Emiliano Albanese, MD, MPH, PhD, FMH: Full Professor of Public Health, Institute of Public Health (IPH), Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Università della Svizzera Italiana; Associate Professor of Public Mental Health, and director of the WHO Collaborating Center (CC) for Mental Health Research and Training, in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva; member of the Foundation Board of the Swiss School of Public Health+. Prof. Albanese teaches and coordinates several courses in the field of epidemiology and public mental health. In Lugano, he is responsible of several transversal modules in the USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences (link), and of modules and courses of the Lugano Summer School of Public health, Policy, Economics and Management (link), and the Master program in Cognitive Psychology in Health Communication (link). Prof. Albanese’s has three main, interlinked research interests: dementia, aging, and global mental health. He is first, and foremost, an epidemiologist and a fine systematic reviewer and meta-analyst, but his research and academic interests span the broad spectrum of public health, and stretch between clinical and health policy research and action. Prof. Albanese graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 1998 (Università degli Studi di Milano), obtained his license to practice in 1999, his PhD in clinical neuropsychology in 2002 (Università di Pavia), a Master in Public Health (MPH) in 2004 (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), and a full medical specialization in public health in 2005 (Università degli Studi di Milano and Istituto Superiore di Sanità, ISS). Prof. Albanese is a licensed physician and public health specialist in Italy, the UK, and Switzerland (FMH). Prior to join USI in August 2018, Prof. Albanese was based in Geneva, where he held the first Swiss chair in public mental health, through an SSPH+ professorship that was awarded to him in 2013. Between 2010 and 2013 he was a senior post-doctoral researcher in the Neuroepidemiology section of the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda (MD) in the USA. Before that, he was a post-doctoral researcher in the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King’s College London, UK, in the 10/66 dementia research group. Prof. Albanese began his academic career in Italy, between Milan and Rome, in the fields of clinical neuropsychology and epidemiology applied to age-related cognitive decline.
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We focus on three main areas:
1.A public health approach to aging and dementia.
We are designing and implementing an ambitious research program in collaboration with the WHO, and consistent with the implementation of the two global action plans on a comprehensive public health approach to dementia and aging, respectively. Our research program is articulated across several interlinked research projects:
- Ten sixty ‘Swiss’ – A pilot study designed to explore the feasibility and acceptability of an electronic-based data capturing system for the ascertainment of cognitive function, care needs, disability, and depressive symptoms in community-dwelling older adults.
- Alzheimer Schweiz – A structured study designed to formally assess the criterion validity of the 10/66 short dementia diagnostic algorithm in clinical and community settings, and in nursing homes.
- SwissDEM - A population-based, cross-sectional study into dementia and its impact in Ticino, Geneva, and Zurich. SwissDEM is funded by the SNSF, started in November 2019, and is planned to last up to four years.
- STRiDE - Is a multidisciplinary study aimed at strengthening the response to dementia in developing countries (link), through an innovative, multi-stakeholder platform designed to build research capacity and providing evidence on dementia care in seven developing countries
- DKAS – This is a large survey conducted to explore aging stereotypes, and the level of knowledge, awareness, and understanding of dementia in older and younger adults in Ticino. The survey is designed in collaboration with local stakeholders and association, applying participatory action research methods.
2.Guidelines, policy documents, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
- We work with the WHO to develop guidelines and policy documents, and we design and conduct systematic reviews and meta-analyses in the field of dementia, aging, and mental health.
- We also apply advanced psychometrics techniques to improve research, and evidence synthesis methods.
3.Public mental health
- Foresight – An experimental study designed to assess the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a home-treatment crisis resolution team intervention implemented in Ticino to address the needs of people with severe psychosis. Foresight is led by Prof. Crivelly (DEASS, SUPSI), and by the DSS/OSC (organizzazione socio-psichiatrica cantonale).
- Mental illness and excess mortality – A nationwide, record-linkage, population-based study in the Czech Republic conducted to measure the difference in survival of people with mental disorders compared to the general population, and generate hypotheses of the explanations of the expected divide. The study is part of Dr. Dzmitry Krupchanka’s PhD project, in Geneva (WHO CC).
- Better methods for mental health trials in low and middle income countries – Using qualitative methods and approaches, we explore how to improve the design and conduction of randomized controlled trials aimed at testing the efficacy and effectiveness of low-intensity, self-care interventions for mental health in low and middle income countries. The project is an ancillary study of WHO-led RCTs in Kenya and Pakistan. The study is part of Mrs Melissa Harper’s PhD project, in Geneva (WHO CC).