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

Epidemiol Prev. 2020 Sep-Dec;44(5-6 Suppl 1):179-184. doi: 10.19191/EP20.5-6.S1.P179.088.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Earthquakes*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Morbidity
  • Retrospective Studies