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Dean Ranney Joins Other Public Health Thought Leaders at Aspen Ideas: Health Festival

July 08, 2024

The Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) had a strong showing at this year’s Aspen Ideas: Health festival, a three-day gathering of global thought leaders and innovators who engaged in captivating discussions about current health challenges and shared bold ideas for improving health in the future.

YSPH Dean Megan L. Ranney, MD, participated in three panel discussions during the June 20-23 event. One focused on adopting public health approaches to reduce firearm injuries and deaths. Another focused on the importance of health care and public health partnerships and a third focused on ways health communicators can overcome widespread disinformation.

Among those joining Ranney for different panel discussions were Gregory Jackson, deputy director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention at the White House and special assistant to the president; Brendan Carr, CEO of the Mount Sinai Health System; Admiral Rachel Levine, MD, assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Margot Sanger-Katz, health care correspondent for The New York Times; and Bertha Coombs, senior health care reporter for CNBC.

Associate Professor Ijeoma Opara, director of The Substances and Sexual Health Lab (SASH) at Yale, attended as an Aspen Ideas: Health Fellow. Opara called the festival “a transformative experience” that reaffirmed her “passion for public health and the innovative work we're doing at Yale School of Public Health.”

Over 1,000 people attended the global event.

Dr. Harlan Krumholz, MD, professor of public health (health policy) at YSPH and the Harold J. Hines Professor of Cardiology at the Yale School of Medicine, also participated in a panel discussion at the festival. Krumholz discussed a class of drugs known as GLP-1 agonists that includes the popular obesity drug Semaglutide—distributed in the U.S. under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy—including how the drugs are used, and the racial disparities that currently exist in accessing them. Also participating in the discussion were Jennifer Ashton, chief health and medical correspondent for ABC News, and Amanda Velazquez, director of obesity medicine at the Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Health at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Yale and YSPH alumni were also represented at the festival. Indra Nooyi, MPMM ’80, an Amazon board member and former chair and CEO of PepsiCo, participated in a discussion entitled “What Makes a Great Leader?” on June 25 as part of the main Aspen Ideas festival that took place June 23-29. Nooyi was joined by Ford Foundation President Darren Walker; journalist Katie Couric; and Mitch Landrieu, national co-chair of the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign and a former mayor of New Orleans. Nooyi and her husband, Raj Nooyi, gifted YSPH $3 million in 2021 to establish the Raj and Indra Nooyi Professor of Public Health at Yale. Albert Ko, MD, a professor of epidemiology (microbial diseases) and of medicine (infectious diseases), is the first holder of the chair.

Also present in Colorado was YSPH alumna Blair Palmer, MPH ’01. Palmer, who works in UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, Partnerships, and Resource Mobilization, took part in a discussion sponsored by the Aspen Global Innovators Group. The discussion focused on the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and girls and celebrated the leadership and pathways girls and women like Palmer have created in response to the climate crisis.

"As an alumna participating in this year's Aspen Ideas Festival, I've been struck by how Dean Megan Ranney's visionary leadership at the School of Public Health has elevated critical conversations,” Palmer said. “Her ability to bridge academic insights with real-world challenges is instrumental in moving the needle on pressing public health issues, inspiring us all to think bigger and act bolder."

Complete recordings of the Aspen Ideas: Health panel discussions are provided below.

Submitted by Colin Poitras on July 01, 2024