Health

How Do We Nourish Nine Billion People?

About half the world’s population suffers from some form of malnutrition – 2 billion people are undernourished, 1.4 billion are overweight or obese, and 800 million are hungry – and as climate change advances, the threats will likely worsen. In the US, cutbacks in the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program mean some Americans run out food every month. Lacking the right nutrients to grow and thrive, billions around the globe cannot rise from poverty. What food and nutrition priorities should the international community set as the UN’s Millennium Development Goals expire? What is the blueprint for strengthening access to nutritious foods and sustainable agriculture? What is the role for the private sector?

Josh Lozman, Ronald Shaich, Marc Van Ameringen, Dan Glickman, Toni Verstandig, Derek Yach

How Can We Die With Dignity?

The hospice movement and other cultural and system-wide innovations in palliative care have been welcome strategies for easing the dying experience, but many people still do not have their final wishes respected. If we are to guide patients and families through life’s final stage with dignity, we need to have wiser conversations, better services, and a clearer ethical framework. What is it like to be present with people as they approach death? What roles can the young and the healthy play? What investments do we need to make to smooth the passage away from the living?

Arthur Leonard Caplan, Ai-jen Poo, Akaya Windwood, Ray Suarez

Communities That Thrive

Healthy communities put people first, with safe housing, convenient schools and workplaces, and ready access to food, water, recreation and sustainable transportation. Rural or urban, resource-rich or impoverished, they offer opportunity and hope, and reward imagination and ingenuity. These places also foster a sense of shared purpose, perhaps sporting community centers and gardens, resource-sharing activities and microenterprise, sidewalks and bike lanes. What are the must-have features of a healthy community? How should small towns and large cities be designed in the future? What does the explosion of mega-metropolises around the world mean to health?

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, Gabe Klein, Kennedy Odede, Gina Murdock, Belinda Reininger

Personalized Medicine: The Future is Now

Personalized medicine is upending hierarchies with consumer products like Scanadu, designed to track physiological signals, and 23andMe.com, which provides raw genetic data. Meanwhile, our exploding knowledge means treatments can increasingly be custom-tailored — the genetic characteristics of a tumor can predict the most effective drug to fight it; a medical image can reveal which artery-opening device will be most effective for a particular individual. How does personalized medicine change the way medicine is practiced? Is it possible to know too much? Does the US need a new regulatory framework for this unprecedented era?

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

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