For fifteen Marie-Curie IQCE ETN PhD students, a November week in Milano made for a great mix of learning and fun.
Concerned that we didn’t starve on the Sunday evening before our Epidemiology class began, local ‘host’ IQCE Fellow Yuchi booked a table for an ‘aperitivo’ (cocktail + buffet dinner) at a canal-side restaurant called Sacrestia Farmacia Alcolica in Milano’s Navigili neighbourhood. The building had previously been a pharmacy, which was a nice touch given the health focus of our ETN. We were joined by a few local Bocconi PhD students, and had more fun than should be admitted guessing where everyone originated from. Not being professional linguists, accents are not anyone’s strong suit! Such a warm welcome to a new city!
Monday morning we met the Bocconi IQCE academic team: Prof. Giovanni Fattore; Prof. Aleksandra Torbica; and Prof. Simone Ghislandi and began our introduction to the field of Epidemiology. The first two days of Epidemiology lectures were given by Prof. Ghislandi (Simone to his new best friends), followed by a guest lecture on Meta-Analysis by Dr. Oriana Ciani, and a final lecture on Health Economics Decision Theory from Prof. Torbica. Aside from learning about how John Snow started the field of Epidemiology, the differences between Risk Ratios, Rate Ratios, and Odds Ratios, the hierarchy of epidemiological study designs, the importance and challenges of meta-analysis, and a refresher on decision-making based on probabilistic expectations, the class was divided into four teams which would work together to produce hour-long presentations across a range of epidemiological specializations.
Two afternoons of group collaboration led to a full day of group presentations and insightful discussions. Although we had some small group activities through our previous meetings in Lisbon and Hamburg, this was the first time we did any serious group work, and were really able to get a sense of each other’s working styles. Even the most detail oriented amongst us could overlook the difference between Generic and Genetic Epidemiology! Other group topics included Nutritional and Social Epidemiology. After the final presentation on Infectious Disease Epidemiology, aside from a few colleagues who had departed to catch early flights, most of the group gathered together for a celebratory aperitivo dinner.
Not content to intimately knowing the inside of a Bocconi lecture hall, several IQCE Fellows decided to stay for a couple days in order to explore Milan as tourists. Amongst Milan’s most notable include the Duomo cathedral and nearby Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Pinacoteca di Brera (home of Hayez’s ‘The Kiss’), the church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie (home of DaVinci’s ‘The Last Supper’), La Scala opera house, and the Castello Sforzesco.
Thank you Milano! We look forwards to returning in March to learn about Experimental Design – not to mention seeing and tasting more of your delights!