Celebrating 25 years of MIHMEP at SDA Bocconi: a journey through innovation and community

SDA Bocconi recently hosted a landmark event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Master of International Healthcare Management, Economics and Policy (MIHMEP). The two-day celebration provided a unique opportunity for MIHMEP alumni community, and faculty to reconnect and discuss the evolving challenges and innovations shaping today’s global healthcare sector.

The first day’s proceedings began with an opening address by Viviana Mangiaterra, Director of MIHMEP, who warmly welcomed the attendees. Her speech highlighted the program’s global diversity and the collective commitment of everyone involved since its inception in 1999. “We’ve gathered together individuals from 22 countries, each bringing a unique perspective yet sharing a common passion for healthcare. Today is a celebration of an important milestone as well as an open invitation to strengthen our community and shape the future MIHMEP program more effectively,” Mangiaterra shared.

Following Mangiaterra, Enzo Baglieri, Associate Dean for the Masters Division, spoke about MIHMEP’s strategic role within the broader goals of the school. “We are committed to enhancing the program’s international influence and ensuring it remains at the forefront of healthcare management education.

Concluding the introductions, Stefano Caselli, Dean of SDA Bocconi, emphasized the school’s dedication to preparing leaders capable of tackling future global health challenges. “Our mission is to continually evolve and respond to the needs of the healthcare sector, ensuring our graduates are equipped to lead, innovate and make a meaningful impact,” Caselli stated.

The first day’s sessions highlighted urgent global concerns and opportunities – climate change and artificial intelligence – and their implications for healthcare.

Recognised in 2019 as one of the world’s top 100 policy influencers on climate change, Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organization, delivered a compelling presentation on the intersection of climate change and healthcare.

It’s not about the polar bears or glaciers – it’s about your health, my health, and the health of communities worldwide,” she asserted. Highlighting the immediate effects, she detailed how extreme weather events are leading to increased instances of malnutrition, land degradation and widespread mental health issues, emphasizing the urgent need for healthcare systems to adapt.

The health community must lead the way in making our systems climate-resilient. We’re seeing health impacts with each passing day, from the air we breathe to the food we consume. It is imperative that our actions today lead to a sustainable, healthy future,” Neira stated, calling for a transition to clean, renewable, non-polluting energy sources as a critical step in this direction.

Then, wrapping up her presentation, she encouraged everyone present to consider the broader impact of their work and to lead by example, starting with initiatives like Bocconi’s clean energy programs to reduce the carbon footprint: “Every action counts, from how we manage our facilities to the policies we advocate for. The health sector’s involvement can catalyze broader societal changes.

Following Maria Neira’s impactful talk, João Manuel Pedrosa, a researcher from INESC TEC, joined the stage to explore another cutting-edge topic: the role of artificial intelligence in transforming healthcare.

Pedrosa warmed the audience up with a simple but thorough explanation of the current state of AI before discussing how this technology is being leveraged to revolutionize various aspects of healthcare, mainly as a predictive tool to enhance decision-making processes in medical environments.

AI’s role in healthcare is fundamentally about augmenting human capabilities, not replacing them,” he stated going on to highlight several areas where AI is making significant inroads:

  • Diagnostic accuracy: AI algorithms are increasingly used to detect and diagnose conditions from medical imaging with greater accuracy and speed than traditional methods.
  • Personalized medicine: By analyzing vast datasets, AI enables tailored treatment plans that better address individual patient needs, improving outcomes.
  • Operational efficiency: AI applications in hospital management help optimize everything from patient flow to inventory control, significantly reducing costs and improving service delivery.

Pedrosa also discussed the enormous potential of AI in predictive healthcare, mentioning projects like AI4Lungs, which focuses on improving patient stratification in lung disease through AI-driven insights.

Addressing the ethical considerations, Pedrosa emphasized the importance of transparency, data privacy, and the need for robust ethical frameworks to guide AI development and implementation in healthcare. “As we integrate AI into healthcare settings, we must ensure these systems are fair, unbiased and respectful of patient rights,” he explained.

Pedrosa’s session was a compelling overview of AI’s transformative potential in healthcare, offering a glimpse into a future where technology and medicine converge to create more responsive and effective healthcare solutions.

After a first day of thought-provoking presentations, the second day of the MIHMEP’s reunion was dedicated to reinforcing its community. Faculty and alumni came together in a collaborative workshop to discuss key topics that are vital for the future of healthcare management. Facilitated by the MIHMEPIAN Ana Stevanovic, owner consulting GmbH, and former MIHMEP directors, including Rosanna Tarricone, Giovanni Fattore, Aleksandra Torbica and Elio Borgonovi, the session focused on networking strategies, enhancing community support, fundraising initiatives and identifying emerging hot topics in the healthcare sector.

The alumni actively engaged in exchanging ideas on how to leverage their collective expertise to foster continuous innovation and support within the sector, as well as exploring ways to contribute to the ongoing development and relevance of the MIHMEP program.

As the healthcare sector continues to evolve, events like the MIHMEP 25th anniversary provide a valuable platform to shape the future, setting the stage for years to come  of educational excellence and innovation at SDA Bocconi.