The CfGC’s research and consultation activity addresses two primary sorts of communication in the field of health: healthcare communication, which is the communication produced by agencies and businesses appointed to safeguard health (offering various services including professional and emergency services, etc.); and communication for health, or those areas that deal with socio-economic and cultural factors, such as media “consumption” for example, that are “determinant for health”–in other words lifestyles. Consider the processes of globalization that are currently taking place, the great movement of people and things, or the significance of today’s digital reality for the private lives of individuals. In particular, the CfGC focuses on the immense potentials that can be generated by communication strategies targeted to strengthen possible convergences and interests among seemingly distant sectors. From the fundamental Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986) to the no-less-important Tallinn Charter: health systems for health and wealth (2008), both promoted by the WHO, healthcare communication and communication for health have been turned upside down by the enormous political, cultural, and technological transformations that have impacted and deeply changed the world of information and communication.
Communication and information are still seen and handled on the basis of the old hierarchical-transmission model. For this reason it’s not possible to give value to the subjects involved in health and healthcare dynamics in the context of a common project. On the other hand, health culture and healthcare organizations have an historic opportunity to position themselves as strategic players in developing innovation within the socio-economic system and favoring a community building process based on cooperation and collaboration among all the subjects involved. Who are the subjects involved? Do we know who they are? Are they aware of their involvement? To answer these questions we need to examine the complexity that historically surrounds contemporary society in a new, radically different way.
Areas linked to healthcare, health, and wellbeing represent a system of inalienable resources that the community, as a complex, has the right to access (in terms of equal rights and opportunities). However, at the same time, every citizen has the duty to contribute to reinforcing this system of resources through their public and private activities in a context of active citizenship.
Keeping in line with working areas of the World Health Organization, the CfGC carries out research that redefines health as a resource for the entire society.
With maximum attention to social, cultural, economic, and political factors at the base of “being well” and “living well”, the CfGC has oriented its research toward communication not only as a means to safeguard health through timely and correct information about health services or lifestyles (health communication), but also as a phenomenal tool for planning, developing, and monitoring the web of connections among areas that are critical for achieving and maintaining a healthy society (communication for health).
“Healthy” in all aspects–social, economic, and cultural health of the territory.
The CfGC is actively involved in research regarding relationships between training, education, and communication (central themes even at the time of the CRAIAT) for their vital role in providing citizens with the awareness necessary to have greater control over their physical and mental wellbeing. In this context, health can and must be understood as fundamental for orienting assessment or planning of the economy and society. Health is not only a parameter but it is also a project for all socio-economic and cultural systems.
Research and consultation carried out by the CfGC with regard to themes linked to health have always been transversal in nature–ranging from education to economics, from culture to politics–rendering communication the key tool to intercept resources that may be present in our complex society.
Indeed, it’s not by chance that complexity is profoundly intrinsic in the healthcare field, a correlation well documented in literature. It is up to communication to ensure that objectives of vital interest for health matters are recognized and strengthened across the range of sectors in society. This is essential if there is to be community building, which is based on the strong conviction that health does not represent a cost but rather it’s a primary resource.