Young Physician Leaders 2017


The seventh edition of the IAP Young Physician Leaders (YPL) leadership training workshop took place on the side of this year’s World Health Summit in Berlin. A new cohort of 22 YPL from 17 countries participated and then joined the alumni network that now counts more than 150 young physicians.

This year the session began on 12 October with a welcome lunch at the European School of Management Technology (ESMT) where the cohort met with the project leaders, Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford (IAP for Health) and Dr. Nora Grasselli (ESMT). This was  followed by initial dialogue on the participants’ expectations from the workshop.

Amongst the responses received was advice on navigating new leadership roles, facing the challenges of leading senior staff, analysing the cultural aspects of leadership, and best practices for improving leadership skills.

With the intent of diagnosing and expanding leadership styles, the YPL shared challenges they have faced and those competences which they feel they are lacking in. There was a concerted effort to identify the skill sets of effective leaders and also those skills that each of them would like to reinforce in their professional lives.

The day ended with a dinner hosted by IAP for Health co-chair, Detlev Ganten.

The morning of 13 October was dedicated to visits to the Charité University Hospital (Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin) where the YPL were received by head of radiology, Jörg-Wilhelm Oestmann. They also enjoyed a guided tour of the Berlin Museum of Medical History located at the Charité, with particular attention to  the specimen hall which goes back to the collecting activities of the acclaimed physician and pathologist, Rudolf Virchow. In the afternoon the YPL met with Bayer experts to talk about challenges and partnership opportunities in public health, visited a start-up operation and finished with a dinner hosted by Thimo V. Schmitt-Lord,Bayer’s  Head Foundations & Donations.

On 14 October the YPL were back at ESMT, continuing with a session on leadership decision-making led by Francis de Véricourt, professor of management science at ESMT, while the afternoon was dedicated to group work and peer consulting. The day ended with a session drafting the framework of the YPL session at the WHS to be held on Tuesday 17 October.


On 18 October, activities moved to the Kosmos Conference center, venue for the WHS, and kicked off with  a panel session where high-level professionals in health and health policy shared their leadership growth, challenges and best practices with the YPL. The panel was composed of Rajae El Aouad, professor of immunology, resident member of the Hassan II Academy of Sciences and Technology, Ben Canny, head of medicine at the University of Tasmania, Clifford Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Brenda Wingfield, professor in genetics and deputy dean research and postgraduate studies in the Department of Genetics at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. The lively discussions which ensued touched on topics ranging from social ranking of leadership, lack of resources to manage teams, motivation when things do not go well, challenges of multidisciplinary collaboration, mentorship, and women in leadership roles.

The morning ended with a brief ceremony with participants receiving a participation certificate and a collage of their profile photographs.

On 17 October, the YPL session in the WHS proper drew an audience of over 100 conference participants. Divided into three groups, the YPL presented their take on Leadership Versatility, Challenges of Diversity in Young Leadership, and Innovation and Sustainability of Health Systems: Modelling the Leaders we Need to Face Challenges.

The presentation, which included music and participation by renowned conductors Toscanini, Muti and Karajan, was met with great enthusiasm by the audience which ranged from a teenage US high-school class attending the WHS, to a group of senior health administrators from the Swedish Karolinska Institute.

The YPL session ended with promises to keep in touch and to share challenges and successes with IAP for Health and with each other.