2017 APF Global Health Futures Gathering

The Association of Professional Futurists had their 2017 Gathering in Seattle this past weekend and it was a huge success! Centered around a theme of Global Health Futures, we explored issues dealing with the future of human health, planetary and environmental health and literally extraplanetary health! This later addressed our need as a species to extend humanity well beyond the earth if we are to survive in the longterm as a species. As session moderator Glen Hiemstra explained, the Fermi Paradox asks an important question about where everyone else is in what should be a universe teeming with life. One speculation is that most of these civilizations destroy themselves before they can spread beyond their planet of origination. This same bottleneck may await us, and as I wrote many years ago, we need to “make a backup.”

Sarah Chesemore (left) and Brian Arbogast (right) of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation discuss global health trends with University of Washington health policy researcher Jan Flowers (center) during the Association of Professional Futurists’ gathering in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)
There were lots of other events and sessions as well, including the Friday morning session I moderated that looked at human health futures for the billions of people who don’t have the most basic levels of health care, including a sanitary toilet system and vaccinations against preventable diseases. This currently leads to millions of people dying needlessly each year, with the majority of these being newborns and children under five, the weakest and most vulnerable among us. I was pleased and proud to be able to have a role in such an important and meaningful discussion.