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Initial plans for a large-scale investigation into the chronic health effects of earthquakes in Italy: building on Barbara Pacelli's legacy.

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Ripoll Gallardo, Alba 
Fabiani, Leila 
Barone Adesi, Francesco 
Sofianopoulou, Eleni 


Barbara Pacelli, a young Italian epidemiologist, passed away unexpectedly in September 2019. During her prolific professional life, she gave several scientific contributions to natural disaster epidemiology, particularly in relation to the medium and long-term health effects of earthquakes. In this opinion paper, we reflect on Barbara's legacy and outline potential actions that could arise from her work. Particularly, availability of electronic health records would enable a systematic and large-scale investigation into the long-term health effects of earthquakes in Italy, a country with high seismic risk. This effort would have high societal value as it would likely enable mitigation of substantial morbidity and mortality in areas affected by earthquakes. In this paper, we define scope, objectives, potential data sources, and analysis methods that could be used to systematically assess the chronic health effects of recent earthquakes in Italy. Keywords: earthquakes; chronic diseases; electronic health records; retrospective cohort; case crossover study.



Chronic Disease, Cross-Over Studies, Earthquakes, Female, Humans, Italy, Morbidity, Retrospective Studies

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Epidemiol Prev

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British Heart Foundation (None)
British Heart Foundation (RG/18/13/33946)
Medical Research Council (MR/L003120/1)
The article processing charge was funded by CRIMEDIM - Research Center in Emergency and Disaster Medicine, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Italy. During the conduction of this study, E. Allara and A. Wood were funded by the EU/EFPIA Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking BigData@Heart grant n° 116074. This work was supported by core funding from: the UK Medical Research Council (MR/L003120/1), the British Heart Foundation (RG/13/13/30194; RG/18/13/33946) and the National Institute for Health Research [Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust] [*]. This work was also supported by Health Data Research UK, which is funded by the UK Medical Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Department of Health and Social Care (England), Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates, Health and Social Care Research and Development Division (Welsh Government), Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland), British Heart Foundation and Wellcome. *The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.