Aspen Ideas Festival

The Aspen Ideas Festival is an annual week long gathering that offers a variety of programs, tutorials, seminars, discussions and events that bring together vibrant intellectual exchange. You'll hear on some of the live sessions from the Aspen Ideas Festival here on Aspen Public Radio.

The Fight for Good Food 

Since Sam Kass became senior policy advisor for Nutrition Policy at the White House, five years ago, he has been at the forefront of Michelle Obama’s campaign to convince manufacturers to reduce fat and sodium and add whole grains to their foods. A legacy of the White House will be improving school lunches — if, that is, the improvements the White House won four years ago don’t get rolled back by a Congress that says fruits and vegetables are expensive and kids don’t eat them anyway. Kass will discuss the White House’s priorities and successful strategies, the far-flung effects of the Let’s Move! campaign, and their unexpectedly heated recent fight to keep their lunch legacy alive.

Sam Kass, Corby Kummer

Women’s Health: The Unfinished Revolution

The phrase “women’s health” slips off the tongues of clinicians, public health experts, community advocates and legislators with ease, but the ideological battles of the past three decades have clouded this once-useful term. Reproductive health services and access to family planning promote health and combat poverty, but they do not represent the sum of women’s health needs or rights. Women also differ from men in how they develop, age, and respond to treatment, yet the science of their unique characteristics is alarmingly incomplete. What is “women’s health” really about, and how we do re-imagine its future?

Jane Otai, Sisonke Msimang, Courtney E. Martin, Betty King

THE ASPEN LECTURE When Experts Disagree: The Art of Medical Decision-Making

Despite medical advances and the application of scientific principles to modern medicine, there seems to be increasing controversy about the “right” diagnostic and treatment choices, even for very common medical issues – such as how best to treat high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, whether to take vitamins, especially vitamin D, and who should be screened for cancer with mammograms and PSA. And the debate is very public, fomenting confusion with almost daily stories in the media. Why are experts disagreeing? Why isn't there a clear “right” answer? And what support do patients need to make decisions in the face of such controversy?

Jerome Groopman, Pamela Hartzband

Colorado's "Right to Try" Law: A Lifeline or False Hope?

Colorado’s new “right-to-try” law, signed in May, allows terminally ill patients access to investigational drugs without federal approval. Similar legislation is being considered in other states. Supporters call it a ray of hope for people with few alternatives, while skeptics argue that the hopes could be false and the suffering worsened. The US Food and Drug Administration already has compassionate-use mechanisms in place, but action at the state level is a first. What are the clinical and ethical implications of Colorado’s action? Are states usurping federal authority? What are the rights of dying people here?

Elliot Gerson, Joe Garcia, Diane E. Meier

Hope on the Horizon: New Strategies for the Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

One out of three individuals may be affected by Alzheimer’s Disease by the age of 80. Leading research scientists have hope, however, that this most insidious illness might reverse itself.

Howard Fillit & Ezekiel Emanuel

Without Water, Revolution

Why the effects of drought have so much to do with the revolutionary inclinations of a frustrated populace. Is climate a cause of the Arab Spring?

Solly Granatstein & Thomas L. Friedman

Fear and Hope: Climate Change and Policy Solutions

Few people appreciate just how badly our society will suffer under likely climate change. We are on the verge of unleashing runaway changes, wherein nature’s forces accelerate the impacts of humanity’s emissions, and we get cascading, unstoppable change. This is important to understand, for we will leave an earth a far diminished place, with many parts unrecognizable. Avoiding such a fate is possible, but only with rapid, serious actions. Presenting climate dangers at length, and without an antidote, just leaves depression in the wake. An emerging story is positive: There are new technologies growing at an astounding pace that can reverse CO2 emissions trends. Recent developments in Germany, Denmark, and China and several US states show the potential. This story begins darkly, but transitions to a discovery of solutions that can help build a much more useful conversation on climate change.

Hal Harvey, James Fallows

Matter of Debate: Should Pot Be Legal?

Recent elections in the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana, catalyzing the national debate regarding drug policy and reform. Will other states follow? How will the federal government respond? And what are the risks and benefits of moving in this direction?

Ethan Nadelmann, Asa Hutchinson, James Bennet

 

What Does the CDC Do to Protect You?

Tom Frieden & Corby Kummer

 

Gay Marriage in America: What Does the Supreme Court Decision Mean?


David Boies & Jeffrey Rosen

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