“To know what you want to do, you first need to know who you want to be” said Antoni Plasència, ISGlobal director, in the opening ceremony of the 4th ISGlobal PhD symposium that took place in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona. After thanking the organizers and participants, Plasència spoke about the challenges for future global health professionals and encouraged the students to show persistence, perseverance and humour along their training. He recalled Nobel laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini’s words, who said “Don’t fear difficult moments; the best comes from them”.
The keynote lecture was given by Carme Borrell, from the Barcelona Public Health Agency, who talked about health inequalities, i.e. those differences that are unnecessary, unfair and avoidable with the adequate policies and actions. She emphasized that these inequalities, whose main axes are gender and social class, exist in all countries. She also underlined the importance of including gender (which differs from sex-linked biology) in inequality studies. Finally, she presented a series of recommendations that were elaborated with the aim of reducing health inequalities in Spain, and where health systems are only a small component.
The rest of the day was dedicated to one minute flash-talks, oral sessions and posters. “I was impressed by the quality of the presentations and posters, and I think that this event would greatly benefit from a larger participation of other research staff” says Elisa Pasqual, who organized the symposium together with Rita Velez, Cristina Vert and Sonia Ares. The afternoon included “an inspiring World Café session where we could talk about motivation, challenges and coping strategies of a PhD training” adds Pasqual.
A the end of the day, Nuria Casamitjana, Training Director, and Josep M. Antó, Scientific Director at ISGlobal, awarded the prizes to the best oral presentations (Gabriela Prado, first place, and Alba Cabré, second place), best flash-talk (Mercy Opiyo), and best posters (Marta Cova and Rebeca Santano). The prize includes a voucher to be spent in a congress or course.