YPL 2016 – Personal impressions

Following a nomination by my national academy, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and a selection process by the executive committee of the InterAcademy Partnership for Health, I was chosen as one of 24 young physicians from all around the world to participate in the IAP for Health 2016 Young Physician Leaders (YPL) programme and the World Health Summit (WHS) in Berlin, Germany.

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

The group of YPL was truly global – coming from Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Sudan ... to name just some of the countries from where participants flew to Berlin. 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 (7 October). The Max Delbruck Centre (MDC) in the Berlin Bruch Campus and Bayer headquarters gave us an idea of how both academia/research and industry can work both big and small but stay focused on real health needs. At MDC we were introduced to a "beast", one of the few 7 Tesla magnetic resonance machines in the world, capable of providing high resolution images, even of beating hearts. Next to it was an open-source initiative that aims to offer small, €10.000 MR machines for use in developing countries and elsewhere. At Bayer we heard what's in the pipeline for next generation biologics but also how young people from around the world come to develop their eHealth ideas in Bayer’s Grants4Apps startup accelerator.

Next two days (8-9 October) were reserved for the leadership workshop at one of the best business schools in the world – Berlin’s European School of Management and Technology (ESMT). 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, including IAP for Health executive committee members Rajae El-Aouad (Morocco) and Thomas Zeltner (Switzerland) along with Ilona Kickbusch of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Germans say "Zucker kommt zu letzt" (The sugar/best comes at the end) and the same could be said for the final days of our Berlin experience. As special YPL representatives, we were invited to attend World Health Summit (9-11 October) and present on the last day with a session on ‘Young Leaders and the Future of Leadership in Global Health’ that we had designed in the previous 2 days.

More than 250 speakers and 1,500 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, to dance and to enjoy Berlin.

YPL programme factsheet:
* organized by InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) for Health;
* in cooperation with ESMT and the WHS;
* six editions in Berlin since 2011;
* 131 alumni so far (including the 2016 cohort).
* participation after selection process following a nomination by your national academy of medicine or science.


Damir Ivanković
2016 Young Physician Leader, Croatia
Croatian Institute for Public Health
(Hrvatski zavod za javno zdravstvo)
Rockefellerova 7
Zagreb, Croatia