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Twenty-nine students from 22 countries make up the 2023 IHTM cohort that gathered for the inaugural event of the year at Ditchley Park.

Students from the 2023 IHTM gather at Ditchley Park at the start of the course

As the students introduced each other, as part of an ice-breaking exercise, it was apparent that this year’s cohort continue the IHTM tradition of inspirational individuals who have often overcome significant challenges to progress their careers and to study the MSc.

Occupations range from medical doctors, dentists, physiotherapists and psychologists to a quantity surveyor, healthcare strategist, health data scientist and management consultant. There was a palpable sense of excitement, and perhaps a little apprehension, as they embark on the year ahead, but the students were supportive of each other, and enthusiastic to get to know one another and to get started.

IHTM students from the 2023 cohort worked in teams to paint a picture representing the core values of the course: Solidarity, Creativity, Innovation, Equity, Diversity and Teamwork.As one of the day's activities, students worked in teams to illustrate some of the core values of IHTM:

Solidarity, our artwork, while elegantly simple, conveys a profound message of solidarity. It presents an aerial view of five individuals arranged in a circular formation, emblematic of unity and togetherness. Each figure is adorned with a unique colour, intentionally selected to mirror the diverse cultures across the globe. These distinct colours pay homage to the five continents of our world, celebrating the vibrant spectrum of backgrounds, traditions, and experiences that shape humanity. In essence, our painting epitomizes the spirit of solidarity, where the convergence of disparate elements cultivates a potent synergy, fostering connections and unity amongst all.”

Creativity, collaboratively painting the canvas to symbolize creativity became a journey of creativity itself. Our goal was to depict the tension between chaos and order that characterizes creative thinking. It all begins with the initial chaos, similar to the process of brainstorming. Amidst this initial turbulence, there is the "light bulb" moment when everything falls into place, representing the transition into a structured order. The wide variety of hues that make up the canvas's border serves as a metaphor for IHTM’s vast diversity. This diversity acts as a catalyst, infusing the creative process with energy and inspiration, ultimately driving the development of sustainable solutions for healthcare challenges. This piece of art not only produces visually appealing work but also acts as a catalyst for cultural, social, and personal transformation. It has the power to challenge societal norms, raise awareness about important issues, evoke emotions, inspire change, and provides a platform for self-expression and reflection.”

Innovation, During our brainstorming session focusing on conveying the essence of innovation on our canvas, both as individuals and as a collaborative team, we generated numerous creative concepts. In that very moment, a profound realization dawned upon us – we were actively engaged in the process of innovation itself. Thus, our canvas serves as a visual representation of our intricate thought processes. Within this canvas, the 'brain' symbolizes our collective intellectual efforts, underscoring the importance of collaborative thinking. Meanwhile, the 'light bulb' and the radiant 'light rays' emanating from it vividly illustrate our diverse and distinct innovative ideas, illuminating the path to unique solutions. Furthermore, the inclusion of 'gears' within the canvas signifies our commitment to practical implementation and engineering, essential for transforming these innovative thoughts into tangible realities. These gears embody the synchronized effort required to breathe life into our creative concepts. In essence, our canvas encapsulates the dynamic interplay of ideas, collaboration, and the relentless pursuit of translating innovation from imagination to execution. It embodies the very spirit of innovation itself.”

"Equity, when thinking about how to represent equity, we initially considered portraying the ideal situation. However, we soon realized that we haven't reached that point yet. Instead, we shifted our focus to depicting the problem, acknowledging that many people are unaware of it. The brown semicircle represents the Earth, the starting point where everyone is born. However, as people strive to progress, they encounter various challenges. The different scales and sizes of the stairs, represented by the colored areas, signify the diverse paths and efforts that different groups of people need to overcome to progress in life. In conclusion, while everyone ideally begins at the same point on the same planet as members of the global community, the existence of different paths toward progress exemplifies why equity is a topic we must continue working on to create a better world.”

Diversity, akin to the primary colors in a Venn diagram, represents the fusion of distinct elements—ethnicities, genders, and ages—into a harmonious whole. Just as red, blue, and yellow form an array of vibrant hues when they converge, diversity's strength lies in the intersections of varied backgrounds. The overlapping regions symbolize the richness that emerges when different perspectives unite, fostering innovation and creativity. Secondary colors, like purple, green, and orange, arise as a testament to the collaborative power of diversity, showcasing that the sum is greater than its parts. In society, as in a palette of colors, it is within these intersections that the true beauty of diversity shines, offering fresh perspectives, ideas, and the potential for profound transformation.”

"Teamwork, we consider that teamwork occurs when a group of people is able to work together towards a common goal while ensuring that each person has the opportunity to contribute meaningfully. To represent this definition on our canvas, we first set a common goal that we all felt identified with, which we represented as a pill (symbolizing health). Then, we decided to use our fingers to paint the inside of the pill, representing that each of us has a space and a unique way to contribute to building our common goal. In this way, what actually represents our understanding of teamwork is the process we went through to paint together our canvas, rather than the concrete outcome only."