October 24 to 26 I was in Boston invited to a UBS bank event titled: “Trends in Health Technology”, as member of their Network of Industry Leaders - at Harvard Medical School, organized by the Executive Education Department of the university.

The first day, Wednesday, I arrived at the hotel, dropped my luggage, and went straight to Northeastern University, to gather some personal information. Then I went back to the hotel and got to work. Luckily, I had a Luke’s Lobster next door to the hotel. How I missed it since I was living in New York!, so I enjoyed a quick dinner, and got a lot of work done.

The next two days were completely dedicated to the event. As defined by UBS:

Industry Leader Network: A global network that offers business leaders a private and confidential platform to exchange insights and experiences. The collective wisdom of the network provides a real-time perspective on the global economy, sourced directly from key players. Exclusive networking events expand your personal network of business leaders from across the globe. Exchanging views and learning from leading academics and thought leaders provides crucial insight for the future of your business.

So on Thursday, after breakfast, at 08:15h they picked us up to take us to Harvard University.

The agenda for the day was:

  • 09:00 Introduction: Mark H. Haefele, Stanley Shaw
  • 09:30 “We are outnumbered: How the microbiome is changing how we view our behaviors, health and disease” Wendy Garrett (SUPER interesting)
  • 10:30 Transfer to Karp laboratory
  • 11:00 Visiting the laboratory with Jeffrey Karp, where we were shown several ongoing research projects, with prototypes: from biodegradable adhesives to repair the heart, to temporary blockers of stomach absorption. Again, SUPER interesting, especially the engineering approach applied to medical innovation.
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 13:15 Transfer to the Boston Children’s Hospital Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator
  • 13:45 “Catalyzing innovation and start-ups from a world-leading hospital” John Brownstein (amazing what a bunch of useful small apps and devices can do in a medical environment, which naturally comes from health personnel inspired by their day to day work)
  • 15:00 Transfer back to the university
  • 15:30 “3D printing for patient-specific surgical planning” Carolyn R. Rogers-Vizena
  • 6:30 “Debrief and reflections” Stanley Shaw
  • 16:45 Transfer back to the hotel
  • 19:00 Dinner, which was an excellent opportunity to meet the rest of the group’s participants.

24 people from 12 countries were invited: entrepreneurs who sold their companies for a lot of money and now want to become investors, traditional investors (owners of industrial family companies for over 100 years), PE and large corporate executives, doctors … and me. A relatively heterogeneous group, with some common points: the curiosity to learn, the intention to improve health care in the world, the interest to invest (there is no doubt that it is pure and hard capitalism, but at least it does not promote weapons, fossil fuels, etc), and the desire to collaborate.

On Friday we also started soon.

  • 09:00 “What if we could make cancer a chronic disease?” Arlene Sharpe: the latest on immunotherapies.
  • 09:30 “Surviving lung cancer” Linnea Olson
  • 10:00 Coffee break
  • 10:30 (Sara Smith’s presentation had to be canceled due to medical reasons)
  • 11:15 Lunch
  • 12:15 “What’s Next in Digital Health – Lessons from Around the World” John D. Halamka, a well-known personality, quite a character, with whom I will share the stage at an event in Oslo in a few days
  • 13:15 “Summary and reflections” Stanley Shaw
  • 14:00 Departure to the airport (from where I publish this post thanks to a pretty good wifi)

The list of speakers is really amazing:

  • John Brownstein, Chief Innovation Officer, Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Wendy Garrett, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Disease, Harvard Medical School
  • Mark H. Haefele, Global Chief Investment Officer UBS. A former lecturer and acting dean at Harvard University.
  • John D. Halamka, Chief Information Officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Chief Information Officer and Dean for Technology at Harvard Medical School, Practicing Emergency Physician
  • Jeffrey Karp, Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School
  • Linnea Olson, Patient Advocate
  • Carolyn R. Rogers-Vizena, Attending Physician, Department of Plastic & Oral Surgery, Boston Children’s Hospital Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Arlene Sharp, George Fabyan Professor of Comparative Pathology Interim Co-Chair, Microbiology and Immunobiology Co-Director, Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases
  • Stanley Shaw, Associate Dean of Executive Education, Harvard Medical School
  • Sara Smith, Co-Founder Bodyport

In short, an event in which I have learned a lot (I hope to be able to transcribe my notes and publish them soon), and where have established very interesting relationships.