What happens when more humans start living to 100? The social, political and health-related impacts of a population with an increasing lifespan will be the focus of the third annual Century Summit, hosted by the Stanford Center on Longevity on Dec. 13-14.

The conference is a hybrid event, with the public invited to watch virtually along with the in-person audience.

Experts from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines will discuss new thinking around what is being called the “health span” of a life, including how to make century-long lives healthier, more productive and more equitable.

The Stanford Center on Longevity aims to accelerate and implement scientific discoveries, technological advances, behavioral practices, and social norms so that century-long lives are healthy and rewarding. (Image courtesy of Stanford Center of Longevity via Bay City News)

One concern to be addressed is the question of what drives favorable health outcomes for more people, not just the wealthy and well educated, but also those with less access to health care and other resources.

“Part of the theory is that health span starts at birth,” said conference chairperson Ken Stearn, in a statement. “That means investing in not just the formal health care system, but also preventative health care measures and social support for a broad range of things that support mental health and longevity.”

Organizers said the summit will ask “smart, creative and innovative people tough questions surrounding the quest for longer and healthier life: can we shift the focus towards ‘health span’ rather than just life span? Can we conceive of longer careers that are more balanced, more productive and more equitable? And can a nation that has nurtured so much generational antipathy rethink intergenerational relationships in a positive and productive manner?”

Scheduled speakers

Speakers will include California’s new surgeon general Dr. Diana Ramos, who will be interviewed by Louise Aronson, professor of medicine at Stanford and author of “Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life.”

Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, will discuss the role of stress and happiness on longevity and health with Bob Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development and executive director of the Lifespan Research Foundation.

Leaders from two of California’s largest health care systems will discuss how to rethink health care in the U.S.; Alice Waters will discuss nutrition and how to provide greater access to nutritious foods and new frontiers of brain health will be discussed by UCSF professor Adam Gazzaley.

The full list of speakers and a complete conference agenda can be found online.

The Century Summit takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Tuesday and Wednesday at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge at 291 Campus Drive, Stanford. Register online for in-person or virtual tickets.