Media Contact: Beth McGroarty
[email protected] • +1.213.300.0107
The Global Wellness Summit Honors Diverse Group of Pioneers for Their Achievements in Mental Wellness, Innovation and the Science of Wellness
The organization’s 2023 awards were given to the world’s greatest gymnast, Simone Biles, for her fearless advocacy for mental health; Anjan Chatterjee, MD, for his eye-opening work in neuroaesthetics and how the brain processes beauty and art; and Michael Roizen, MD, for his trailblazing work in integrative medicine and longevity
Miami, FL – November 16, 2023 – The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the foremost gathering of international leaders in the $5.6 trillion global wellness economy, wrapped up its annual conference in Miami last week, where the organization presented three prestigious awards to high-profile (and very different) leaders for their impact not only on the wellness industry but the world.
Simone Biles for Mental Wellness Advocacy: Biles, who needs little introduction as a seven-time Olympic medalist and as the most decorated gymnast in World Championships, was presented with the Debra Simon Award for Furthering Mental Wellness. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, under tremendous pressure, she made the most difficult decision of her life, deciding to withdraw from the team competition and all-around events citing mental health issues related to pulling off complex moves—a scary, dangerous experience known as the “twisties”—where a gymnast loses the sense of where they are in the air. Her transparency about needing to focus on her mental health sparked a global conversation on how it is as important as physical health, for athletes and for all. As Biles explained in her moving Summit keynote conversation with GWS chair & CEO, Susie Ellis: “After what happened in Tokyo, I was able to join that mental health conversation and help teach people that it’s ok to not be ok.” Biles continuously stresses how her focus on mental wellbeing is the key to her epic return (she recently was crowned both US and World gymnastics champion) and uses her powerful platform to be a voice for the voiceless, advocating for mental health support and abuse awareness and prevention with exceptional honesty and grace.
“We’re thrilled to recognize the incredible achievements of Simone Biles at this year’s Global Wellness Summit, both as a superhuman athlete and a deeply human champion for mental wellbeing,” said Susie Ellis, GWS chair & CEO. “Superstars like Simone have the most powerful global megaphones, and she has brought attention to the mental health crisis, and the way we perceive mental health in the sporting world, in a way that almost no one else could.”
The Debra Simon Award for Furthering Mental Wellness was presented to Biles by the CEO of Fountain Life Bill Kapp, MD, on behalf of the GWS Advisory Board. Debra Simon’s daughter Lauren Wright, president of The Debra Simon Family Foundation, introduced the award.
Anjan Chatterjee, MD, for Innovation: Dr. Chatterjee, professor of neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, received the Leader in Innovation Award, sponsored by Kohler Co. Chatterjee was honored for his fascinating work in neuroaesthetics, which investigates the neural systems that underlie aesthetic experiences. He is the founding director of the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics, a unique academic think-tank that focuses on beauty and morality (how our brains automatically respond to beauty and how those responses have consequences in our attitudes, biases and behavior); the built environment and wellness (investigating how environments and architecture affect our sense of wellbeing); and engagement with art (exploring the human decorative/aesthetic impulse and the paradox that seemingly non-utilitarian features of objects have such a persistent grip on us). He is also the author of The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art, which uses neuroscience and evolutionary psychology to examine how an aesthetic sense is etched into our minds. The book addresses fundamental questions such as: What is beauty? Is it universal? How is beauty related to pleasure? What is art? Should art be beautiful? Do we have an instinct for art?
The Leader in Innovation Award, sponsored by Kohler Co. and introduced by Ashley Kohler was presented to Chatterjee on behalf of GWS Advisory Board by Six Senses’ Anna Bjurstam.
Michael Roizen, MD, for the Science of Wellness: Dr. Roizen, a globally renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and longevity, received the Bennett Family Award for Collaboration in the Science of Wellness. Roizen is an anesthesiologist and internist, serves as Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic (the first such position in a major healthcare institution in the US), has authored 165 peer-reviewed medical publications, has 14 patents, and has served as a physician to Nobel laureates and Fortune 500 CEOs. If longevity is the hottest topic in 2023, Dr. Roizen was investigating the scientific basis for extending healthspan decades ago, as the founder of the RealAge concept, an evidence-based program that calculates the aging effect of more than 100 different health behaviors. The program enables people to assess their true biological age, and gives them a specific roadmap for improving their aging trajectory. He is the author of five number one New York Times best sellers, from the groundbreaking RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be? published in 1999 to his recent co-authored book, The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.
The Bennett Family Award for Collaboration in the Science of Wellness was presented to Roizen on behalf of the GWS Advisory Board by Nicola Finley, MD. Bija Bennett, who funds the endowment in memory of her parents, introduced the award.
About the Global Wellness Summit: The Global Wellness Summit is an organization that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $5.6 trillion global wellness economy. In addition to an annual conference, held at a different location around the globe, GWS also hosts regular virtual gatherings, including Wellness Master Classes and collaborative Wellness Sector Spotlights, and each year holds an in-person Wellness Real Estate & Communities Symposium. The organization’s annual Global Wellness Trends Report offers expert-based predictions on the future of wellness that are oft-quoted in the media. The 18th annual GWS will be held in St. Andrews, Scotland, November 4-7, 2024.