Day Two of Impact Forum Celebrates Diversity of Thought Leadership

Thursday’s full day of talks and programming exemplified the diversity of topics and leaders that have made the Lake Nona Impact Forum a destination for innovators spanning the ecosystem of health care.  The impact of entrepreneurship and technology, the hidden conditions to improve personal health, and the influence of sports performance drove the day’s conversations, ending with a series of high-energy brainstorming sessions between presenters and delegates.

A central theme to the day’s talks focused on the benefits patients receive from access to new technology and personal data.  Developing applications in genomics and technology-aided access to health data creates a greater democratization of care with a future of on-demand medicine.  Patients are shown to be better motivated as their care becomes personal, so giving all populations, including aging populations and those with mental health issues, improved abilities to engage their health is key to improving overall outcomes.

Several presenters offered different approaches to defining health and how to change it from the inside out.  From our physical environment and the ways Delos is reimagining our built spaces to increasing understanding of the microbiome and diet’s impact on both physical and emotional health, the effects of outside factors on health is more apparent than ever.

Deepak Chopra went deeper, challenging attendees to look within and examine how our thoughts affect us.  He championed the benefits of sleep, meditation and our emotions to our health, demonstrating its effects through a guided meditation exercise.  Chopra and others argued we consider the often overlooked, intangible keys to health and longevity:  happiness and gratitude.

Other discussions focused on the costs of chronic and preventable conditions, and the different approaches to improving individual and community health.  The often under resourced mental health industry sees both recurring costs and increased health risks, demanding champions to ensure mental health issues receive the same attention and treatment options as other conditions.  Genomic research offers an incredible impact on early diagnoses and treatments, recognizing risk factors in disease and mental health, and applications of cancer therapies.  And a wellness solution that is perhaps hiding in the open is the transformative power of sport, which can create a confident, joyful and healthy society.

The day concluded with interactive “lightning sessions,” bringing presenters and attendees together to develop actionable items in each of the week’s core topics.  The breakouts centered on Connected Healthy Communities, Future Innovation Ecosystems, and Sports & Performance with each group producing dozens of ideas to move innovation forward.  As a direct response to the recurring appeals for mission-driven innovation from the Lake Nona Institute  many of these ideas will be developed and implemented at the ‘living lab’ that is Lake Nona to help ensure the Impact Forum lives up to its name of making an impact both locally and around the world.

International Bipolar Foundation Announces New Online Tool at Impact Forum

International Organization Hopes to Encourage Positive Lifestyle Changes that Reduce Health Risks and Promote Healthy Living Habits

The International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) today announced the launch of its free, online Behavioral Health Quality of Life Tool (BHQL) to empower people struggling with bipolar disorder to assess the associated risks of their current lifestyle choices and encourage them to embrace lifestyle changes to lead live longer, healthier lives. The announcement was made today at the Lake Nona Impact Forum, where the nation’s top thought leaders in health and wellness gather to discuss and develop actionable solutions to improve health, wellness and sustainable living.

The BHQL tool — available on the foundation’s website:– is a detailed survey that identifies a user’s unhealthy habits and provides individualized suggestions for a healthier lifestyle, such as smoking cessation and weight loss. Research has shown that the prevalence of cigarette smoking among individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) is two to three times higher than the rate in the general population, and that more than 80 percent of people with serious mental illnesses are overweight or obese, which contributes to them dying at three times the rate of the overall population.

Those who complete the survey can sign up for a weekly newsletter that offers ongoing support for incorporating healthier habits, whether it’s related to diet, sleep, or stress or medication management.

IBPF has partnered with Lake Nona Institute, a nonprofit, community-focused organization that incubates, activates and measures the impact of innovative technologies and programs that can become global models for building healthy, sustainable and inspired communities, to launch this needed health resource for those with mental illness, who can be prone to a variety of damaging behaviors, including poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.

“Life expectancy increased dramatically in the U.S., from 51 years in 1910 to nearly 79 years by 2012,” explains IBPF Chairman Muffy Walker. “Unfortunately, these advances in the general population do not translate to those struggling with Serious Mental Illness, whose life expectancy still lags well behind according to the NIH,” she added .

Walker points to a groundbreaking 2015 study of mortality statistics cited by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that found the median reduction in life expectancy among those with mental illness was 10.1 years, and that 8 million people prematurely each year as a result of their mental illness.

“People with mental illness are more likely to suffer from a range of damaging health issues, including heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, and they are less likely to go for medical appointments and follow up care. That needs to change. Having a severe mental illness does not have to mean dying young,” concluded Walker.


Central Themes Established on Day One of Lake Nona Impact Forum

The 4th annual Lake Nona Impact Forum kicked off Wednesday night with more than 250 respected entrepreneurs, accomplished health care leaders and household names gathered together to discuss the future and health and wellness.  Day one served to establish themes and objectives of the week:  to unlock innovation and create advancements in wellness, health technology and sustainability.

The opening discussion between CNN’s Sanjay Gupta and Johnson & Johnson Group Worldwide Chairman Sandi Peterson, served as an early highlight.  Their conversation, “The Missing Link: A New Human-Centered Approach to Transforming Health and Wellbeing,” centered on collaboration and health care challenges on a global scale, along with how to get a better return on the vast investment currently made into an often fragmented health care system.  Peterson challenged tech innovators to better integrate health information, make individual information portable, improve efficiencies and empower (and maybe even nudge) consumers to take control of their health.

The evening concluded with a multi-keynote segment titled “The Health Transformers.”  The evening’s core themes ran through each talk, from the challenges of innovating in a reluctant industry to using data to drive both efficiencies and consumer empowerment, and, perhaps most importantly, encouraging and incentivizing individuals to take control of their health.

Perhaps the most insightful discussion came during the final panel between Eric Topol of Scripps Translational Science Institute and Dan Buettner, author of “The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People.”  Their “nature vs nurture” debate highlighted both the need for and opportunities around genomic research, and the undeniable link between one’s environment, access to health services and personal choices.  Genetics and health are intertwined, they agreed, but so too are health and happiness.

The event’s next two days will continue to build and expand upon these themes, adding new voices to the collaborative, transformative process at the Lake Nona Impact Forum.