Aspen Ideas Health Fest inspires conversation and ignites passion for change

Stephanie Gravenor, Medecipher’s CEO, was nominated by the Colorado Health Foundation to attend the Aspen Ideas Health Fest as one of the 2022 Aspen Ideas: Health Fellows. The Health Fellows, a diverse group of health leaders, are selected for their work, accomplishments, and ability to transform ideas into action. With over 150 speakers and seven program tracks that spanned four days, the event explored bold approaches to better health for all through lively, robust conversations. 

It inspired much thought around what we can do to build the healthcare system that we all wished we worked in, one where healthcare workers spend time taking care of people, rather than fighting the system or the technology.”

Stephanie Gravenor

Stephanie was particularly honed-in on conversations centered around the nursing workforce, and the “acute on chronic” workforce shortages presenting as a large healthcare crisis. Some highlights included: 

Photo: Stephanie Gravenor, Sandra Lindsay, Vanessa Broadhurst

Meeting Sandra Lindsay

Lindsay is a critical-care nurse and director of patient care services in critical care at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York. She has more than 28 years of experience caring for the sickest patients. She is proud to have been the first person in the U.S. to receive the Covid-19 vaccine on December 14, 2020, and has been honored for her work combating vaccine hesitancy.  

Discussion on how to be an ally and supporter of the nursing profession 

It was inspiring to meet companies that are proud advocates of the nursing profession, including Johnson & Johnson and their initiative, The Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation.  The J&J-sponsored session, “Healthcare in Critical Condition: Who Cares when Nurses Leave?”, took on foundational issues around nursing, why nurses are leaving the profession, and what the future looks like for nurses in healthcare.

Women funding women in healthcare 

L-to-R: Alexis Madrigal (facilitator), Julie Yoo (General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz); Kathryne Cooper (Partner, Jumpstart Nova), Nina Kjellson (General Partner, Canaan)

Attending the all-women Panel “Venture Capital Predicts the Future” reinforced that representation in the investor community is extremely important. It was inspiring to see people who look like me positioned as check-writing decision makers and succeeding in the fundraising space. The session validated that startups need capital at every stage to succeed and shared significant statistics on diversity in investment dollars, especially in healthcare. 

Deep-dive discussions on “acute on chronic” workforce shortages illuminated several fundamental ideas

  • Build the healthcare system we all wished we worked in, where healthcare workers spend time caring for people rather than fighting the system or the technology. 
  • Prioritize how we think about healthcare workers and what the future looks like for them
  • Advocate for nurses working at the highest level of licensure
  • Turn the spotlight inward and shift accordingly. When we talk about solutions, it’s often what someone else should do. But from a health systems perspective, the locus of control is with us. We need to make the changes; it is our responsibility to do so. 

It was an absolute honor to share space and conversations with so many of the Health Fellows. It was extremely delightful and rejuvenating to see so many energetic and genuine humans that care about health and the state or our society.”

Stephanie Gravenor

Thank you to the Colorado Health Foundation for the nomination and privilege to attend the Aspen Ideas Health Fest. The Colorado Health Foundation brings health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy advocacy, learning and capacity building.