Wicked Problems

The 10 Wicked Problems for the 2016 Health Program were unveiled on June 20th at The Big Reveal.

  1. 1

    The Nexus of Homelessness, Housing and Health

    For the homeless, no amount of health care can substitute stable housing.

  2. 2

    Alzheimer’s Disease

    Alzheimer’s: the 6th leading cause of death in the US & will affect 50M people by 2030.

  3. 3

    Childhood Obesity

    If all 12.7 million US obese children become obese adults,the societal costs may exceed $1.1 trillion.

  4. 4

    Improving Healthcare Quality: Narrowing the chasm between the care we expect and the care we receive

    If medical error was a disease, it would rank as the 3rd leading cause of death in the US. A stat from @bmj_latest.

  5. 5

    Health Literacy, Insurance and Decision Making: Reducing the cost of healthcare delivery through improved health literacy

    Healthcare costs have risen 120% since 2000, & are expected to rise +80% to $5.5 trillion by 2024.

  6. 6

    Chronic Pain Management

    46 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses. 

  7. 7


    By 2050, the number of Americans 65+ will multiply from 46 million today to 88 million.

  8. 8

    Mental Health Management

    Global cost of mental disease is expected to grow to $6 trillion in 2030 from $2.5 trillion in 2010.

  9. 9

    Reducing the Administrative Burden

    Admin costs currently represent 18% of US health care spending, leaving less than 73% of spending for clinical care.

  10. 10

    Toxic Stress and Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs)

    4 or more ACEs shortens your life by 20 years.

To submit a Wicked Problem for consideration for a future 10.10.10 program, click here.


In 1973, Horst W.J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber, two Berkeley professors, published an article in Policy Sciences introducing the notion of “wicked” social problems. The article, “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” named 10 properties that distinguished wicked problems from hard but ordinary problems.