June 26, 2015

Contact: Jennifer Myers
The Aspen Institute
(202) 286-1680/jennifer.myers@aspeninstitute.org

Kathleen Sebelius, Tommy G. Thompson to Chair Aspen Health Strategy Group
Healthcare leaders, CEOs, and others to address end-of-life care and other tough health issues

Aspen, CO, June 25, 2015–The Aspen Institute announces the Aspen Health Strategy Group, a new forum of health care leaders, corporate CEOs, nonprofit executives, and other leaders committed to applying nonpartisan rigor to tackle some of the most pressing issues in health. The Group will officially launch tomorrow, June 26, at Spotlight Health, the opening forum of the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado.

Kathleen Sebelius and Tommy Thompson, both former secretaries of the US Department of Health and Human Services and former governors, will co-chair the Aspen Health Strategy Group. Each served in a different Administration and in different political parties. They will bring their willingness to work across the political aisle to set the tone for the group. The group’s first-year efforts will focus on end-of-life care.

“Health in its many dimensions is one of the biggest challenges facing our society today,” said Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “We will bring some of the sharpest health innovators to the table to draw out their best thinking.”

“We have a common goal – better health for individuals, better health for the nation, and lower costs,’ says Sebelius. “That’s what underscores our shared commitment.”

Thompson agrees, noting that “our responsibility is to sound policy, not ideology or narrow political concerns.”

Invitations will be sent to the inaugural members of the Aspen Health Strategy Group this summer. A number of other former Health and Human Services Secretaries are expected to join as ex officio members, lending their voice and experience to the discussions. Alan Weil, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, the nation’s leading health policy journal, will direct the group.

“We’ll be putting together a very high-caliber team, people with the authority and influence to drive meaningful change,” said Ruth J. Katz, who directs the Health, Medicine and Society Program at the Aspen Institute.

Each year, the group will examine a single topic in depth, identify action-oriented steps, and push their ideas into policies and practices. The launch choice of end-of-life care highlights the group’s determination to make a difference where it matters most.

Work begins this fall, with experts commissioned to write a set of papers framing the issue. Group members will then convene in Aspen just before Spotlight Health 2016, for two-and-a-half days of intensive discussion. Their goal will be to reach consensus, where possible, and present the results of their thinking at the Spotlight Health convening. Follow the group’s progress on social media with #AspenHealthStrategy.

Support for the Aspen Health Strategy Group comes from the Engelberg Foundation and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

The Health, Medicine and Society Programat the Aspen Institute, established in 2005, is the principal domestic health initiative at the Aspen Institute. Rigorously nonpartisan, HMS creates opportunities for government, academic, advocacy, and industry leaders to explore critical issues in health, health care, medical science, and health policy, and to consider their impact on individuals, families, and communities across the United States. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/health-medicine-society.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.


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