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Healthy longevity: A global quest to improve aging

Janice Lynch Schuster

In April 2019, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) launched a Global Grand Challenge, a multimillion dollar competition to accelerate improvements and innovation in the realm of healthy longevity. It will be left to competitors from NAM’s projected pool of “science, medicine, public health, technology, entrepreneurship, public policy, social engineering, and beyond” to define the term.

The scope of the challenge – to even consider what is meant by healthy longevity, much less how to achieve it – was clear at the first meeting, held in early November in Washington, D.C. Speakers from countries facing challenges of aging as diverse as those of Rwanda and the United Kingdom spoke to policies their countries are implementing. Representatives from Thailand, Nigeria, and Japan spoke of on-the-ground endeavors in their nations. And academicians described the challenges an aging population presents in terms of the workforce, retirement planning and social justice. Finally, one speaker addressed the insidious nature of ageism, its prevalence, and what might be done about it.

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