The aging process and healthy aging affect the whole society, not only researchers and health professionals. For this reason, Public Engagement is one of the cornerstones of the Aging Project, as a commitment of the University to civil society and the territory.
Why Public Engagement?
Public Engagement refers to all non-profit activities having educational, cultural, and social development value.
With our activities, we aim to spread acquired knowledge and promote a culture of healthy aging based on solid scientific foundations. We want to give back to society the value generated by the University, in a way that is consistent with real needs and demands, and in synergy with a network of associations, institutions, and local stakeholders who share our vision.
Public Engagement activities are closely intertwined with both research and educational activities. The training of health professionals specialized in the field of aging and management of elderly patients, for example, is closely related to national and regional healthcare planning.
Through the creation of university spin-offs, we are also committed to establishing a relationship with the entrepreneurial world and making technological know-how available, with particular attention to the needs of society and economic development.
Our contribution to spreading scientific information is primarily through this website, particularly the Aging section (only available in Italian), where it is possible to find informative content specifically dedicated to the public. Our researchers and experts in scientific communication collaborate with the editorial team to make information on aging research understandable and relevant to everyone’s daily lives.
Our Ph.D. students attend specific courses, conducted by journalists and communication experts, on the editing of informational text and the use of digital communication tools. They also actively collaborate on producing website content.
Furthermore, we periodically organize workshops and seminars open to everyone. Some examples of the activities carried out by the DIMET in recent years, on the topic of aging are: Researchers’ night in Novara, Osteoporosis prevention and Lifestyle Medicine days in Biella, in collaboration with the Anteo Cooperative, as well as the publication of public health articles in the local press.
The Dedalo project
DEDALO, flying through the years, is a project aimed at promoting the healthy and active aging of the citizens of Vercelli and Santhià. It was launched in 2017 by the city of Vercelli, the Local Health Authority of Vercelli, and the UPO, in collaboration with over 30 organizations in the Vercelli area, including: museums, institutions, associations in the sector of health promotion, sports associations, territorial development organizations, and schools, with the involvement of local economic stakeholders.
The DEDALO working group is comprised of representatives of the institutions involved. From among the activities offered by the local community, this working group periodically selects activities defined by the scientific community as effective for promoting healthy and successful aging. These include measures that encourage physical activity and healthy eating, cultural events on cognitive stimulation, and initiatives to get to know the area. These events are organized as a complete offering, renewed weekly, and promoted through a website, social media, a periodic newsletter, as well as flyers.
DEDALO offers four health paths:
- healthy nutrition (cooking courses, recipe exchanges, conferences),
- moving together (ideas for physical activity),
- wonder and amazement (ways to activate the brain and maintain cognitive skills),
- the discovery of the territory (activities that encourage community bonding).
Participants have a point card, which rewards those who take part in at least ten of the activities offered. The organizations involved offer prizes such as shopping vouchers, free access to museums or sports activities, etc.
The DEDALO project is associated with a health impact assessment project, which makes use of a quasi-experimental study, comparing the cohort of DEDALO participants with a sample of citizens from Vercelli.
Borgogna Museum, Vercelli
The Francesco Borgogna Museum in Vercelli hosts a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and photographic works. It is a partner in numerous initiatives tied to the Dedalo Project.