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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Breakfast Talk   Moonshots
Visionary Leaders: The Aspen Institute Health Innovators Fellowship
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Fellows in the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute's Health Innovators Fellowship — visionary leaders from diverse corners of the American health care ecosystem — are challenging accepted orthodoxy. In four provocative talks, these experts say what few others will about how health care works — and doesn’t work — in the United States, and share their most creative ideas for new approaches. In a highly interactive format, audience members can explore the speakers’ assumptions and solutions, and engage in a meaningful exchange of ideas.
Buckminster Fuller Dome
Breakfast Talk   Med School
A Practical Guide to the Science of Brain Fitness
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Recent scientific evidence has confirmed significant links between lifestyle habits and cognitive health, but the many reports are often confusing, and sometimes contradictory. What does the new research reveal, and where do knowledge gaps remain? Can we translate what we are learning into practical strategies for improving memory performance and optimizing brain health?
Limelight Hotel
Plenary Session   The Brain
Can Sharing a Medical 'Selfie' Save Lives?
9:00 am - 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Data from a 2007 voluntary research scan helped Steven Keating identify his own brain tumor in 2014 when he began to notice a phantom vinegar scent. After an MRI confirmed the presence of a tennis ball-sized tumor, Keating immediately began collecting his own clinical, research, and self-generated data. Armed with 200 gigabytes of information, he was better able to understand his condition, make critical treatment decisions, and further scientific research and patient care through online sharing. From cutting open his own brain tissue to 3D printing his tumors (and giving them to family members as Christmas tree ornaments), Keating discusses how patient data access, use, and shareability will drive the next revolution in health care.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Plenary Session   Caregiving
Power to the Patient!
9:00 am - 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Health consumers are increasingly using wearable technology to track and analyze their behavior, and social media to exchange experiences with their peers. Ready access to electronic health records and countless medical websites, some reliable and some not, add to the buckets of information within their reach. The result is that doctors no longer call every shot when it comes to treatment decisions, but it doesn’t necessarily mean consumers are prepared to make sense of all the data at their fingertips. How do we make today’s medical office visit a mutually respectful conversation between patient and doctor that makes the best possible use of newly available resources?
Koch Building, Booz Allen Hamilton Room
Plenary Session   Moonshots
A World without AIDS
9:00 am - 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Thirty-six million people have died of AIDS since 1981, and about as many are living with HIV today. But antiretroviral drugs can suppress HIV blood levels almost completely, making the virus virtually impossible to transmit. That’s the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target for 2020, achieved when 90 percent of all people living with HIV know their status, receive sustained treatment and achieve viral suppression. The end of AIDS is in sight, but it won’t happen without stronger health systems, intensive outreach to marginalized populations, trade agreements that ensure affordable treatments, and adequate resources. Will the world make those commitments?
Koch Tent
Breakout   Caregiving
Building a Caregiving Society
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Whether they are tending to an elderly parent, a disabled partner, an injured child, or an ailing friend, most people are deeply committed to caring for those they love. But surely compassionate public policies, generous employer benefits, access to respite and other supportive services, and strategies to train and reward a caregiving workforce can make that arduous task easier. The United States lags far behind other countries in responding to a problem certain to intensify as the population ages. How do we build a caregiving infrastructure that can sustain us all? Are there good models around the globe?
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Breakout   The Brain
Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions (Book Talk)
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Using fascinating personal stories, Sharon Begley explains the science of compulsive behavior and the deeper meanings behind it. Whether mild, such as hanging your tea towels in a very specific way, or extreme, such as OCD and hoarding, compulsion is a coping response to varying degrees of anxiety. Can’t Just Stop makes compulsions comprehensible and accessible, and explores how we can realistically deal with them, both in ourselves and in those we love.
Buckminster Fuller Dome
Breakout   Moonshots
Merck for Mothers Presents: Turning the Tide on Maternal Mortality
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. This is a global issue that impacts families, their communities, and society, including here in the United States where maternal mortality is on the rise. What combined efforts need to be implemented to solve for poor maternal health outcomes, and the widening disparities we see in the United States and around the world? This program will examine the multiple factors leading to maternal deaths — from the rise in chronic conditions to inconsistency in managing obstetric emergencies and limited data on why women are dying. Hear about how maternal mortality is being tackled across sectors — from private and nonprofit organizations to health care providers — to improve quality of care across communities.
Doerr-Hosier Center, Kaufman Room
Breakout   Caregiving
The SCAN Foundation Presents: The Face of Aging
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
The late-night phone call reporting your father’s fall, the slow progress of rheumatoid arthritis that grinds your partner’s mobility to a halt, the neighbor who wanders lost into your backyard. This is the face of aging. Half of all Americans turning 65 today will eventually need help with basic activities of daily living. Over the next few decades, 16 million older people will have significant health and personal needs, compared to six million today, and 25 percent of them will need high levels of care for five years or more. How can we make health care more person-centered, the workplace more supportive, and technology more accessible to meet their needs?
