Published: 10-12-2015 10:42 | Updated: 15-12-2015 12:25

The Millennials - two future thinking events held at KI

Two significant sister-events in November zoomed in on young adults' health, wellbeing, conditions in society and as patients. Furthermore it became clear that diversity continues to play an important role.

Generation WHY? at Aula Medica


The Centre for Gender Medicine’s partner, TEDx Stockholm organized the opening event at the Aula Media, November 12, 2015. Millennials or Generation Y are facing challenges and contradictions unknown to previous generations. Self-aware but also attentive towards the planet they live in, constantly caught in between skepticism and optimism, alarmism and scientific truth, this generation is struggling to reinvent a place for itself in an ever-changing world, where the old models and values often fail to help them navigate the present. The Generation WHY? event, explored some of these challenges, and showcased some of the ideas worth spreading which have resulted from turning struggles into opportunities.

The Millennial Body & Mind - embracing diversity symposium at Nobel Forum

Millennials head with texts

Following on, a day-long symposium on November 13, 2015 was hosted by The Centre for Gender Medicine at Karolinska Institute. This event featured an array of international speakers invited to present their research on how sex and gender perspective continues to be relevant to the future health and treatment, of the Millennials.

Demographic research tells us the Millennials, born somewhere between the early 80’s and the mid-2000s, who were once our future patients, are quickly becoming our patients in the here and now. The Centre for Gender Medicine, understanding that gender differences within the Millennials will help define the future of the patient, and in turn the future of medicine, asked world-leading thinkers, and practitioners in future forecasting, healthcare, medicine, psychology, business and other relevant sectors, to share their experiences, insights and foresights speaking directly to what kind of patients the Millennial generation will become.

Speakers included Dr. Bo Runesson, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, at Karolinska Institutet, Professor and director, Cara Tannenbaum, from Canada’s Institute of Gender and Health and Professor Torbjön Åkerstedt, from Karolinska Institutet and the Stockholm Stress Center. Along with seven other speakers, they presented their research and conclusions about how the Millennials are redefining the future of the patient, and not least, the future of health care and innovations in the field. They also presented forward edged research in far reaching interdisciplinary discussions around the future of physical and psychological health and illness within the Millennials.

The center’s leader Karolina Kublickiene acknowledged the challenge of the topic and stressed that success of the event was a result of interdisciplinary and creative collaboration involving all expertise from Erika Tanos, Jörgen Dyssvold - Herr Omar Agency, Monika Misiowiec and DECS doctoral program together with invited faculty. The complex subject aimed to discuss the perception of the young adults that their preventive health strategies need to be affordable, accessible and convenient in face of rapidly growing exponential technologies and changes in demographic situation both in europe and word-wide. Successful healthcare systems recognize that it is crucial to recruit and retain a diversity of employees that better reflect and meet the healthcare needs of the diverse communities that they are progressively called upon to serve and acknowledged.

The diverse range of talks started with the global youth trends, values and worries. In terms of future healthcare systems, likely scenarios could be the “enhancement age” and “health malls”. Furthermore, we got introduced to subject of transhumanism, which is actually not fiction anymore. We learned about the so-called Wellness syndrome - the health politics and the current moralizing pressure to be well. Millennials and individuals in general who fail to look after their bodies are being increasingly demonized.

The complexities of gender identity and protective factors were also discussed based on a survey on Trans Youth health in Canada. Those who live in their felt gender full time are for example 50% more likely to have good/excellent mental health. The sleep habits of Millennials together with sex and gender related differences were also explored. For instance, did you know that that woman are more aware of sleep deprivation and not getting enough of sleep than men?

An early conclusion? The Millennials represent a significant social and medical challenge, a change taking place in patient care today that The Centre for Gender Medicine, and its international partners are preparing for. Thus, the future challenges are of importance and evolve both the future patients as well as as current millennials here at KI to endorse the innovative thinking to face future challenges and strengthen the research and educations as appropriate.

A selection of quotes following the event:

Canada’s Insitute of Gender and Health, Director & Professor Cara Tannenbaum: “The programme today was amazing. Very innovative, great speakers. I learned a lot and enhanced my perspective. I am very impressed with how forward-thinking you are. I meant what I said about being ahead of the crowd.”

Harvard University's Professor Ronald Jones: "It is always a learning experience at The Centre for Gender Medicine, with high value and practical consequences. To be able to participate in this exchange of ideas, across disciplines, with those leading the research in this vital field, expanded everyone's current thinking. "

We would also like to thank our partners and supporters of this event:

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