June 13th 2024

Geneva Health Forum 2024

Master’s students dive into cutting-edge research and networking opportunities at prestigious event

The Geneva Health Forum, first established in 2006 by the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE), is a Swiss non-for-profit initiative that serves as a neutral and inclusive platform for a diverse range of stakeholders to discuss and address global health challenges. By facilitating constructive and meaningful dialogues amongst global health actors, it contributes to the betterment of health policies and access to care worldwide.

The GHF 2024 saw some notable highlights, including the Grand Jet d’Or Award Ceremony (Day 1) for the best project demonstrating research excellence on the topic of ‘Health and medical solutions to address the adverse effects of pollution on humans’, and the inaugural launch of The Lancet Regional Health-Europe Series: ‘Addressing migration and health inequity in Europe’ (Day 2) on the sidelines of the WHO World Health Assembly. Day 2 was also teeming with multidisciplinary panel discussions, poster presentations, networking and a special evening event featuring migrants’ up-close and personal perspectives.

Some of our master's students in the second semester of International Health & Social Management (IHSM) and European Health Economics & Management (Eu-HEM) seized the opportunity of this biennial opportunity to hitch on an immersive experience and explored the exciting and prospective dynamics of the global health sector. Here, we share some of their reflections, represented by Amelie Sigge (IHSM Cohort 2023) and Ane Therese Aastebøl (Eu-HEM Cohort 2023 – Track: Population Health Management).

When asked about takeaways which they find most enriching, Amelie and Ane eagerly pointed out that the chance of being ‘in-the-moment’ of public health research and its latest developments was what stood out for them. In relating this experience to their student experience in their respective master's programs, they also underlined how “the science speed talks and poster presentations on recent research projects highlighted the practical relevance and importance of the assignments” in their curriculum, hence, significance in their professional plans. The events facilitated the bridging of theories and their applications, covering topics outside of curriculum, such as cutting-edge research and innovative solutions to tackle global health challenges, and offering insights into policy and program implementations.

Since participation in conferences such as the GHF 2024 is not mandatory in our master's programs, should a prospective student consider such opportunities as worthwhile, given the demands of the respective curricula? Amelie and Ane share the same sentiment that there are many compelling reasons why they would recommend current and prospective students to hop on study trips organized by the program coordinators.

As outlined by them, “You get an insight on how topics from your courses at university translate into real world applications and importance. And you also get the opportunity to experience topics and research beyond the university curriculum, getting up to date with the latest discussions, policy-making processes, and decision-making in the global health arena.”

To top things off, the students found the manifestation of advocacy-driven objectives and interaction in the diverse and international environment particularly motivating. “We also had the opportunity to get insights into several nonprofit organizations actively working in the health sector. This was fruitful, as we got to know different possible employers and career paths… an opportunity to work on our skills in business communication and networking…Beyond networking with health professionals, these events also foster team building with fellow students.,” recalled Amelie and Ane, with respect to how participation in GHF 2024 benefited their professional and personal development goals.

The famous Sun-Tzu once said, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity'. On this note, Amelie and Ane also offered some advice on preparing for the demands of participating in an eventful three-day conference like the GHF 2024, which can be overwhelming due to concurrent events and activities:

  • Come with a clear set of goals to maximize your learning experience
  • Be courageous to reach out and initiate conversations
  • Show genuine interest and commitment when networking
  • Participate actively and do not be afraid to ask questions or join in discussions
  • Explore financial support options such as MCI and ÖH

Are you ready to be part of such transformative experiences? If you are a prospective student, we welcome you to find out more about our master's programs, IHSM and Eu-HEM, and explore your horizons with us.