On the first week of September 2021, the University of Palermo hosted the 1st edition of the FORTHEM Summer school on "Building a Pathway to Health: Coping Strategies and Correct Lifestyles"

This short term mobility is an output of the Resilience, Life quality and Demographic change Lab. The teaching Board of the Summer School was a multidisciplinary international team made of fifteen professors from the Universities of Jyvaskyla, Valencia, Mainz, Bourgogne, Latvia and Palermo.

This school was addressed to students from seven different countries, characterized by completely different geographic, socio-economic and cultural contexts, to allow them interacting and learning about building a pathway to health. The mechanisms by which specific lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on patient health outcomes were presented through the following lectures:

  1. Epidemiology of non–communicable chronic diseases and their determinants: data and methods (one 2-hour module)  (Matranga Domenica, UNIPA)
  2. Balanced nutrition and healthy diets, with special focus to Whole-food and Plant-based Diet (two 2-hours modules) (Laura Escrivá and Ana Juan-García, Valencia)
  3. Physical activity: physiological mechanisms and health impact (one 2-hour module) (Liga Plakane, Latvia)
  4. The neurobiology of addiction. A vulnerability/resilience perspective (one 2-hour module) (Beat Lutz, Meinz)
  5. Resilience to meet the challenge of addiction I : alcohol and tobacco (one 2-hour module) (Carla Cannizzaro, UNIPA)
  6. Resilience to meet the challenge of addiction II: drugs of abuse (one 2-hour module) Anna Brancato, UNIPA)
  7. Behavioural addictions: game, web, sexual addictions (one 2-hour module) (Nicklas Paskal and Klaus Woelfling, Meinz)
  8. Sexually Transmitted Diseases and sexual behaviour (one 2-hour module) (Laura Saporito, UNIPA)
  9. Coping strategies, communicative skills, decision making (one 2-hour module) (Vanessa Sanchez and Silvia Corchon, Valencia)
  10. Coping strategies, communicative skills, decision making (one 2-hour modules) (Johanna Eronen, Jyväskylä)
  11. Psychologic well-being (one 2-hour module) (Silvana Miceli, UNIPA)
  12. Interoception and Emotion  (0.5-hour seminar Alicia FOURNIER,  Université de Bourgogne)


The 12 participating students from FORTHEM partner universities had free time for socializing and knowing Palermo. They had the possibility to visit Palazzo Steri, Orto Botanico, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arab-Norman Palermo.

The Summer school ended with a tasting held in the splendid setting of Villa Airoldi. FORTHEM students and Professors had the opportunity to do “field experience” of healthy nutrition, based on organic, zero-miles products of the Mediterranean diet . Their senses enjoyed the intense scent of Terravecchia legume soups, the unmistakable taste of caponatina and wild fennel pesto from "La vita bio", the superb Regaleali wines of Tasca d'Almerita and finally the delicious Tumminello biscuits.

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