As we approach the 2-year mark of a global pandemic, one thing is certain: Nothing is more important than our health. 

We’ve gone (and continue to go) through turbulent societal changes with the COVID-19 pandemic — so much so that 2022 feels more like a bumpy landing from 2021 than a smooth take-off into a new year.

On a personal note, like many folks I know, I came down with the Omicron variant in December 2021. It was a quiet holiday season with my partner. While we had hoped to connect in person with family, we once again celebrated virtually. When will the zoom fatigue end? On a serious note, I am grateful to have gotten a milder strain of this deadly virus, when so many others have not been so lucky.

But as our team here at Healthline has been researching and covering health from all angles, we’ve been grateful to have visibility that gives something we all need right now: hope for the future

It turns out we’re not alone. Healthline research shows that people are optimistic about the ability of healthcare technology and innovation to positively impact their lives in the future:

  • 91 percent of people interviewed in Healthline’s Future of Wellness study said that innovations could improve people’s quality of life
  • 91 percent say that innovations could illuminate connections between wellness, bodies, and minds

We set out to explore these sentiments in our TRANSFORM: Future of Health program, where we spotlight the cutting-edge health and healthcare innovations that represent the change we hope to see in the world. 

In interactive, deep-dive features, our editorial teams across Healthline, Medical News Today, and Psych Central have tackled topics in the following three categories: 

  • Healthcare Tech: Innovations in healthcare, vaccine development, AI and early detection, virtual care and the changing patient-medical professional relationship.
  • Wellness Innovation: Breakthroughs and change-makers in nutrition, fitness, mental health and maternal health.
  • Climate x Sustainability: A deep dive on how sustainability, climate change, and the food supply chain affect our health. 

The past several years have seen miraculous developments, many a result of the pandemic’s forcing function.

An effective vaccine was created using mRNA research. Virtual care boomed, and the patient-medical professional dynamic has been positively disrupted, allowing more folks to get the care that they need.

Wearable technologies, like fitness trackers and continuous glucose monitors, are monitoring important health metrics in ways we never thought imaginable, providing a feedback loop necessary to take actions to improve our overall well-being.

We’ve also seen underrepresented and historically marginalized communities engaging with wellness technology, especially when it’s designed for them.

According to our research, Black pregnant folks are some of the most likely to adopt wellness technologies: We spoke to leaders in Black maternal health who are creating digital spaces for community, connection, and culturally competent care.

Mental health is also a key area where innovation is exploding, and with good reason. Exciting breakthroughs in psychedelic research are showing promising results, and we’re examining why sensitivity to trauma will be transformative to our mental health moving forward.

These are complicated and nuanced issues, of course. AI screenings for early detection of cancer are promising, and we’re following the path to wider access and application.

The impact of a warming world and climate change also continue to loom large especially for marginalized communities, but we’re exploring innovations that may be pivotal in combating the health impacts of climate change and building a sustainable food supply chain

Perhaps most importantly: Within each of our features, we’re sharing suggestions to take action to empower you to actively live your healthiest life for yourself, and your community.

We’ve also brought the topics to life via a new TRANSFORM: Future of Health video series, hosted by award-winning journalist and best-selling author Liz Plank and featuring Healthline’s head of Medical Affairs, Jenny Yu, MD, FACS. 

During these uncertain times, I hope this TRANSFORM: Future of Health program inspires a sense of hope and possibility for the future. Explore our experience, and let us know what you think about our content on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter (and yes, Tiktok too!).

In hope and good health,

Kevin Bender

Director of Special Projects, Content, Healthline