past event

2017 Aspen Children’s Forum

The 2017 Aspen Children’s Forum convened approximately 200 philanthropists who have demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing the health and well-being of children through their giving, their volunteerism and their voice. They were joined by scientists, policymakers, educators and healthcare practitioners to devise and advance an agenda of research, innovation and policy priorities that put children first. Together, they examined forks in the road, moments when societal decisions will be made, and asked what choice best reflects the interests of children.

View photos from the 2017 Aspen Children’s Forum:

2016 Aspen Children's Forum

Click here to review the 2017 Forum agenda.

Click here to watch video recordings from the 2017 Forum. 

Click here to view speaker slides from the 2017 Forum.

Over the past decade, society has dramatically enhanced its understanding of child development and the impact that children’s health and well-being has on the strength of families, communities and nations. Thanks to the generosity of private philanthropy, there has been remarkable progress in the ways in which children are cared for — from groundbreaking treatments for chronic diseases and technologies that save babies born prematurely, to improved school nutrition and mental health policies.

However, children are still facing daunting challenges. For example, childhood obesity rates have tripled over the last three decades; 60 percent of U.S. children start kindergarten without the language, math and social-emotional skills needed to thrive; and approximately 4,600 U.S. youth between the ages of 10 and 24 commit suicide each year, while 157,000 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries. But despite these growing needs and shocking statistics, investments in children’s health and well-being are severely lacking. Society is failing its children, and as a result, the well-being of all generations is suffering.

Now more than ever, there is a profound opportunity and responsibility to come together to make child health and well-being a priority, articulating and advancing a “children-first” agenda.

Throughout the three day forum, a series of overarching questions were used to help map out a strategy for advancing the overall well-being of infants, children and youth:

  • Societal Choice: How can we change societal attitudes about the need to invest in children and children’s health? Are there opportunities ahead for advancing the norm that a children-first agenda is imperative?
  • Public Policy: What are the key gaps in public policies affecting the health and well-being of children in the United States, Canada and elsewhere, and how can we effectively advocate on the community, state, federal and global levels on behalf of children?
  • Delivery of Care: How can we optimize our healthcare delivery system — including hospital, home and community-based approaches — in a way that puts children first?
  • Research and Discovery: How can we advance the health and well-being of all children by triggering new innovations and building upon existing research?

Planned and Produced by:
The Aspen Institute

Lead Sponsors:
Children’s Hospital Association
The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation
The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health
The Woodmark Group

Supporting Sponsors:
Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Click here to see a recap of the 2012 Forum, including photos and video clips.


Event information
Wed Jul 12, 2017 - Fri Jul 14, 2017
Aspen Meadows Campus
Aspen, CO