Aspen Health Strategies Group Big Ideas

What is the Aspen Health Strategy Group?

The Aspen Health Strategy Group is an initiative of the Health, Medicine and Society Program at the Aspen Institute. Co-chaired by former US Health and Human Services Secretaries and Governors, Kathleen Sebelius and Tommy Thompson, our 23 members are senior leaders across influential sectors, including health, business, media, technology and more. Each year, the Group tackles one topic for a year-long, in-depth study and produces a final report, including recommendations. In previous years, the Group has taken on the issues of end-of-life care; the opioid crisis; chronic disease; and antimicrobial resistance.

Why Tackle the Issue of Maternal Mortality?

Maternal mortality rates are used globally to measure a nation’s health care quality and equity. Strikingly, the maternal mortality rate in the United States is higher than any other comparable, high-income nation. The WHO reports the maternal death rate in the US at 17.4 per 100,000 births — a rate that has risen steadily since 1987 — with the next comparable nation at 11 per 100,000 births. Within this alarming finding is another one: Black mothers across the income spectrum are dying from preventable pregnancy-related complications at three to four times the rate of non-Hispanic white women (37.1 deaths per 100,000); the rate is 11.8 for Hispanic women. Maternal mortality is a health crisis in the US, and one that disproportionately impacts Black women and women of color.

Why Do We Need Your Big Ideas?

America owes its mothers better care, improved birth outcomes, and the promise of a healthy life. As leaders, policymakers, health care workers, and researchers across the country confront this egregious and solvable health issue, the Aspen Health Strategy Group brings together high-ranking, creative thinkers across sectors to join this search for answers, lessons, and action.

But we know that good ideas for taking on this crisis can come from anywhere and anyone, so we are opening our solicitation for big ideas to everyone. If you have a big idea for addressing maternal mortality, we hope you will share it with us.

What’s a Big Idea?

A useful big idea will be specific about what should happen and who should do it.  It will provide a rationale for the action and describe what would happen if it were implemented. Source documents, background research and cost estimates are optional, but they will help make your case.

Your proposal should be “big” — as in meaningful and bold — and “ideas” as in reflecting thought and not simply an exhortation that someone should do something, or something should be done that should be happening already. Ideas will be judged on creativity, feasibility and the completeness of details around rationale and potential consequences. You can view samples of big ideas here.

How Will the Ideas Be Used?

Our broad, public call for big ideas will remain open until Friday, October 9th.  The AHSG staff and members will select up to five ideas that will be described in the Group’s final report. Due to the expected volume of submissions, the likelihood we will receive multiple submissions that present variations on a single theme, and the possibility that AHSG members will wish to modify or combine submissions into a single idea, we will give credit to the authors of the selected ideas whenever and wherever they are presented, but we are unable to offer any other form of recognition.  We hope that this unique opportunity to promote and advance your big idea is sufficient reward.