Seminar Series: Franca Barbic

Chronic Disease Prevention in the workplace: from research to clinical practice and public health policy

Franca Barbic

Assistant Professor
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Humanitas University (Italy)

Short Biography:

Since 1988, she was involved in clinical studies on human neural mechanisms controlling the cardiovascular system during physiological and pathological conditions. She has a wide expertise on power spectral, cross-spectral of heart period, blood pressure, and respiratory activity variabilities. She promoted the application of these methodologies in Occupational Medicine and in Work Environment. She studied the effects of rotating 24-hour shift work, and night work on autonomic cardiovascular system. In the last years she did researches on Parkinson Disease and other autonomic syndromes including Pure Autonomic Failure, Vasovagal Syncope, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Fibromyalgia, Ehler Danlos and consequences of work ability. The patients were studied both in Clinical Laboratory on short period during rest condition and during orthostatic stimulus (75° head-up tilt) and in real life conditions during their 24-hour daily routine. She studied the cardiovascular physiopathology of Orthostatic Syncope at European Space Agency (ESA), Cologne, Germany.

Recently, she has been working in research projects aimed at evaluating the incidence of post-Covid19 autonomic syndrome and consequences on work ability.

Secretary of Scientific Committee Cardiology on Occupational Health of International Committee Occupational Health
Editorial Board member of IJERPH Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion.
Editorial Board member of IJOMH.
Guest Editors for IJERPH, Frontiers in Neuroscience, Frontiers in Physiology.

The last ongoing Editorial Project of IJERPH is focused on "Sleep, Shift Work and Health: Global Perspectives".


Occupational Medicine is an important component of Public and Global Health aimed to prevent mortality, morbidity, and disability burden attributable to occupational risk factors exposure. Given that people spend most of their time at work, it is pivotal for healthy professionals to know, and understand the complex interplay between ‘workplace’ and ‘health’: how hazardous exposures at work can affect our health, and vice versa, how our health status can modify our work ability.

As a link between the central nervous system and the body viscera, the autonomic nervous system guarantees an adequate response to different environmental stimuli, in healthy adults. Cardiovascular neural regulation is a crucial component of this complex model, particularly in the presence of physical and psychological stress, in response to physical and chemical agents including pollutants, in different environmental microclimates, during orthostatic stress and in response to circadian rhythms alteration as happens, for example, during irregular work schedules. The alteration of this complex network may significantly impact the human capability to adapt itself to different environmental stimuli including those characterizing different occupational settings and tasks. This may reduce human performances, promote diseases, increase the risk of accidents, and negatively impact public health.

The above issues will be treated by showing original research projects by our research group. In addition, the ongoing research on the effect of Sars-Cov2 pandemic in Italy on Long-Covidi19 Autonomic Syndrome will be proposed and discussed. Finally, the future opportunities of Heath Promoting Programs in working place for preventing chronic cardiovascular disease will be briefly introduced.

Main Topic that will be addressed in the seminar presentation:

  • • Shift work and cardiovascular autonomic regulation
  • • Syncope and work: risks and safe return to work
  • • Sleep disorders and working activity
  • • Indoor microclimate and cognitive function
  • • Work Ability in autonomic disorders

Keywords: occupational health, health promotion in working place, syncope, shiftwork, sleep disorders, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular prevention, cardiovascular autonomic control, cognitive performance and indoor microclimate.

Date: Friday, November 25th
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Location: PHFM 3015 (Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine)