Around the Institute

What Will it Take to Improve the World’s Health by 2024?

June 25, 2014  • Aspen Institute Staff

At the opening session of Spotlight: Health — the health-focused event series kickoff to the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival — all in attendance were asked to consider: What is the one thing that we need to do by 2024 to improve the health of the world? Eleven speakers rose to the occasion, taking the stage to share their ground-breaking suggestions with the audience. Below are five of these “big ideas” to improve our health. Check back on the Aspen Idea blog for Part II to see the rest of these innovative concepts.

“What if any individual who has a muscular skeletal challenge can have complete quality of life and freedom of mobility? What if they have the opportunity to wear a technology that fits the body seamlessly, like a glove, and it almost becomes an extension of our senses?” — Amanda Boxtel, executive director of the Bridging Bionics Foundation

“[We need to] stop treating the symptoms of all our challenges and actually invest the vast majority of our resources to the causes of our issues… [We need] to get our country cooking again… Poor families who cook have healthier diets than wealthy families who don’t.” — Sam Kass, executive director for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative and senior policy advisor for nutrition at the White House 

“My big idea for the one thing we need to improve is to close the gap between good intentions and the patients who need life-saving solutions. We need to focus on translating this research and these findings into affordable, high-quality solutions that will save lives and cure patients.” — Krista Donaldson, CEO of D-Rev

“[We have a responsibility] to infuse these places [hospitals] with the energy and vitality of the arts… where kids in 2024 can answer the question of what hospitals are, with a smile on their faces and say, ‘that’s where people dance.’” — Iva Fattorini, chair of the Global Arts and Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

“With HIV you are viremic for years and years, so you have the opportunity to continually infect people. With treatment, you can actually bring the level of virus to below the point where it would be extremely difficult to transmit it… You decrease by 96 to 98 percent transmission sexually if you just treat the person who is infected. The concept is called treatment as prevention. If we go out, seek out, voluntary test, put into care, and treat — in fact, mathematical models say within 10 years, we can [cure] it.” — Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health; chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases