October 24th 2023

European Health Forum Gastein 2023: Health Systems in Crisis. Countering Shockwaves and Fatigue

Addressing Challenges, Fostering Resilience, and Charting a New Path for European Healthcare

In the picturesque setting of Bad Hofgastein, Austria, the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) gathered a diverse group of healthcare professionals, policymakers, academics, and students for its annual conference. Held from 25 to 27 September, EHFG 2023 took on a particularly pertinent theme: "Health systems in Crisis." The event delved into the pressing issues that European health systems faced even before the COVID-19 pandemic, from funding shortages in primary and social care to workforce deficits and disparities in healthcare access. It also confronted emerging challenges such as aging populations and the surge in non-communicable diseases. The conference aims to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss these issues and explore how crises can catalyze innovative solutions for healthcare systems.

EHFG 2023 began with an inspiring opening statement by EHFG President Clemens Martin Auer, who highlighted the pivotal role of the next generation in shaping the future of European health systems. His words were complemented by the insights of EU Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, who emphasized the importance of resilience in healthcare as a strategic investment in our future. The second day of the conference saw the participation of students from the Master programs in International Health and Social Management (IHSM) and European Master in Health Economics and Management (Eu-HEM). Their presence underscored the importance of involving future healthcare leaders in discussions about the challenges and opportunities facing European health systems. A wide array of themes that are central to the future of European healthcare formed key discussions centered around topics such as,

  • Keeping Health High on the Political Agenda: Exploring how the European Union can sustain its commitment to healthcare and leverage the positive experiences gained during the pandemic to advance the cause of health in Europe.
  • Partnerships in Public Health: Examining the evolving role of National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) and their collaboration with stakeholders such as NGOs, academia, the private sector, and the media to enhance public health outcomes.
  • Economic Perspectives on Healthcare: Considering how economic perspectives can be integrated into healthcare policy to enhance health system and societal resilience.
  • Decarbonizing Healthcare Systems: Discussing strategies to reduce the carbon footprint of healthcare delivery, aligning healthcare with sustainability goals.
  • Mental Health: Addressing the increasing importance of mental health and well-being within the broader healthcare landscape.
  • Population Vaccine Uptake and Antibiotic Resistance: Tackling critical issues related to vaccination coverage and the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.
  • Responsible Use of AI in Healthcare: Exploring the ethical and practical implications of harnessing artificial intelligence for healthcare.


EHFG 2023 also provided a platform for students and faculty to interact with prominent figures in the healthcare sector. IHSM graduate, Selam Nigussie Woldemariam, was involved in the presentation of the Austria chapter of "Women in Global Health," while Eu-HEM graduate Zach Desson participating in the conference as a consultant for the European Health Management Association.

The conference highlighted educational opportunities provided by MCI | The Entrepreneurial School®, including courses such as the "Real-Life Simulation" elective, aimed at engaging students in addressing contemporary healthcare challenges in collaboration with industry experts. EHFG 2023 also featured guest faculty members like Andrea Schmidt and Kristine Sørensen, who contribute their expertise to MCI programs.

In conclusion, the European Health Forum Gastein 2023 reinforced the central role of global health strategy, innovation, and resilience in addressing the complex challenges facing European health systems today. As healthcare professionals, policymakers, and students continue to collaborate and innovate, the future of European healthcare appears more promising, with a shared commitment to better health for all.