Aspen Ideas: Health Announces 2023 Agenda for 10th Anniversary Event

From June 21 - 24, leading experts and innovators in healthcare, public health, policymaking, science, business, and the arts will gather in Aspen, CO to discuss urgent challenges and exciting advancements in health.

Washington, DC and Aspen, CO, June 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, organizers announced the agenda for Aspen Ideas: Health, the multi-day event in Colorado taking place from June 21 to 24. Leaders paving the way in health, medicine, and science will contribute to discussions on urgent challenges, cutting-edge innovations, and transformative ideas. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event, which is presented with media partner NBCUniversal News Group and opens the Aspen Ideas Festival. 

The agenda, available to view here, includes US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra in conversation with former HHS secretaries Alex Azar and Kathleen Sebelius on their experiences leading one of the nation's most significant executive departments. Hear from FDA Commissioner Robert Califf on leading the agency responsible for regulating 20% of the US economy. Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton and Ancient Song CEO Chanel L. Porchia-Albert will discuss the fight for reproductive health. Additionally, Former US Senator and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will join Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to reflect on the 20th anniversary of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and lessons for future responses to global health crises.

Aspen Ideas: Health will explore seven core themes: Power of Design, Science of Tomorrow, The Healing Economy, Planet Health, Spotlight on Women's Health, How to Thrive, and The Senses. Below is a selection of the many programming highlights:

Wednesday, June 21

  • HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra sits down with former secretaries Alex Azar and Kathleen Sebelius to share their experiences leading the department, navigating challenges, and promoting research, healthcare access, emergency response, poverty reduction, and workforce training within its $1.65 trillion budget. Moderated by Julie Rovner, Chief Washington Correspondent, Kaiser Health News; Host, "What the Health?"

  • National Academy of Medicine President Victor Dzau, Associate Director for Climate Engagement and Education at Health Care Without Harm Shanda Demorest, and UCSF Health Anesthesiologist Seema Gandhi discuss the need for change in the US health sector, which is responsible for over 8% of  greenhouse gas emissions in the US. Moderated by TIME’s Justin Worland.

Thursday, June 22

  • FDA Commissioner Robert Califf is interviewed by CNBC’s Bertha Coombs on overseeing the agency responsible for more than $2.7 trillion in medical products, food, and tobacco—one-fifth of the nation’s economy.

  • Céline Gounder, CBS News Medical Contributor and Senior Fellow and Editor-at-Large for public health at the Kaiser Family Foundation, chats with Seth Berkley CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, about his organization’s work protecting a generation of children in some of the world’s poorest countries and the need to address remaining vaccine gaps.

  • NBC News’s Kristen Welker interviews Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton and Ancient Song CEO Chanel Porchia-Albert on women's health, equity, and reproductive justice.
  • Benjamin Jealous, Executive Director of the Sierra Club and Marta Segura, Chief Heat Officer and Director of Climate Emergency Mobilization for the City of Los Angeles, join TIME’s Justin Worland for a conversation about incorporating equity into climate change strategies.

  • Scientists and policymakers warn that another pandemic is inevitable. Barbara Mahon, Acting Director, Coronavirus and Other Respiratory Viruses Division, CDC; Jonna Mazet, Vice Provost - Grand Challenges, University of California, Davis; and Jane True, Vice President, mRNA Commercial Strategy and Innovation and Global Pandemic Security Lead, Pfizer, discuss overhauls to safeguard public health. Moderated by STAT’s Nicholas St. Fleur.

Friday, June 23

  • Former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci and former US Senator and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist reflect on the legacy of PEPFAR, the largest investment by any nation in a single disease, which is credited with saving over 25 million lives. Moderated by CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.

  • Meena Seshamani, Director of the Center for Medicare, discusses the long-term financing and expanding policy considerations of Medicare in a live “In the Bubble” podcast conversation with Andy Slavitt, Founding Partner, Town Hall Ventures.

  • Renee Wegrzyn, Director of Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) and Amy Jenkins, Director of Health Science Futures, ARPA-H, join NBC News’s John Torres to discuss ARPA-H’s mission of funding transformative health research for breakthroughs in cancer, diabetes, dementia, and more.

  • Kevin Churchwell, President and CEO of the Boston Children’s Hospital, Peter Pisters, President of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Selwyn Vickers, President and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discuss, promising cancer research, innovative technology, and the future of cancer treatment in conversation with CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen.

  • Private equity firms are investing billions in the healthcare sector, claiming to expand access, drive innovation, and create jobs, while critics argue it leads to consolidation, higher costs, and potential quality issues. Alan Weil of Health Affairs moderates a conversation with Alex Azar, Former HHS Secretary, Eileen O'Grady, Healthcare Research Director, Private Equity Stakeholder Project, and Zirui Song, Associate Professor of Health Care Policy and Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, to examine the impact on patients.

Saturday, June 24 

  • Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General, discusses using his platform to address public health issues, including the risks of social media, loneliness, health misinformation, addiction, and the importance of vaccines, in a conversation with NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell.

  • The closing session features Anthony Fauci in conversation with Nicholas St. Fleur of STAT. Additionally comedian, actor, and Author of All Things Aside Iliza Shlesinger chats with author, podcaster and Duke University professor Kate Bowler about the power of humor to normalize talking about health issues.

A limited number of press passes remain available for media interested in attending as covering reporters. To apply, please fill out the form here.

The presenting underwriters for Aspen Ideas: Health 2023 are Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, California Health Care Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Mount Sinai Health System, and Pfizer. Supporting underwriters are American Hospital Association, Calm, The Commonwealth Fund, Guardant Health, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Takeda. The continuing education partner is Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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