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

Breakout   Spotlight Viewpoints
Keeping Veterans Healthy
3:00 pm - 3:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
The Veterans Health Administration, which serves nine million vets, has come under fire for long delays in providing services and reimbursing clinicians, and fixes are clearly needed. But former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin got a lot of pushback when he argued against privatizing the $200 billion system. Everyone agrees that the veterans who sacrificed for their country should get timely, quality health care, but they disagree about how best to fix the largest integrated health system in the US. How do we ensure the health of our veterans? What is the right role for the private sector in providing health care to those who serve?
Koch Building, Booz Allen Hamilton Room
The Big Melt: Hazards Beneath the Permafrost
3:00 pm - 3:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Thirty-two million gallons of mercury are trapped under the immense ice sheets in the Arctic Circle. As the Earth warms and the permafrost thaws, that toxic chemical could be released into the ocean or escape into the atmosphere. Other devastating threats also loom large. Bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that have been immobile for centuries will emerge from their deep freeze, threatening infections against which we have no immunity. Dead plants and animals buried largely intact in the ice will decompose, releasing gases that further hasten warming trends. Just how serious are the risks of thawing permafrost and what can be done?
Koch Building, Lauder Room
A Closer Look: Breakthroughs and Challenges in Women's Health
3:00 pm - 3:50 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Advances in women’s health have led to breakthroughs in breast cancer imaging, hormone therapy, and longer lives for many women. Yet much of medical research does not take into account gender differences, and women-specific health needs are often not addressed. Health outcomes for black women, in particular, fall far behind those of white women, and maternal mortality rates for black women in the US are far lower than in many developing nations. What are we not treating in women’s health and what lies ahead for women in health care?
Aspen Meadows, Madeleine K. Albright Pavilion
Advancing Knowledge through Citizen Science
4:10 pm - 5:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Rural residents photograph ailing chickens to monitor the spread of Avian flu, mountaineer adventurers collect scat samples so microbes in isolated locations can be identified, and sailors take water samples that reveal the plastic afloat in the world’s oceans. These citizen scientists are ordinary people who collect data in the field that support researchers warning of disease outbreaks, studying the origins of antibiotic resistance, assessing pollution levels, and tracking community health. There’s nothing amateurish about their efforts – these cost-effective partnerships lead to genuine scientific discoveries. What can we learn from this kind of crowd-sourced data?
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Plenary Session   Healthy Communities
How Race and Place Influence Health
4:10 pm - 5:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Racial segregation and uneven access to opportunity are powerful obstacles to upward mobility in the US, contributing significantly to health inequities, as well as to gaps in income, education, and employment. In 70 of the 100 largest US metropolitan areas, more than half the black or white residents would need to move in order to integrate the area, according to the Brookings Institution. Concentrated poverty spawns poor health not only in rural and urban black communities but also in the ethnic enclaves of Chinatown, on Native American lands, and in Hispanic barrios throughout the country. Why is the US still a separate and unequal land, and how can we eliminate health inequities?
Koch Tent
Consumer Technology on Parade
4:10 pm - 5:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Once associated mostly with IV poles and standard-issue hospital gowns, health-related design has entered a new era with creative and functional products that observe, inform, soothe, and connect. A stuffed animal named Chemo Duck helps children with cancer express their emotions; new digital health records give nurses in Rwanda the tools to provide quality care and improve local health systems. A sensor attached to the fingernail tracks ultraviolet radiation exposure while a digital stethoscope combines acoustic and electronic properties to monitor heart health. A novel device helps people with Parkinson's disease manage tremors and innovative healthware restores dignity to patients while helping caregivers streamline treatment processes. Come sample these offerings!
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Book Signings  
Wine and Sign
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Join Spotlight Health presenters for a wine tasting and an opportunity to get your book signed by the author.
GOBOLDLY Tent (Paepcke Lawn)
Plenary Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
Legislators Who Built Obamacare Look Back and Ahead
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
The Affordable Care Act became law because five congressional leaders made it happen. These committee chairs — two from the US Senate, three from the House of Representatives — share the stage to talk about the passage, impact, and future of the ACA. As the law’s key architects, all five bring insider knowledge of the maneuvering, negotiation, and compromise that led to its passage in 2010. They also bring candor — four have already retired from Congress and the fifth will not run again when his term expires this year. The gathering marks the first time these players have come together at a public venue since the ACA was enacted.
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions and Potential of Heredity (Book Talk)
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Despite all of the scientific advances in genomic sequencing, genetic testing, and gene editing, science writer Carl Zimmer suggests we lack a rich understanding of what heredity means and how traits travel from one generation to the next. Cultural and environmental conditions have complex and nuanced influences on human biology, personal and family characteristics are not embedded exclusively in our ancestral DNA, cells within our own body birth new cells, and an infant’s DNA endures for years in a mother’s bloodstream. All of that, and much more, play significant roles in the legacies we inherit and pass on.
