20 pm - 2:40 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
A healthy community is characterized not only by the absence of illness but by attributes that promote well-being and enable a high quality of life. While social policy and public and private investments are important contributors, the broad-based engagement of local people is also key. Across the US and globally, people are taking community-building into their own hands, bringing fresh produce to food deserts, demanding walking and bike paths, launching community apps, and advocating for public safety, access to health services, and clean water. Here is a look at how that work is getting done.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Innovation Ignited: Aspen Health Innovators Fellows Reveal What No One Else Will
3:00 pm - 3:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
The Aspen Institute’s Health Innovators Fellows are industry leaders selected for their entrepreneurial approaches to some of the most complex health care challenges in the US. In four “Ignite” talks—a popular international format for fast, fun, and provocative presentations—the Fellows provide a rapid-fire look at leveraging innovations across the health care ecosystem to improve health and health care. Expect a lively exchange of ideas and new ways of thinking about trends in health care.
Doerr-Hosier Center, Kaufman Room
Algorithms, Big Data, and Your Health
3:00 pm - 3:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Artificial intelligence, which recognizes patterns in data, images, and sound, is poised to move from the laboratory to the clinic and may upend health delivery in the process. Soon, AI may generate algorithms to calculate an individual patient’s risk of hospital-acquired infection, based on vital signs and other health records, and to predict when it is safe to remove someone from a ventilator. In oncology, machine learning models are likely to inform disease prevention and allow for earlier diagnoses and treatment. Coupled with an exponential increase in computer power, these technologies will also broaden the accuracy and application of genomic research. Where will all of this lead?
Koch Tent

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