Impressions of a Young Physician Leader at the World Health Summit in Berlin

Only a couple of days after my amazing first (Young Forum) Gastein experience, I was off to meet another group of global young health(care) professionals motivated to act as agents of change in their countries, regions and globally.WHS 2016


Following a nomination by the national Academy of Sciences and a selection process by the InterAcademy Panel, I was chosen as one of 24 young physicians from all around the world to participate in the Young Physician Leaders (YPL) programme and the World Health Summit (WHS) in Berlin, Germany.

The group of Young Physician Leaders was truly global – Mexico, Nepal, South Africa, Brasil, Bangladesh, Sudan, Australia, Sri Lanka… just to name some countries where participants flew from. Besides all of us being young and being physicians, we came with a very varied professional and cultural backgrounds. Being bored was not an option!

The programme started with a day of visits. Max Delbruck Centre (MDC) in the Helmholtz Bruch Campus and Bayer Headquarters gave us an idea how both academia/research and industry can work big and small but focused on the real health needs. At MDC we saw a “beast” 7T MR machine next to an open-source initiative to offer tiny €10.000 MR machines to developing countries. At Bayer we heard what’s in the pipeline for the next generation of biologics but also how young people from around the world come to develop their eHealth ideas in their Grants4Apps start-up accelerator.

The next two days were reserved for leadership workshops at one of the best business schools in the world – ESMT Berlin. Here we were pushed to our limits in both teamwork and self-reflection. We also met and exchanged experiences with some very inspirational senior leaders in health.


Josef Wenninger and Damir Ivankovic at WHS 2016 in Berlin


Germans say “Zucker kommt zuletzt” (Sugar/Best comes at the end) and the same could be said for the last two days of our Berlin experience. As special YPL representatives we were invited to attend World Health Summit and present on the last day with a session on Young Leaders and the Future of Leadership in Global Health. More than 250 speakers and 1500 participants in two days made it impossible to attend all the sessions and talk to all the people I found interesting at WHS. Nothing that can’t be solved by returning in the following years…

Besides the “official” programme, there was – of course – some time to start new friendships, dance and enjoy Berlin.

Indeed, Young Gasteiners are everywhere.

YPL programme factsheet:

* organized by InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) for Health

* in cooperation with ESMT Berlin and World Health Summit

* since 2011

* YPL alumni so far: 131 (including the 2016 cohort)

* participation after selection process following a nomination by your national Academy of (Medical) Sciences (and Arts)

Note: If you found this short blog / experience interesting, be sure to contact me for more info on how to apply (get nominated) next year!


This Blog was written by the Young Gasteiner Damir Ivankovicivankovic-photo



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