Koch Tent
Breakout   Moonshots
City of Hope National Medical Center Presents: Finding a Cure: A World without Type 1 Diabetes
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
A cure for type 1 diabetes within six years? It is an audacious goal, but that’s the commitment made by City of Hope, a designated comprehensive care center with a long history of groundbreaking work in diabetes (including the development of synthetic insulin). Fueled by a $50 million funding program led by the Wanek family, City of Hope is embarking on research that will investigate novel immunotherapy approaches and study methods of boosting and replacing insulin-secreting beta cells. The premise is that integrated solutions offer the best hope of conquering this complex, multi-faceted disease.
Koch Building, Booz Allen Hamilton Room
Lunch Session on Campus   Moonshots
Celebrating the 80th Birthday of the National Cancer Institute
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
When Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation giving birth to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1937, he brought a decade of political wrangling to a close and created the world's foremost cancer research and training infrastructure. Eighty years later, with an annual budget of some $5 billion, NCI remains at the forefront of investigations into cancer biology and clinical trials that sustain cancer patients around the globe. Past NCI directors gather at Spotlight Health to talk about the NCI’s evolution and its role as a new era in personalized medicine dawns. Is a cure for cancer on the horizon?
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Lunch Session on Campus   Intersections
Human Health and the Planet
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
The health effects of climate change sound a clarion warning that we must attend to a rapidly deteriorating environment. Polluted cities, severe droughts and flooding, and devastating storms are portents of a world in which risks to the health of the planet and the health of families are closely linked. We urgently need visionary and strategic leaders who can identify and implement local, national, and global public policies, build boundary-busting collaborative partnerships, and advocate effectively for change. How do we tame unsustainable resource consumption, protect human health, and become better stewards of the only planet we can inhabit?
Aspen Meadows Restaurant
Lunch Session off Campus   Med School
Climate Risks, Health Risks
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
As climate change increasingly becomes a fact of daily life, the health hazards of rising sea levels, catastrophic storms, water and food shortages, respiratory and vector-borne diseases, and temperature extremes are coming into sharper focus. Military leaders are warning that climate change could result in a refugee crisis of “unimaginable scale,” and some experts believe that a direct line can already be drawn to geopolitical events, such as the Syrian war and the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Understanding the health consequences of these events, and especially their cumulative impact, is a crucial step toward action.
Limelight Hotel
Lunch Session off Campus   Spotlight Viewpoints
Health Legislation in the 115th Congress: Interview with Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE)
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Congress is engaged in vigorous debates about health reform, the federal budget, and other sweeping policy changes that could have a potent impact on health. The future of Obamacare and the possibility that Medicaid may be significantly restructured or cut back dramatically are very much in play. The level of funding for the biomedical research and public health activities of the NIH, CDC and FDA are uncertain. Foreign-aid decisions are certain to influence major HIV initiatives and pandemic surveillance worldwide. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) offers an insider’s look at the policy and political implications of possible congressional actions.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Luncheon Roundtable  
Lunch Roundtable: Continuing the Conversation: The Face of Aging
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Marble Garden Tent
Luncheon Roundtable  
Lunch Roundtable: Continuing the Conversation: Improving Care for the Sickest People
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Marble Garden Tent
Luncheon Roundtable  
Lunch Roundtable: When Healthcare met Uber: How the Gig Economy will Disrupt Healthcare
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Marble Garden Tent
Luncheon Roundtable  
Lunch Roundtable: Consumerism and Innovation: Pathways to Affordability?
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Given the focus on health care affordability underlying the national health care debate and challenges in ensuring access to care, the American Hospital Association Board has identified the importance of addressing the issue and identifying strategies to advance health in America. The American Hospital Association's (AHA) Committee on Health Strategy & Innovation was created by the AHA Board this year to shape AHA's policy positions and advocacy agenda on emerging and transformative issues as well as to identify innovative strategies impacting new health care and financing models, chronic care management and population health. The delivery system stakeholders are working to deploy strategies to improve outcomes and reduce cost. A February 2016 Health Affairs article described affordability as "the most serious health care problem faced by most Americans." Hear from the American Hospital Association and two health system executives about their approach to consumerism and innovation as ways to meet the challenges of affordability and engage in dialogue about how we as a health care ecosystem can pave a brighter future for all Americans.
Marble Garden Tent
Luncheon Roundtable  
Lunch Roundtable: GenH Challenge: Health Innovation Prize Competition
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
Marble Garden Tent
Deep Dive   Caregiving
Deep Dive: Growing a Global Health Workforce
1:15 pm - 2:45 pm MDT on Saturday, June 24, 2017
By 2030, the world will face a shortage of almost 14 million health care workers. In the United States alone, we’ll need as many as 35,000 more primary care doctors over the next decade. Without adequately trained health professionals, universal access to health care will remain out of reach and preventable illnesses and deaths will rise. That’s a threat not only to individuals, but to society and global security. Fortunately, gloomy predictions are giving way to creative commitments, as countries expand their training programs, build cross-border partnerships to share skills, and deploy workers in new ways. What else should be done to defuse the health workforce crisis?
Koch Tent

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