Grand Challenge for Healthy Longevity

As the inaugural challenge in its Grand Challenges in Health and Medicine initiative, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) will seek to advance healthy aging and longevity by catalyzing innovation and scientific progress through challenge prizes and awards.

Dramatic breakthroughs in medicine, public health, and overall social and economic development have resulted in unprecedented extensions of human lifespan over the last century, resulting in tremendous new opportunities but also great challenges for the world’s populations. Globally, we are facing a major demographic shift; by 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years old. In the absence of action, population aging is poised to impose a significant strain on economies, social infrastructures and supports, as well as increase noncommunicable disease prevalence worldwide. Solutions from biomedical, behavioral, and sociological research that significantly reduce the morbidity associated with aging, and improve health outcomes and quality of life—solutions that improve or extend the human healthspan—are urgently needed. We can envision, just on the horizon, an explosion of potential new medicines, treatments, technologies, preventive and social strategies that could help revolutionize the way we age and better ensure overall health during a period of extended longevity. It has never been more urgent to support the next breakthroughs in healthy longevity.

Goals of the Challenge

The NAM’s Grand Challenge for Healthy Longevity aims to:

  • Catalyze revolutionary innovation in healthy aging and healthspan
  • Support breakthrough ideas to improve healthy aging and quality of life
  • Build a broad ecosystem of support by engaging scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs, health leaders, policymakers, and the public to advance

The program, currently under development, will aim to inspire and incubate transformative ideas through challenge prizes and awards, expert guidance, a roadmap for policymakers and public engagement. Oversight for the program will be provided by the NAM’s governing council, a design committee, and a selection committee of leading experts in the field.

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Get Involved

The NAM is seeking visionary individuals to spread the word and support the effort through our Healthy Longevity Leadership Network. Please contact Michael Murphy, Chief Development Officer, at to learn about how you can get involved.