Governor set to visit Aspen |

Governor set to visit Aspen

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – Gov. John Hickenlooper will make a visit to the Roaring Fork Valley on Tuesday to participate in the Global Spa and Wellness Summit at the Aspen Meadows resort.

Hickenlooper will provide the keynote speech just prior to Tuesday’s luncheon, said Beth McGroarty, press liaison for the summit, which starts today and runs through Wednesday. Post-summit activities also are scheduled for Thursday.

A Democrat, Hickenlooper is 16 months into his term as governor. He was elected in November 2010 and sworn into office in January 2011, replacing Democrat Bill Ritter, who decided not to seek a second term.

“The conference is about health and wellness and public health care policy,” McGroarty said. “The governor’s speech will be about his plans and goals for making Colorado the healthiest state in the U.S.”

Hickenlooper also is expected to field media questions at 12:30 p.m. following his 11:50 a.m. speech.

McGroarty described the summit as a diverse mix of people involved in the health care industry.

“There are a lot of different types of participants and forums, but the 2012 theme concerns the new things that are going on, what’s innovative in the area of health and wellness,” she said.

The content of the governor’s Aspen speech has not been released, McGroarty said.

“I know that his topic is making Colorado the healthiest state,” she said. “I know Hickenlooper has a lot of policies that are based on being more prevention-oriented when it comes to health insurance and that he has initiatives concerning children and obesity.”

Colorado ranked as the ninth-healthiest state in a 2011 survey by the United Health Foundation. Its strengths were listed as low levels of air pollution, the lowest prevalence of obesity in the nation and one of the lowest rates of diabetes.

The summit is not free or open to the public. Health professionals from all over the world were invited and paid nearly $3,000 each to attend, McGroarty said.

Actress Mariel Hemingway, a longtime health and wellness advocate, will participate in one of the summit’s many discussion sessions late Wednesday morning. John Kao, a former Harvard University professor and author of books on health care innovation, is today’s pre-lunch keynote speaker.

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