Over the past decade, we have dramatically enhanced our understanding of child development and the impact that children’s health and well-being has on the strength of our families, communities and nations. Thanks to the generosity of private philanthropy, we have also seen remarkable progress in the ways in which we care for our children — 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 children in the US start kindergarten without the language, math and social-emotional skills needed to thrive; and approximately 4,600 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 commit suicide each year in the US, while 157,000 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries. But despite these growing needs and shocking statistics, our investments in children’s health and well-being are severely lacking. We are failing our children, and as a result, the well-being of all generations is suffering.
Now more than ever, we have a profound opportunity and responsibility to come together to make child health and well-being our priority, articulating and advancing a “children-first” agenda.
The 2017 Aspen Children’s Forum will convene 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 will be joined by scientists, policymakers, educators and healthcare practitioners to devise and advance an agenda of research, innovation and policy priorities that put children first. They will examine forks in the road, moments when societal decisions will be made, and ask what choice best reflects the interests of children.
Throughout the three days, a series of overarching questions will be 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 US, 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
Children’s Hospital Association
The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation
The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health
The Woodmark Group
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.