Uneven distribution of professors and instructors in medical disciplines dealing with the four main chronic non-communicable diseases: The case of the Italian Universities

Giovanni Viegi, Stefano Centanni, Francesco Blasi

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Background: Chronic (non-communicable) diseases (NCD) - principally cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes - are leading causes of death and disability. There is the need to adopt a core University curriculum which let students be taught by teachers who are experts of the four main NCD, for reaching the public health goals proposed by the UN and the WHO. Methods: Our aim was to assess whether all medical students, regardless of the Italian university of enrolment, have an equal opportunity to be educated by an expert teacher in each of the four NCD. We have used the search engine http://cercauniversita.cineca.it/php5/docenti/cerca.php. Results: In January 2016, for each of the 43 universities with a school of medicine, we have assessed the presence of professors / instructors for each of the four academic disciplines corresponding to the four NCD: a) Respiratory medicine; b) Cardiovascular medicine; c) Oncology; d) Endocrinology. Comparing university personnel between Respiratory medicine and each of the other NCD academic sectors, there were negative differences, much wider with the sector Cardiovascular medicine, regarding individual (number of professors/instructors) and collective indicators (number of Universities with various kinds of professors/instructors). Conclusions: Both national societies and ERS should promote periodic analyses of the academic situation of respiratory medicine in the European countries for advocating the EU in order to have recommendations/suggestions for the Member States to get the proper recognition of respiratory medicine, at the same level as the other disciplines involved in preventing and managing the four main NCD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalMultidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2 2017



  • Italian universities
  • Main chronic non-communicable diseases
  • Professors and instructors
  • Respiratory medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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