Professor Alexandre Mignon, MD-PhD

My French Link > Health

Is an anesthesiologist at Hôpital Cochin and Necker APHP in Paris and Co-director of the iLUMENS Department of Health Simulation at Université Sorbonne Paris Cité. He is also Associate Professor at Columbia University in New York City. He earned an MBA in strategy at HEC and founded the start-up Medusims®, which works under an agreement with the university to develop virtual simulation solutions called Serious Games.

portrait mignon

Alexandre Mignon has developed international collaborations with the countries of the Gulf, the Middle East and North Africa, in particular to export iLUMENS expertise. He is also working with the United States to test a disruptive approach to teaching and medical evaluation on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the sponsor of the iLUMENS project for AMU (Aix-Marseille Universités) and the Saint Joseph of Beirut School of Medicine in Lebanon. He is in charge of the first ‘Health Simulation’ MOOC posted online in May 2016 on FUN (France Université Numérique).

Beyond the initiatives you’ve set up in France, could you tell us about how your method is being applied abroad?

We started with the World Health Organization (WHO) hand hygiene observation method that several million health professionals need to be trained around the world by 2020. We were also seeing the transformation of learning with the advent of digital tools and realizing that we no longer ask people to know everything by heart because high-quality knowledge is available everywhere. Instead, we are asking people to know how to do things: to have skills and performance. Simulation has a role to play here as in many other sectors. France lagged behind North America when it came to applying these techniques to health, but it is making up for lost time and exporting its know-how.

Can you share with us a relevant example of a project deployed abroad to facilitate access to medical practice?

iLUMENS signed a partnership with Saint  Joseph University in Lebanon to build its future simulation center. iLUMENS is also interested in emerging countries. We consult with Africa, for example in Dakar with Université Cheikh Anta Diop – I have great pictures! What’s remarkable in those countries is that they want to dive straight into modern medicine. They will not go through all the stages we experienced, so we have to help them achieve medical efficiency, but with resources that are, as of yet, limited. However, we know that education is fundamental and that, in this field, the digital capabilities introduced by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and so on are game changers.

You mentioned the possibility of 20 million people accessing to medical training. Can you tell us more about that?

We are sponsoring a training project that uses physical simulation (mini-mannequins) and virtual simulation for developing countries to reduce perinatal mortality (mothers and babies).

A health simulation expert guided by the three fundamental principles of pedagogy, evaluation and research.

Could you tell us more about your role at iLUMENS?

I created iLUMENS in 2011 with Professor Antoine Tesniere, a young student of mine, when he was not yet a professor. I served as director for five years, then he took the lead so I could focus on exports and business development. I also founded a spin-off start-up (Medusims®) that is the digital arm of iLUMENS; it works in public-private partnerships with iLUMENS (or the equivalent).

Does your team work abroad?

I spent a year in New York at Columbia University and I consult for many platforms in Morocco, Tunisia, Brazil and – soon, I hope – in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

What do you think are the next big avenues of research in your sector that could revolutionize medicine?

There are three pathways to explore: research (but expect fewer revolutions than in the last 50 years, excluding preventive and precision medicine, i.e. personalized care), organizations (teamwork, treatment path, use of Big Data, the quantified self) and, lastly, individual and collective education and evaluation to ensure that everyone in the world receives the highest level of care in keeping with evidence-based medicine.

A health simulation expert guided by the three fundamental principles of pedagogy, evaluation and research.

Is nanotechnology becoming indispensable to all treatments and what major changes could this bring about?

Undoubtedly, but it will not change everything in medicine (I’m not a specialist in this field). Still, we are witnessing major advances, such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing, stem cell culture and robot-assisted surgery. The only thing that is certain is that we will need more humane health professionals because no robot or new technology can replace human contact. I learned that from my mentor Axel Kahn, a reasonable, humane man. One of the big problems today is that science is moving a lot faster than ethics and it’s probably creating more problems than we think! In the beginning, we only see the progress, but 10 or 20 years later, concerns start to emerge. It’s a fascinating topic and one to continue following.