Bioethics, Public Health, and Infectious Global Health Threats

From 8 July 2019 to 12 July 2019 beginning at 9:00 till 18:30 at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum

The 18th International Summer Course in Bioethics will take place from July 8 to 12, 2019 at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum at Via degli Aldobrandeschi 190 00165 Rome, Italy.

(Note: From July 1 to 5 there is a Summer Cours on Introduction to Bioethics).

The course, entitled Bioethics, Public Health, and Infectious Global Health Threats, is organized by the School of Bioethics with the collaboration of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights established at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and with the Università Europea di Roma.

The course will be offered in English and Italian.

The summer course is one of the elective courses of the Licentiate in Bioethics and is valid for 3 ECTS credits. At the end of the course students who require the European credits ECTS take an evaluation test. Registration Deadline: July 8, 2019


Why this subject?

The lack of conceptual moral clarity in global health issues leads to indecision in real-life questions and hinders effective collective actions. Before the 2016 outbreak of Zika, there was the 2014 outbreak of Ebola, the 2009 outbreak of H1N1, the 2003 outbreak of SARS and the 1970s outbreak of AIDS. The need for a clearly understood and a widely accepted ethical course of action in dealing with serious infectious global health threats has been repeatedly underscored.


Who should attend?

The course is open to all, but is of special interest for humanitarian aid workers (including those working with migrants); physicians, epidemiologists, health care workers, administrators, and managers; educators and professors; priests, religious, catechists and other pastoral agents; lawyers and jurists; law and policymakers; journalists, communicators and sociologists, as well as those who are interested in the cultural and social dynamics of our globalized world and wish to have informed criteria on cutting-edge global, bioethical, and social issues related to public health questions of international concern.


What will you learn?

The course offers an interdisciplinary study of infectious global health threats to better understand the challenges, the stakeholders, the laws, and policies applicable in this particular state of affairs. Participants will acquire the knowledge and skills to make an ethical assessment of infectious global health threats, in a way that takes into consideration the main stakeholders involved, as well as their different degrees of responsibilities. In addition, participants will be able to apply their knowledge and skills professionally in the fields of medicine, health care, humanitarian assistance, global affairs, politics, law, sociology, communication, and education.

The course is structured around the following question: How should we allocate different responsibilities among different stakeholders in order to facilitate political decision and law-making processes addressing infectious global health threats?


How is this taught?

The course is structured in lectures, Q&A sessions, seminars, film discussions, and interactive group activities. Professors of the School of Bioethics and other experts will participate as speakers and moderators of group dynamics.


Course Directors

Prof. Francisco Ballesta LC / Prof. Alberto García


For further info: [email protected]


Complete Schedule 


Academic Goals of the Lectures

Knowledge and Skills


Day Schedule Topic Speaker Knowledge Skills
Mapping the field

July 8

8:30-9:00 Registration
9:00-9:30 Welcome and Introduction to the Summer Course. Gonzalo Miranda (APRA)

Francisco José Ballesta (APRA)

Faculty presentation and presentation of the course: objectives, general structure and learning outcomes. Learning attitude. Proactive participation. Enjoy Rome.
9:30-10:00 Clarifying terminology. Louis Melhan (APRA) Basic biology. Why infectious? Why global? Why a health threat? The student will be prepared to understand the following themes and explanations.
10:00-11:15 The Infectious Global Health Threats in the past I (Antiquity to S. XVI). Andrea Grignolino (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University Milan)


Description of the most important Infective Diseases in human history. The facts.  The attitudes. The measures of control. The definitive solutions. The students will understand common points and differences between the past and the present times.
11:30-13:00 Idem II (S. XVI to S. XX).  Idem Idem Idem
15:00-16:30 Present Infectious Global Health Threats: Haemorrhagic fevers I Giuseppe Ippolito (INMI, Rome) Medical description (aetiology, transmission, symptoms,  evolution and  prognosis, treatment…) and epidemiological record   (endemic sites, outbreaks…): Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus disease, Marburg virus, Lassa fever, Rift Valley fever, other Adenavirus, SFTS virus. The students will understand the diseases, dangers, prevention measures, significant outbreaks and reactions.
17:00-18:30  Haemorrhagic fevers II. Idem Idem Idem

July 09

9:00-10:00 Present Infectious Global Health Threats: Respiratory Diseases I. Giovanni Rezza (ISS, Rome)


