This is my second post in my blog series about this year’s version of Uppsala Health Summit. Here, I will write about the overall experience and the program. I’m doing this as one of the members of the program committee (see blog picture), so I may be a little biased 🙂
First, it is important to note here that Uppsala Health Summit is not a scientific conference, where researchers gather to discuss new findings related to healthcare and wellbeing, but rather an arena for discussions and debate among different stakeholders. The aim is e.g. to influence policy decisions related to societal challenges (often on a global scale). Even though it was possible to register for the summit on the summit’s home page, most of the participants were specially invited by the management or members of the program committee. This was very important for the overall atmosphere during the summit days – the participants knew they were there for a reason and that they had something very important to contribute with. Participants from many different disciplines were invited and decided to join us. There were many physicians present from all over the world (35 different counties were represented!), leaders of different healthcare organizations, researchers from different fields and countries, politicians and other policy makers, journalists from different parts of the world and also several patients who had undergone cancer treatments.
Personally, I found Uppsala Health Summit to be one of the most rewarding events I have participated in this far. This is much due to the interesting mix of delegates from different disciplines, backgrounds and parts of the world, and also the program. Every part of the program was well thought out – even the coffee breaks, where delegates could join pre-booked “match making” sessions to discuss common interests or learn from each other. All plenary sessions and workshops really made you think, something that was evident from discussions among delegates during the summit.
There were four plenum sessions in total, each with a different theme. All these sessions were held in Rikssalen at Uppsala castle – what a place! The summit started off with a plenary session on visionary outlooks, which covered both challenges and opportunities related to cancer care on a global scale. The second plenary session focused on patients as the driving force to develop care and the third one focused on access to treatment and diagnostics. Both the second and third session included very interesting and thought-provoking discussions on differences between developed and developing countries. I will get back to this in a later blog post in this series. The fourth plenary session, which I unfortunately missed, focused on behavioral changes and lifestyle. These plenary sessions covered the area “Care for cancer” in a very good way and brought several important questions regarding e.g. equal access and patient empowerment to light.
Between the plenary session (one directly in the morning and one towards the end of the day), everyone engage in the workshops I mentioned in the first part on this blog series. There were four parallel workshops during both days, so the participants needed to chose a first and second hand choice when registering for the summit. All workshops had a duration of three hours distributed around a lunch break where everyone gathered at the castle’s top floor. The workshop I, and most of my colleagues from Uppsala University, participated in during the Thursday as well as our own workshop during the Friday, used also the lunch break for workshops discussions. I really enjoyed the workshops – everyone was eager to discuss and it was especially interesting to get input from many different perspectives! I will write more about these workshop in a later post. Both days ended (with exception from a short closing talk the last day) with quick presentations of the workshop results in plenum.
The summit also included a nice social program. Everything started already the day before the main events at Uppsala castle, at the Scandion Clinic. My colleague Åsa Cajander has written about the sightseeing at the radiation clinic in this blog post. The Friday also started off with a morning walk in the Uppsala University Botanical Gardens. Since I live in Stockholm, I couldn’t attend that walk 7:45 in the morning, but I know that it is quite an experience walking around there. After the first day, there was also a very nice conference dinner with a Swedish midsummer theme – the project manager for the summit, Madeleine Neil, had changed to traditional folk costume and the buffet included all the traditional midsummer ingredients. A group of folk musicians also played traditional songs before and during the dinner! The only little detail that did not add up was that midsummer wasn’t really last Thursday, it’s today!
I hereby wish you all a happy midsummer!