Health Care

Former US Health Secretaries Call for Big Ideas in Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance

April 26, 2019  • Kathleen Sebelius & Tommy Thompson

Former US Secretaries of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Tommy Thompson are co-chairs of the Aspen Health Strategy Group (AHSG). A project of the Health, Medicine and Society Program of the Aspen Institute, the Aspen Health Strategy Group is comprised of 24 senior leaders across influential sectors such as health, business, media, technology, who are tasked with providing recommendations on important and complex health issues to promote improvements in policy and practice.

Each year the AHSG tackles one issue for a year long, in-depth study. This year’s topic is antimicrobial resistance. Do you have a big idea to tackle this issue? Submit it to us online by filling out a short form.

While the discovery of antibiotics transformed medicine and saves millions of lives each year, this critical public health tool is at risk. The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria presents a serious threat to our public health in the US and across the globe. According to the CDC, at least 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the US each year. In order to make progress against this threat we need creative approaches and big ideas.

What are the factors contributing to increased resistance? How can we more effectively reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics in humans? How are antibiotics used in agriculture and how can we improve multisector collaboration and surveillance? What is the status of new antibiotics and how can the pipeline be increased? These are all questions the Aspen Health Strategy Group plans to explore.

We know that good ideas can come from anywhere and anyone.

In the tradition of thought-provoking conversations and transformative ideas on addressing critical societal challenges — the hallmark of the Aspen Institute — we are looking for big ideas that will transform the way we are addressing antimicrobial resistance in our country. They should be “big” as in meaningful and bold and “ideas” as in reflecting thought and not just an exhortation that someone do something they should be doing already.

We know that good ideas can come from anywhere and anyone, so we are opening up our solicitation for big ideas to everyone. If you have an idea for addressing antimicrobial resistance, we hope you will share it with us. The AHSG staff and members will select up to five that will be included in a paper that will be prepared later in the year. This isn’t a competition — there is no prize — but your big idea just might become the starting point for much-needed change in health care.

For complete information about our guidelines, go here.

Submit Your Big Idea Here

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