Medical description and epidemiological record of: MERS-CoV, SARS, Influenza. The students will understand the diseases, dangers, prevention measures, significant outbreaks and reactions.
10:00-11:00 Respiratory Diseases II.  Idem Idem Idem
11:30-13:00 Present Infectious Global Health Threats: Other Diseases Idem Medical description and epidemiological record of: Nipah and Hendra virus, Zika virus, Chikungunya, Monkeypox, Smallpox, Leptospirosis, Dengue fever, Yellow fever, West Nile virus, Cholera, Leishmaniasis, Tularaemia, Meningitis, TB… Idem
15:00-16:30 AIDS I Stefano Vella (AIFA, Rome)


Medical aspects (aetiology, clinical, treatment, prognosis…) from the outbreak to the present. Future previsions. The students will understand the disease, dangers and evolution over the time.
17:00-18:30 AIDS II Idem Epidemiological aspects (diffusion, prevention, statistics…) from the outbreak to the present and future previsions. The students will understand the contagion, important prevention measures, important outbreaks, reactions and the future epidemic previsions measures.
International approach

July 10

9:00-11:00 WHO I Alberto García (APRA)

Caterina Milo

(Durham Law School)


International Health Regulations (2005). Disease Outbreak News (DONs), Global Outbreak Alert and response Network (GOARN). Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines (GAP)… The students will understand WHO Programs and the evolution of international collaboration.


11:30-13:00 WHO II Idem Idem Idem
Understanding the stakeholders
15:00-18:30 Cineforum Massimo Losito (APRA) The students will have a first approach to the stakeholders. Initial reflexions about the stakeholder responsibility.

July 11

9:00-10:00 Patients and general population Francisco José Ballesta (APRA) Ethical implications and personal responsibilities of patients and population. The students will understand: the patient status (feelings…), rights (treatment, palliative care…), obligations (protection of others, contribution if survives); Population status (fears, risks, reactions, moral conflicts…) and duties (cure of patients, prevention measures…).
10:00-11:00 Health-care workers Ma Luisa Di Pietro (Policlinico Gemelli, Rome) Ethical implications and personal responsibilities of health care workers. The students will understand the health care workers status and professional deontological aspects.
11:30-12:15 Hospitals and health-care institutions Antonio G. De Belvis (Policlinico Gemelli, Rome) Ethical implications and responsibilities of hospitals and health care institutions. The students will understand: the hospital and health care institutions status and responsibilities.
12:15-13:00 International Pharmaceutical Corporations. Stefano Vella (AIFA, Rome) Ethical implications and responsibilities of pharmaceutical transnational corporations. The students will understand: the pharmaceutical transnational corporation status, responsibilities (investment in research for vaccines and drugs, free drugs and vaccinations offer…), conflicts of interest…
15:00-17:00 Roundtable Joseph Tham (APRA)


Ebola Congo.-  Chiara Montaldo (Doctors without borders)

Ebola  Serra Leone.- Giampietro Pellizzer (Medici con l’Africa CUAMM, Padova)

SARS.- Peter Au Yeung (Hong Kong)

The students will integrate theoretical knowledge and testimony.
17:30-18:30 Group activity David Joyce (APRA) Vaccination debate. Threat of Global Infection.- Migration and Side Effects. The student’s will reflect about related problems.

July 12

9:00-10:15 National governments. Public Health Frameworks for National Surveillance.


Carlo Petrini (ISS, Rome) The ethical responsibilities of national governments. The students will understand: the National governments status related to the outbreaks control; the justification, or not, of the possible counter measures (migration control, detection and confinement of suspected cases, legal intervention…)
10:30-11:45 The international NGOs Silvia Mancini (Doctors without borders) The role of international NGOs


The students will understand the role of international NGOs. Possibilities and limitations. Relevant problems. Significant contributions.
12:00-13:00 The Church Involvement Robert Vitillo (Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the UN in Geneva) The Church’s contribution. The students will know the Church’s contribution. Possibilities and limitations. Significant examples.
15:00-16:00 Course Summary
16:00-17:00 Personal Study
17:30-18:30 Course Exam


Come arrivare: Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum


Tuition Fees

Payment can be made in the following ways:

Standard fee One week €350
Both weeks €600
Special fee:

Priests, religious, students in bioethics, students of ISSR, alumni of APRA, doctoral students in bioethics.

Groups of 6 or more*.

One week €275
Both weeks €450

*Group registration is to be done by the person in charge of the group. The one in charge should:

  1. Submit a presentation letter for the group to the general secretary of the Ateneo, containing the names of all the members and the required documentation (registration form, ID, etc.) for each member.
  2. Pay the all the members’ fees at one time.

Scholarship application for university students

Students can apply to attend one or both weeks of the summer course, please specify the preferences in the application.  Applicants will be selected based on academic excellence and personal interest in the subjects.

Thank you to the Family Farrel Foundation.


For lodging close to the Athenaeum, please contact:



The university has an internal restaurant.



For Applying fulfill and send this

Sign up for our Newsletter