Lifestyle related diseases and the continuously skyrocketing cost of healthcare are creating a global crisis that is affecting us both physically and mentally. The stark reality is that roughly 70% of all deaths each year are a result of preventable diseases (CDC), while the global cost of largely preventable chronic disease could reach $47 trillion by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum. On the opening day of the 2017 Global Wellness Summit, health and wellness leaders united behind the first global commitment to achieve a world free of preventable disease, a moonshot that is arguably as urgent as it is massive in scope.
“The time has come to pool our resources—knowledge, access, funding—and use our collective megaphone on the world stage to work towards achieving a world free of preventable disease,” said Susie Ellis, Chairman and CEO of the non-profit Global Wellness Institute (GWI). “Unlike President Kennedy’s famous moonshot to send a man to the moon, where it was clear when the ‘mission was accomplished’ – this moonshot will require not one, but many incremental steps forward for humankind.”
Ellis was joined by Dr. Richard H. Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States and current Chief of Health Innovation, Canyon Ranch, in announcing the Wellness Moonshot, which received an enthusiastic response from the 600+ delegates, representing health and wellness across a sea of sectors including fitness, mental wellness and mind-body, nutrition, workplace wellness, technology, complementary medicine, integrative medicine, architecture and real estate, and spa and tourism.
"The world is increasingly plagued by largely preventable chronic diseases, and the crippling economic burden that comes with them. This call to action is absolutely critical, refocusing on humankind’s most pressing need,” said Dr. Carmona. “The Global Wellness Institute is the right organization to launch this moonshot, as it can only be achieved with high-level collaboration in the many health and wellness sectors.”
Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, Professor of Surgery, Columbia University, and host, The Dr. Oz Show, reminded delegates, "We have to be brave enough to take on this moonshot – we need to really accelerate (the focus on prevention).” And Dr. Dean Ornish, Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute, said, “I salute this moonshot and project. It is a much needed, organized way to create transformation...it’s the right idea at the right time.”
As an umbrella organization that brings together often siloed forces and sectors all working to build a healthier world, the GWI will bring the issue of preventable disease to the forefront in its research and education efforts and commitment to forge even more collaborations to create new paths for action. The organization’s initial focus will be on information campaigns to bring global attention to the Wellness Moonshot: from which prevention initiatives are most needed, and where – to educating the world about high-impact global projects that are tackling preventable disease, to drive new interest and resources to them. In addition, Ellis noted that GWI would catalyze stakeholders from both the private and public sectors to coordinate, collaborate and commit to the Wellness Moonshot.