Institute of public health (IPH)


The Institute of Public Health (IPH) at the University of Lugano is an inter-faculty institute dedicated to teaching, research and service activities in public health sciences and its component disciplines. The IPH is the focal point, principal actor, and contact person for public health at USI. The vision of the IPH echoes the ultimate goal of public health globally, namely a better, healthier, and safer world for all.

The IPH is supported by the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, the Faculty of Economics, and the Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society. It is created in the midst of the era of sustainable development, that is, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (United Nations, 2015). In this global context, the mission of IPH is to achieve maximum benefit for both present and future generations through the collective and conscious efforts of society, which include health promotion, disease prevention, and disease diagnosis and treatment. 

Therefore, IPH aims to make a concrete, substantial, tangible, and decisive contribution to promoting the advancement and dissemination of knowledge, and its utilization for the sustainable development of society through the harmonization of economic growth with social inclusion and environmental protection.

IPH is founded on the following health-related principles and values, which form the pillars, and premises of the future academic agenda and strategy.

Values and principles

  • Health is a universal and fundamental right of every human being.
  • Health is a public good, that is, characterized by absence of rivalry, and non-excludability, and central to the concept of human capital which is, in turn, the basis of sustainable development.
  • Health is influenced by multiple factors that coexist, interact and influence each other throughout the life span, from conception. Exposure to many of these factors is positively modifiable both individually and collectively.
  • The World Health Organization's (WHO's) definition of health, a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, is understood as a continuum between complete well-being and more severe forms of disease. Such an approach complements rather than opposes the diagnostic-dichotomous approach (and its clinical-prognostic utility) and maximizes opportunities to promote and protect health, prevent, diagnose, and treat disease through the consistent and organized efforts and informed choices of society and its constituent individuals.
  • Mentl health and somatic health are not distinct, but there are complex and reciprocal relationships between their causes, their risk and protective factors, and their signs and symptoms. A dualistic view of health is a barrier, and reduces opportunities for promotion, prevention, and treatment.


IPH is part of the Swiss School of Public Health - SSPH+. The SSPH+ is the national coordination platform for the promotion of advanced university education and research in public health. It brings together researchers active in twelve universities: USI, Basel, Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Zurich, BFH, SUPSI and ZHAW. Learn more.

About USI

Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) is one of twelve public universities in the Swiss academic system, coordinated by swissuniversities. A total of 3'350 students and 1'000 professors, lecturers and researchers interact every day on its four campuses in Lugano, Mendrisio and Bellinzona, with 100 countries represented, and over 10'000 graduates working all over the globe. It receives competitive research funding of CHF 20 million per year and is fully integrated into the Swiss academic system, one of the best in the world. It ranks 20th in the world among small universities according to Times Higher Education and is among the top 300 overall in both the Times Higher Education and QS rankings. More on