Limelight Hotel
Plenary Session   Our Planet, Our Health
Can Chefs Save the Planet? An Adventure with Food
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Leading chefs throughout the world are pioneering new approaches to sustainable cooking and becoming champions of conservation. Join these award-winning culinary experts as they demonstrate food-preparation techniques used in the Amazon and elsewhere, taste their delicious creations, and learn how they are contributing to communities and a healthier planet.
Cooking School of Aspen
Evening Session   Healthy Communities
The Tale (Film and Discussion)
7:30 pm - 10:15 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
The Tale probes one woman's memory as she is forced to reexamine her own experience of sexual abuse and exposes the stories survivors tell themselves in order to move forward. The film stars Laura Dern, Ellen Burstyn, and the rapper Common. Jennifer Fox, a Sundance Grand Prize winner and Emmy-nominated director, wrote and directed The Tale, which is based on her own story. She will participate in the post-screening discussion, along with an expert on the trauma of sexual abuse. Disclaimer: This film contains material of a sensitive nature, including strong adult content. Viewer discretion advised.
Paepcke Auditorium
Evening Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
Redefining Masculinity
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Traditional notions of masculinity emphasize strength and power and devalue attributes like vulnerability and emotional openness. At a very young age, most boys learn that being successful means becoming dominant, that winning matters most, and that tears are a sign of weakness. But at this time of cultural and economic upheaval, male roles are beginning to shift. In today’s world, when professional and personal achievement depends less on brute force and more on effective relationships, women are outperforming men on many measures. The #MeToo revelations add new pressures to redefine masculinity and appropriate behavior.
Belly Up Aspen
Evening Session   Spotlight Viewpoints
A Conversation with Ava DuVernay about Art, Justice, and the Healthy Society
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm MDT on Saturday, June 23, 2018
How can culture create a more just and healthy society? Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence and precedent-shattering filmmaker Ava DuVernay offers some answers in films like 13th and Selma. Her work challenges racial and gender dynamics in Hollywood and across the country as it depicts in the starkest of terms how systemic social injustices imperil public health. Aspen Institute Arts Program Director Damian Woetzel sits down with DuVernay to discuss the catalytic power of well-told stories, and how those stories can drive progress on some of the most urgent equity issues facing our nation. (Underwritten by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
Hotel Jerome Ballroom
Sunrise Session  
7:00 am - 7:45 am MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
Anderson Park
Breakfast Talk   Healthy Communities
Making Communities Safe for Women
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
More than one-third of the world’s girls and women have experienced some form of violence in their lives, leading the World Health Organization to highlight “a global health problem of epidemic proportions.” In this year of unprecedented attention to women’s safety, we are increasingly aware of their vulnerability to sexual violation, trafficking and other forms of abuse. Ending gender-based violence and human trafficking requires ending the culture of complicity and impunity, empowering women, reforming legal systems, and securing more effective responses from the health and social service systems. Will we make those commitments?
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Breakfast Talk   Our Planet, Our Health
Health Systems and Climate Change
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
Health systems contribute significantly to the forces driving climate change, given the vast quantities of energy they consume and the enormous volumes of waste they generate. In the US, the health sector produces eight percent of the nation’s total emissions, while Brazilian hospitals account for 10 percent of that country’s energy use. Health systems can reduce their carbon footprint by shifting to renewable energy, constructing more efficient buildings, managing medical wastes, conserving water, and more. The twin responsibilities of global citizenship and business stewardship argue for climate-resilient health care.
Doerr-Hosier Center, Kaufman Room
Plenary Session   Healthy Communities
Sesame Street: Helping Traumatized Children Cope
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
When Big Bird has “big feelings,” he imagines himself in a comfy-cozy nest, soothed by the smell of baking cookies. The Count teaches the Cookie Monster a breathing technique to ease agitation while the green monster Rosita punches a pillow to release her anger. These Muppet characters are part of a Sesame Street in Communities project that provides free online resources, including books, videos, and digital activities, to help children deal with trauma. The problem is significant: almost half of all American children have experienced abuse, domestic violence, poverty, a natural disaster, the mental illness of a caregiver, or another adverse event. Thanks to the Muppets for teaching them resilience! (This session is made possible by support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.)
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Plenary Session   Disrupting Health Systems
The Science of Delivering Health Care
9:10 am - 10:00 am MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
Technology is swiftly disrupting all the norms of health care delivery, and more radical change lies ahead. Unmanned aerial vehicles (better known as drones) are delivering supplies; health services are moving out of medical settings and into the community; telemedicine is bringing specialty care to remote areas; and “collective superintelligence” at the intersection of humans, machines, and organizations is aggregating vast amounts of clinical information to provide diagnostic insights. What’s next in health care delivery?
Koch Tent
Closing Session  
Spotlight Health Closing Session
10:15 am - 11:45 am MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
A conversation with Ava DuVernay and Ai-jen Poo (Moderator: Samhita Mukhopadhyay) A conversation with Atul Gawande and Lucy Kalanithi A conversation with Cory Booker (Interviewer: Jeffrey Goldberg)
Greenwald Pavilion
Festival 1 Registration
11:00 am - 5:00 pm MDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018
Comcast NBCUniversal Ideas Pavilion