Cultura e Salute - Healing words


Institutional Communication Service

4 October 2023

From October to December 2023, for seven Mondays, leading figures from the world of science and professors from the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and the Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society at USI, coordinated by Prof. Enzo Grossi, will discuss seven topics linking words to medicine and wellbeing. This is what is proposed by "Healing Words", the third edition of the "Cultura e Salute" course promoted by USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences with the Culture Division of the City of Lugano and IBSA Foundation for Scientific Research, which this year sees the artistic collaboration of Lugano's LAC. The seven thematic lectures, open to the public, will take place from Monday, 16 October to Monday, 11 December, in the East Campus Lugano multipurpose room from 6 pm to 7:30 pm.

The lectures are open to students and PhD students from the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and the Faculty of Communication, Culture, and Society at USI, as well as anyone interested. Each lecture will start with a keynote speech by an international guest speaker, who will present their experience and expertise on the lecture's theme. This will be followed by a discussion where one or more field experts will participate as discussants.


Course structure

The USI Cultura e salute course for 2023 focuses on the so-called field of Medical Humanities, which is defined as the "cultural medicine" by Bernegger and Malacrida. This course provides valuable support to health professionals in achieving the goals of medicine through the use of complementary tools. Narrative, in all its forms, is one of the most prominent tools among them. Therefore, the course has been titled "Healing Words".

Healing words are those of the patient who tells his own story to the caregiver, taking shape in narrative medicine; they are also the words of a writer, who turns into parental reading as a support to neurodevelopment in paediatric age or as a tool to prevent cognitive impairment in old age. Other words are those of individuals who write about themselves, in other words, expressive writing, and those who become actors on stage to share their emotions, in other words, theatre therapy.

For each of these narrative modes, a large volume of scientific evidence attests to their usefulness for human health. Distinguished scientists will take turns illustrating the subject in six appointments, preceded by an opening lecture on the basic concept for the entire discipline of Culture and Health: mind-body unity.

Accompanying the course will be seven readings on the subject selected in collaboration with the Fondazione Sasso Corbaro, revised by playwriter Riccardo Favaro and staged by Carmelo Rifici, artistic director of the LAC, thanks to the voices of leading actors.

The lessons will be held in Italian and English with simultaneous translation in both languages and will be recorded and published online at the end of the course.


Attending all meetings:

  • Students of the USI Master of Medicine will be granted 1 ECTS (elective course) following the submission of a final report, based on specific topics specified in the course outline (on iCourses);
  • PhD students in the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences will be able to obtain 0.5 ECTS;
  • Students in the Bachelor's and Master's programmes of the Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society will be able to obtain 1 ECTS;


Lectures programme

  • Monday, 16 October
    Mind-Body Unity. How emotions change our organism

    Speaker: Enzo Grossi, physician, surgeon, lecturer, and expert researcher on culture and health (I)
    Discussion with: Giovanni Pedrazzini, Dean of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences USI (CH) and Roberto Malacrida, Director of the journal Medical Humanities Fondazione Sasso Corbaro (CH)
    Reading interpreted by Anahi Traversi



Lectures will be held in Italian and English, with simultaneous translation into Italian.

The lectures will be recorded and published online at the end of the course.