The bond between culture and health is the focus of a university course

At the heart of IBSA’s mission is the desire to contribute to improving the quality of life of People, with the awareness that this goal goes far beyond the development of cutting-edge and effective therapeutic solutions.

Several clinical and scientific evidences show that cultural participation is closely related to the physical and mental health of the Person. The publication of some epidemiological studies – the result of long-term observations and representative samples of the general population – has in fact demonstrated how an intense cultural participation is associated with benefits on several fronts: from an improvement in overall well-being, up to an actual extension of life expectancy, as well as a reduction in the effects of serious diseases on the patient, even in the case of chronic degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or cancer. It is therefore essential that the new generations of doctors and healthcare professionals are fully aware of the importance of cultural activities for the well-being of People. And where to start to develop and stimulate this awareness if not from the academic education?


It is precisely from these assumptions that the Culture and Health course was born, the first in Switzerland, organised by IBSA Foundation for Scientific Research in collaboration with the City of Lugano, as part of the project bearing the same name. The course aims to provide the interpretative keys of the role of culture in the individual and social well-being spheres, a topic that is not always investigated in detail, with adequate scientific tools and a multidisciplinary approach. The first edition was organised at the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) in Lugano, from October to December 2021. Over 700 people attended the seven lectures, aimed at students of the biomedical sciences faculty and open to the public. The course formula included an opening by Prof. Enzo Grossi, course coordinator, who introduced the topic through the key-note speech by a connected international guest, who brought their experience and expertise in support of the day’s topic itself. In the second part, experts from the scientific sector and leading exponents of the world of culture discussed a specific aspect of the relation between culture and health.

The complete videos of the lessons have been collected in a dedicated page on the IBSA Foundation website, together with further downloadable materials and information on next edition of the course.


Conceived in 2020 by the IBSA Foundation, the Culture and Health project was created to promote initiatives and synergies between the worlds of culture and health, with the aim of improving the quality of life and well-being of people in health centres, in culture and in daily life.

In addition to the university course, Cultura e Salute comprises a series of other initiatives. After Parole che curano (“Curing Words”) – which saw poetry spread all over the streets of Lugano – the project gave the idea to create a website dedicated to the topic. The portal, accessible in multiple languages, collects all the initiatives and news concerning the project: it’s a hub for collecting research, case histories and evidence regarding the connection between culture and health, an actual point of reference on the subject, which is being constantly updated. Last but not least, the first Swiss Forum Alleanza per un futuro sostenibile (“Alliance for a sustainable future”) – which was organised in November 2021 to launch the discussion on the humanisation of care, present best practices and reward experiences and initiatives carried out in Switzerland with the support of innovative methodologies, and based on defined scientific results.