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Lake Nona Impact Forum: Home of Health Innovation

Speaking with Founder & Executive Director Gloria Caulfield, Worth learns how the Lake Nona Impact Forum highlights a community collectively focused on health and wellness.

Photo courtesy of the Lake Nona Impact Forum

Unlike many cities, Lake Nona has a specific birthday. It began in 1996 in Orlando, FL, when the owner of Tavistock Group, Joe Lewis, bought roughly 4,000 acres with one goal: to create a community that inspires human potential and encourages health and wellness. Today, Lake Nona is a 17-square-mile, 11,000-acre community with more than 22,000 residents. 

Anchored by a health and life sciences district known as Medical City, Lake Nona has become a home for many of the world’s foremost companies. Its corporate residents include the Chopra Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, HCA Healthcare, the U.S. Tennis Association, KPMG, the University of Central Florida, Nemours Children’s Hospital, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Verizon’s 5G Innovation Hub, among others.

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Lake Nona is a community first, but it is also a living lab environment. They don’t just talk about innovation and change; they offer a place where big dreams can become a reality today. Autonomous shuttles carry community residents and visitors to and from work, retail centers, and medically integrated, high-tech fitness facilities. And the focus on well-being isn’t just physical well-being; mental health is also a priority. “If you want to get out and meet people, get involved with anything from running clubs to art after dark, yoga, concerts in the park, community art —it’s all here in Lake Nona,” says Gloria Caulfield, the Founder and Executive Director of the Lake Nona Impact Forum.

As Lake Nona continues to develop, its creators want to attract the industry’s brightest thought leaders for in-depth conversations on how to build the well-being ecosystem of the future. Part of that conversation occurs at the annual, invitation-only Lake Nona Impact Forum, which gathers 300 of the world’s top CEOs, healthcare innovators, and thought leaders for three days of collaborative discussion about what’s next for the industry.  

At the 2023 Lake Nona Impact Forum, there will be a continued focus on mental and brain health. “We evolve the conversation every single year,” explains Caulfield. “The first handful of years was destigmatizing mental health. But now, we’re really focused squarely on innovation.” 

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This year, Deepak Chopra, a fixture in the Lake Nona community, will lead a discussion on mental health and psychedelics. “I think that’s what’s so cool about the Lake Nona Impact Forum,” Caulfield says. “It’s not just physicians and the clinical, traditional side of medicine. It’s also exploring all of these different alternatives to medicine and preventative solutions to see how all of the pieces really fit together and impacts global health.”

Climate change will also be Lake Nona Impact Forum’s agenda this year. One session, in particular, will focus on the decarbonization of healthcare within the U.S. Among global healthcare systems, the U.S. is the third largest emitter. 

This year’s forum begins on March 8, International Women’s Day. It will feature a host of female scientists, inventors, and business leaders throughout the event, including ​​CVS Health President and Chief Executive Officer Karen Lynch; Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Disease Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, whose NIH team co-designed the leading COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273; Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis; Organamet Bio CEO Doris Taylor; and Chelsea Clinton, DPhil, MPH—just to name a few. Caulfield says, “It’s going to be exciting to amplify the successful and audacious careers of some of the great women leaders in the world.”

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Many Impact Forum speakers have joined the Lake Nona community full-time. These include Deepak Chopra’s Chopra Mind-Body Zone, a new flagship location for Fountain Life co-founded by Tony Robbins, and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson’s Limitless Minds.

Beyond the abundance of high-profile celebrities, CEOs, and global leaders, the Lake Nona Impact Forum is designed to provide attendees with access and insight. “We want the event to be intimate,” Caufield says. “Like you’re sitting in someone’s living room engaged in conversation with them.” 

The 2023 Lake Nona Impact Forum will take place March 8th-10th. More information can be found here.

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