Explorer, National Geographic Fellow, Journalist, Producer, Author
Dan Buettner is an explorer, National Geographic Fellow, award-winning journalist and producer, and New York Times bestselling author. He discovered the five places in the world - dubbed Blue Zones Hotspots - where people live the longest, healthiest lives. His articles about these places in The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic are two of the most popular for both publications.
Buettner now works in partnership with municipal governments, large employers, and health insurance companies to implement Blue Zones Projects in communities, workplaces, and universities. Blue Zones Projects are well-being initiatives that apply lessons from the Blue Zones to entire communities by focusing on changes to the local environment, public policy, and social networks. The program has dramatically improved the health of more than 5 million Americans to date.
His books, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest; Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way; The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World's Healthiest People; and The Blue Zones of Happiness were all national bestsellers. Buettner has appeared on The Today Show, Oprah, NBC Nightly News, and Good Morning America, and has keynoted speeches at TEDMED, Bill Clinton's Health Matters Initiatives, and Google Zeitgeist. His speech in January 2018 at the World Economic Forum in Davos was chosen as "one of the best of Davos."
Buettner also holds three Guinness World Records in distance cycling.
Kathy Annette, M.D.
President/CEO, Blandin Foundation
A lifelong resident of rural Minnesota, Dr. Kathleen Annette is a recognized leader at local, regional and national levels.
Kathy grew up on the Red Lake Indian Reservation and is enrolled with White Earth Band of Ojibwe. She is a graduate of University of Minnesota, where she received both her medical and undergraduate degrees. She is the first woman in the Minnesota Ojibwe Nation to become a physician.
Kathy retired from federal service after 26 distinguished years, having served as deputy director of field operations of Indian Health Service, based in Bemidji, Minn. In this role, she had responsibility for supervision and leadership of Area Directors across the United States, including 48 hospitals, 238 health clinics serving 1.9 million American Indian patients, and 15,000 federal employees.
Kathy's many honors and awards include Presidential Meritorious Awards and a Presidential Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Government, the national American Indian Physician of the Year award, Quality of Place award issued by Northwest Minnesota Foundation, and the Jake White Crow National Award, presented by the National Indian Health Board - the only federal employee to be so recognized. She was inducted into the Northwest Minnesota Women's Hall of Fame and into the Academy of Science and Engineering. She also sits on the Bush Foundation board of trustees.
Brett P. Giroir, M.D.
Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service
Assistant Secretary for Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Admiral Brett P. Giroir is the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He is the Secretary's principal public health and science advisor, and oversees the Department's broad-ranging public health offices, whose missions include HIV policy, women's health, disease prevention and human research protections. He also oversees the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
Dr. Giroir is both a physician and a scientist who has served in leadership positions in the federal government as well as academia.
From 2014-2015, he chaired the Veteran's Choice Act Blue Ribbon Panel to reform the U.S. Veterans Health System. During the Ebola emergency, he directed the Texas Task Force on Infectious and Disease Preparedness Response.
He was executive vice president and CEO of Texas A&M's Health Science Center, a professor of medicine and engineering, member of the American Board of Pediatrics, as well as the first physician to direct DARPA's Defense Sciences Office.
A pediatric critical care physician, Dr. Giroir cared for critically ill children for 14 years, and was the first chief medical officer of Children's Health in Dallas.
Dr. Giroir has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications and holds patents on a number of biomedical inventions. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the U.S. Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service and the American Heart Association's President Lyndon Baines Johnson Research Award.
He received a bachelor's degree in biology from Harvard University and a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Learn more about ADM Brett P. Giroir
Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H.
Vice Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service
20th Surgeon General
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, the 20th Surgeon General of the United States, was sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence on September 5, 2017. Dr. Adams, a board-certified anesthesiologist, served as Indiana State Health Commissioner from 2014 to 2017. Dr. Adams, a Maryland native, has bachelor’s degrees in both biochemistry and psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a master of public health degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine.
Dr. Adams’ motto as Surgeon General is “better health through better partnerships.” As Surgeon General, Dr. Adams is committed to maintaining strong relationships with the public health community and forging new partnerships with non-traditional partners, including business and law enforcement.
He has pledged to lead with science, facilitate locally led solutions to the nation’s most difficult health problems, and deliver higher quality healthcare at lower cost through patient and community engagement and better prevention.
As Surgeon General, Dr. Adams oversees the operations of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which has approximately 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve in nearly 600 locations around the world to promote, protect and advance the health and safety of our nation and our world.
Learn more about VADM Jerome Adams
Gretchen Musicant, M.P.H., B.S.N.
City of Minneapolis Health Department
Gretchen Musicant is the Minneapolis Health Commissioner where she oversees the Minneapolis Health Department whose mission is “improve the quality of life for all people in the city by protecting the environment, preventing disease and injury, promoting healthy behaviors, and creating a city that is a healthy place to live, work and play.”
Prior to working for the City, Musicant was Vice President of Community Health for the Minnesota Hospital Association and a Government Affairs Specialist for the Minnesota Nurses Association.
She has both a BS in Nursing and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota. She has substantial public policy experience as a state level lobbyist and as a fellow with the Humphrey Institute. She has chaired several state-wide and regional efforts including: the Minnesota Local Public Health Association, the Universal Coverage Committee of the Minnesota Health Care Commission, The Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency Board, The Social Conditions and Health Action Team of the Minnesota Department of Health, the Healthier Minnesota Community Clinic Fund, and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Alumni Society. She is currently a member of the National Association of County and City Health Officials Board.
Courtney Jordan Baechler, M.D., M.S.
Assistant Commissioner, Health Improvement
Minnesota Department of Health
Courtney Jordan Baechler attended the University of Minnesota, where she earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics, a medical degree from the School of Medicine, and a master's degree in epidemiology and public policy from the School of Public Health. She completed the National Institute of Health Physician Scientist track. Academic focus was on primary and secondary prevention of chronic disease. She is a board certified internist and cardiologist, who focuses on the prevention of heart disease and behavioral change that supports overall wellbeing.
Baechler has served on the national prevention committee for the American College of Cardiology and the MN Department of Health State and Prevention of Cardiovascular and Stroke Committee. She served as a consultant to the Statewide Health Improvement Plan for the clinical work group in Minneapolis. She has been one of the authors of a Healthy Lifestyle Guideline for the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. Leadership roles have included general board member for the YMCA of the greater Twin Cities, board member for Cycle Health, and a policy advocate for the American Heart Association of MN. She most recently served as Vice President of the Penny George Institute for Health an Healing, Allina Health's prevention, wellness, and clinical service line. She is passionate about helping individuals, families, and communities to find their highest state of wellbeing - body, mind, and spirit.