How Can We Die With Dignity?

Jun 26, 2014

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

Jun 26, 2014

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

Jun 25, 2014

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

Jun 25, 2014

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

Jun 25, 2014

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

Spotlight Health: Combating Paralysis With Robotics

Jun 3, 2014
Amanda Boxtel, Bridging Bionics Foundation

Many people already use prosthetics to get around; now robotics is becoming another way to help people move. It’s already the case for a Basalt resident, Amanda Boxtel, who’s been paralyzed below her pelvis for decades. Boxtel is Executive Director of the Bridging Bionics Foundation. She says it’s been important to her to aim for the best quality of life possible. She talks with APR’s Elise Thatcher.

Spotlight Health: The Healing Powers of Blood

May 29, 2014
Stanford University School of Medicine

Research around mouse blood has been making the rounds in the news media lately. It even got a moment on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me earlier this month. Scientist and neurology professor Tom Rando is a key player in that research. He’s Director of the Glenn Laboratories for the Biology of Aging at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Rando spoke with APR’s Elise Thatcher, and says the blood research has taken nearly a decade.

Spotlight Health: Are Kids Overdoing It In Sports?

May 28, 2014
Aspen Institute

There’s a big push to get kids more physically active, but some kids are already playing sports regularly-- maybe even too often. As part of our spring series on key health issues, Tom Farrey talks with APR’s Elise Thatcher. He writes for ESPN and directs the Sports and Society program at the Aspen Institute. Farrey says there’s growing concern about kids overdoing it.

Spotlight Health: Improving Doctors

May 21, 2014
Brent James/ Institute for Health Care Delivery Research

The Affordable Care Act has changed a lot for doctors and other medical professionals. There are new insurance requirements, potentially lots more patients and the logistics of switching to digital medical records. Doctor Brent James is right in the middle of all of this, fine tuning the answer to an age old problem: how do you take care of patients in a way that’s really effective, but not overwhelmingly expensive? Dr. James is Executive Director of the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research in Salt Lake City. As part of our spring series on key health issues, James talks with APR’s Elise Thatcher.

Spotlight Health: Figuring Out What Care Works

May 20, 2014
Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Deciding between doctors, treatments, and, surgeries can be exhausting, and often especially hard when juggling a serious diagnosis. Boston Physician Pamela Hartzband noticed this after practicing medicine for years, and she and a colleague have written a book on how to navigate those decisions. It’s called Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You. Dr. Hartzband will speak at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer. As part of our spring series on key health issues, Dr. Hartzband spoke with APR’s Elise Thatcher. 

Spotlight Health: Treating Addiction

May 14, 2014
CeDAR/University of Colorado Hospital

Treating drug addictions can be gender specific, and that's part of the therapy at the Center for Dependency, Addiction, and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver. Ben Cort represents the Center, and sat down with APR’s Elise Thatcher. 

Health Insurance Premiums Could Go Down Next Year.

May 9, 2014

    Starting next year, residents in Pitkin, Eagle, and Garfield county could pay less for health insurance. State Insurance officials decided Friday to change how insurance companies come up with monthly premium prices. But the state’s top insurance official says that won’t get to the root of the problem.

Spotlight Health: Global Health Challenges

May 8, 2014
Abel Cárdenas/Portafolio

Whether you reach old age can really depend on how much money you have… that’s true in the US and around the world. Peggy Clark would love to change that. She’s passionate about health, especially for people living in other parts of the world. Clark is Executive Director of Aspen Global Health and Development, part of the Aspen Institute. She’ll speak about health at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer. Clark sat down with APR’s Elise Thatcher.

Spotlight Health: Understanding Alzheimer's

May 5, 2014



One of the researchers trying to better understand how Alzheimer's works is Dr. Huntington Potter. He’s a researcher and Professor of Neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver. Dr. Potter recently spoke with APR’s Elise Thatcher, as part of a series with health experts. She asked him what we know now about treating Alzheimer’s.

Miller & Newberg/Colorado Division of Insurance

   Colorado residents can keep their previous health care plans through the end of 2015, even if they don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act. State insurance officials announced the decision last week. They also explained how health care premiums could change for residents in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Mountain Edition - April 24th, 2014

Apr 24, 2014

A judge schedules the first major court hearings in the Nancy Pfister murder case. Three people are charged with conspiring to kill the Aspen native.

A new study shows there may be a link between natural gas development and defects that develop in a child before birth.

Has Aspen become too expensive for the middle class? We talk to local residents and young business owners to find out how they’re making it work.

Finally, a local theatrical group - the Hudson Reed Ensemble is already preparing for summer. It’ll bring back a favorite event - Shakespeare in the Park.

Paula Broadwell is an American writer, academic, and former military officer who is known for the extramarital affair ending the career of David Petraeus as the Director of the CIA .

She spoke at the Aspen Security Forum in the summer of 2012, before the scandal broke.

Dr. Mitchell Besser is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and founder of mothers2mothers, in which mothers living with HIV are employed to work in health centers, educating and supporting pregnant women and new mothers with HIV.

Since its inception in 2001, mothers2mothers has grown to provide services in seven countries in Africa, with nearly 3 million contacts with women each year.

Dr. Robert Eckel served on the panel which issued new guidelines on heart health and spoke at The Aspen Meadows last weekend. The evening was moderated by Dr. Ann Mass.