Aspen Ideas: Health Announces 2022 Agenda; Health Secretary Xavier Becerra in Conversation with NBC News’ Kate Snow Added to Speaker Lineup

June 13, 2022

The event will kick off the Aspen Ideas Festival from June 22-25 in Aspen, CO, with media partner NBCUniversal News Group.

Contact: Jon Purves
Associate Director, Media Relations
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC and Aspen, CO, June 14, 2022Organizers of Aspen Ideas: Health today shared the full program agenda for the multi-day event in Colorado, June 22-25. More than 150 leaders and innovators spanning health, medicine, science, business, culture, and more will gather to engage with urgent health challenges, cutting-edge innovations in medicine and science, and pathways towards better health for all.  

The opening segment of the Aspen Ideas Festival is organized by the Aspen Institute with media partner NBCUniversal News Group. Top anchors and journalists from NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, and Telemundo will drive conversations throughout the program and extend the reach of the event across NBCU News Group’s extensive broadcast, cable, digital, audio, and streaming platforms.

Also joining the speaker lineup is United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, it was announced today, who will appear on June 25 in conversation with NBC News Senior National Correspondent Kate Snow.

The agenda is available to view in full at Programming at Aspen Ideas: Health is built around six substantive core themes: Hope, Disruption, Get Smart, Influence, Pleasure, and Security. Below is a selection of the many event highlights:

Wednesday, June 22

  • National Academy of Medicine president Victor Dzau; PhRMA senior vice president of policy and research Anne Pritchett; and Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Columbia University, and Conservation International Policy Fellow Neil Vora, on how we can prevent the next pandemic; with NBC News senior medical correspondent John Torres.
  • Finding common ground through a public health approach to gun violence with Health Affairs’ Alan Weil interviewing former US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, AFFIRM at the Aspen Institute director Christopher Barsotti, and Megan Ranney, academic dean at Brown University’s School of Public Health.

Thursday, June 23

  • Two former HHS Secretaries, Alex Azar and Kathleen Sebelius, talk about their proudest achievements, their hardest decisions, and the advice they have for their successors.
  • Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer shares her insights into health delivery innovations at the pharmacy with CNBC correspondent Bertha Coombs.
  • How animals bolster human health: NBC News’ John Torres moderates a conversation with Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Columbia University, and Conservation International Policy Fellow Neil Vora; science writer and author Rebecca Skloot; and Ramsey Research Foundation director and founder Samuel Ramsey.
  • CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is interviewed by CBS News chief medical correspondent Jon LaPook.
  • The power of psychedelics: Rachel Yehuda, director of the Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine; Andrew Penn, psychiatric nurse practitioner in the School of Nursing at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF); and Jeeshan Chowdhury, co-founder and CEO of Journey Colab, are interviewed by TED Health podcast host Shoshana Ungerleider.
  • Retail medicine taking hold: health care services are moving from the clinic to big-box stores, corner shops, and private homes. CNBC’s Bertha Coombs leads a conversation with Best Buy Health president Deborah DiSanzo and Google chief health officer Karen DeSalvo.

Friday, June 24

  • Countering racial bias with empathy: CBS’ Jon LaPook leads a panel with Cristina Gonzalez, professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Joseph Ravenell, associate professor of population health and medicine and associate dean for diversity and inclusion at NYU Grossman School of Medicine; and Phalana Tiller, director of learning at the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University.
  • Overhauling Women’s Healthcare: NBC News Senior National Correspondent Kate Snow interviews Wellesley College president Paul Johnson; Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement founder and NBC News special correspondent Maria Shriver; and Cleveland Clinic Chief of Staff Beri Ridgeway.
  • FDA Commissioner Robert Califf explains his agency’s role in protecting the public’s health, from baby formula to vaccines, in a conversation with longtime journalist Jackie Judd.
  • How can we put the pandemic behind us? Emergency physician and MedPage Today editor Jeremy Faust and Leana Wen, emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, discuss with STAT senior writer Helen Branswell.
  • Opioids and the pursuit of justice: NBC News senior national correspondent Kate Snow speaks with the team behind the Hulu series and the book Dopesick, including executive producer Danny Strong; book author, executive producer, and co-writer Beth Macy; and Washington Post investigative reporter Sari Horowitz, a lead reporter on the Post’s “The Opioid Files” series.
  • Art as medicine: NPR science desk correspondent Jon Hamilton leads a conversation with Acting Science Advisor to the President Francis Collins; acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming; and Sheila Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, and co-founder of Black Entertainment Television.
  • Physician and former White House Coronavirus Response Task Force coordinator Deborah Birx talks to Washington Post health reporter Dan Diamond about the pandemic and her time in the Trump administration

Saturday, June 25

  • Gen Z innovators changing the world: Francis Collins, White House Acting Science Advisor, moderates a conversation with Hailey Hardcastle, secretary of mental health for the Associated Students of the University of Oregon; Gitanjali Rao, inventor and youth scientist; Avi Schiffmann, creator of; and Dasia Taylor, inventor, scientist, and student at the University of Iowa.
  • The closing session features Xavier Becerra, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, interviewed by NBC News’s Kate Snow; Deepika Chopra, “The Optimism Doctor,” interviewed by STAT reporter Nicholas St. Fleur; and more.

In addition to some 60+ sessions ­­­­­– housed in open-air tents and venues to bring in the Rocky Mountain scenery – Aspen Ideas: Health will offer hikes, yoga, and other cultural programming that celebrate the unique setting.

Editor’s Note: A limited number of press passes remain available for media interested in attending as covering reporters. To apply, please fill out the form here: For those unable to attend in person, a number of sessions will be available to watch via livestream.

Presenting underwriters for Aspen Ideas: Health 2022 are BlueCross BlueShield Association, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Johnson & Johnson, Mount Sinai Health System, Novavax, and Pfizer. Supporting underwriters are Abbott, American Hospital Association, CDC Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, Envision Healthcare, Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).


The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

About NBCUniversal News Group: More Americans watch NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC than any news organization in the world. NBC News’ leading and award-winning television news broadcasts include TODAY, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Meet the Press with Chuck Todd and Dateline NBC. MSNBC is the #2 network across all of cable and the premiere destination for breaking news, award-winning content, in-depth analysis and informed perspectives. CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news and provides real-time financial market coverage, business and general news content, and primetime reality programming, consumed by more than 557 million people per month across all platforms. The rapidly-growing NBC News Digital Group – including its streaming news services NBC News NOW and TODAY All Day – and the network’s award-winning original podcast and audio unit provide continuous content to consumers wherever they are, whenever they want it.

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