Meet Professor Anamaria Colao, the new UNESCO Chairperson on Health Education and Sustainable Development

Meet Professor Anamaria Colao, the new UNESCO Chairperson on Health Education and Sustainable Development

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture. UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.

Anamaria ColaoAnnamaria Colao is a Full Professor of Endocrinology at the Universita’ Federico II di Napoli. She studied medicine from 1977 to 1983 at the same university. She was a fellow in Pituitary Physiopathology mentored by Prof. G. Lombardi from 1981-1986. She graduated in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases Magna cum Laude discussing a thesis on inferior petrosal sinus sampling in 1986 and received her PhD fellow in Endocrinological and Metabolic Sciences at the Department of Molecular Pathology. University “Federico II” of Naples in 1991. She was Chair of the Unit of Endocrinology of the “Federico II” University of Naples. She is also the Chair of the Health Care Provider University Hospital “Federico II” for Rare Endocrine Diseases granted from the Italian Minister of Health. Prof. Colao was appointed as the Italian Coordinator of the Endocrine Reference Network for the European Commission for Rare Diseases (ENDO-ERN). She is Chair of the Excellence European Center for Neuroendocrine Tumors granted by the European Society of Neuroendocrine Tumors and the Excellence National Center for Obesity (C.I.B.O.) granted by the Italian Society of Obesity. She is a member of number councils such as the CNGR (Comitato Nazionale Garanti per la Ricerca) National Committee for Research from April 2012-April 2015. President of the CNGR (Comitato Nazionale Garanti per la Ricerca) National Committee for Research from April 2015-April 2016. Administrative Council of the II University of Naples (now University Vanvitelli of Campania) from 2013-2017 and the Administrative Council of the Italian Institute of Technology 2017 until present. She has characterised scientific activities by publication of more than 800 full papers in international journals (IF 3139). more than 100 chapters in books and monographs and has made 40.439 citations.

Professor Colao, please tell us about your new role and your intention to use this important position to focus on obesity

The UNESCO Chair on “Health Education an Sustainable Development” is conceived as “multidisciplinary chair” aimed at fostering transfer of knowledge on Health and Sustainability, which represent challenging topics for the XXI century at global level.
The long-term objective of the project is to enhance health status of populations by facilitating a “Knowledge Transfer Exchange” about the effects on human health of major cultural, nutritional and environmental factors. In particular University and school-based innovative curricula to foster the adoption of healthy nutritional habits and life styles by focusing on cultural determinants of health will be implemented. Further, the UNESCO chair will have the goal of fostering epidemiological studies in Italian and European regions suffering from high obesity rates in order to assess the role of cultural determinants on the development of this disease.

What do you see as the key challenges UNESCO faces given the objective of in achieving the 2030 SDGs?

By 2030, strengthen the prevention and treatment of obesity and ensure universal access to obesity health-care services, including for information and education, and the integration of obesity into national strategies and programmes.

What do you hope to accomplish through UNESCO?

The UNESCO Chair of Health Education and Sustainable Development will accomplish the First UNESCO priority concerning “Information for development (being aimed at providing access to information and knowledge for a sustainable development) as well as Second and Third UNESCO priorities concerning “Information Preservation” and “ Information Accessibility”.

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