Dramatic breakthroughs in medicine, public health, and social and economic development have resulted in unprecedented extensions of the human lifespan across the world over the past century. This triumph for humanity provides new opportunities as well as new challenges. Globally, we are facing a major demographic shift. Today, 8.5% of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. By 2050, this percentage is projected to more than double, reaching 1.6 billion. The global population of the oldest oldpeople aged 80 and olderis expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126 million to 447 million.
At the current pace, population aging is poised to impose a significant strain on economies, health systems, and social structures worldwide. But it doesnt have to.We can envision, just on the horizon, an explosion of potential new medicines, treatments, technologies, and preventive and social strategies that could help transform the way we age and ensure better health, function, and productivity during a period of extended longevity. Multidisciplinary solutions are urgently needed to maximize the number of years lived in good health and a state of well-being. Now is the time to support the next breakthroughs in healthy longevity, so that all of us can benefit from the tremendous opportunities it has to offer.
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The National Academy of Medicine is launching a Grand Challenge for Healthy Longevity a major initiative to catalyze transformative innovation and inform policies and priorities to advance healthy aging and longevity globally. The initiative will have two components: a series of inducement prizes and awards to stimulate innovation and transform the field; and a comprehensive global roadmap report that will assess the challenges and opportunities of global aging with recommendations for action. The combined objectives of the initiative are to:
The Healthy Longevity Challenge Awards and Prizes will engage innovators, scientists, and entrepreneurs as they compete to catalyze breakthrough discoveries and technologies that will transform the field and stimulate new research and solutions around healthy longevity. The NAM has developed a model of major inducement prizes for breakthrough innovations built on a foundation of catalyst and proof-of-concept awards.
The Challenge will roll out over three distinct phases and employ a tiered model of awards and prizes. Phases 1-2 will prospectively fund new, bold ideas and advance promising research through catalyst and challenge awards respectively. Phase 3 will issue grand prizes to reward the achievement of bold, transformative innovations representing the culmination of previous research.
The Global Roadmap for Healthy Longevity will produce a comprehensive report assessing the challenges presented by global aging and demonstrating how these challenges can be translated into opportunities for societies globally through levers across policy, practice, and socioeconomic infrastructure. The report will be informed by workstreams in three domains: 1) research and innovation; 2) design and operation of healthcare delivery systems; and 3) social, economic, and physical enablers. Across these domains, particular considerations will be given to: policy and practice, health equity and disparities, technology solutions, sustainable financing, and monitoring metrics. The initiative will bring together thought leaders from science, medicine, health care systems, engineering, technology, economics, and policy to identify the necessary priorities and directions for improving health, productivity, and quality of life for older adults worldwide.
Fundraising for the Healthy Longevity Grand Challenge is ongoing. To learn more about the program or ways to get involved, please contact Elizabeth Finkelman at [email protected].
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Laura Carstensen of the Stanford Center on Longevity delivers the keynote address at the 2015 NAM Annual Meeting
Innovation in Aging:Victor Dzau, Hal Barron, Joe Coughlin, J. Craig Venter, and Joon Yun
Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith