Presentation of the fourth edition: fair access to treatment, prevention, and therapeutic innovation.
Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine and Fondazione Mondo Digitale presented the fourth edition of Factor J, today. Project Factor J aims to raise the awareness of young people on the value of scientific progress for everyone's health, well-being, and quality of life. There are numerous new features this year: the importance of prevention, therapeutic innovation, and equal access to care, to present the value of science, the challenges of the healthcare system, and the opportunities of the medicine of the future, thanks also to the drive imparted by artificial intelligence. According to recent studies, Italy ranks very low in terms of Health Literacy: 31% of citizens declare they have difficulty understanding health information, compared to a 23% average for European countries.
However, young people are very interested in their health. According to research conducted by the Milan Polytechnic for Factor J on 460 students aged 14-20 in participating schools the, almost 50% identify research and health as priority issues for society, considered more relevant than issues such as the ecological transition, digitalisation, competitiveness, and culture (which stop at 21.6% and 15.9% respectively). The students demonstrate not only confidence and interest in the challenges of science, but also believe that the medicine of the future will have to be technologically advanced to provide increasingly personalized and effective solutions. It will also be necessary to promote "proximity" assistance, to guarantee a fairer access to care and an adequate presence of specialists and health workers.
With the aim of listening to young people and their needs, the 2023-24 edition of Factor J focuses on areas in which prevention plays a central role to promote health from a young age, such as oncology, with particular attention to lung cancer, HIV and mental health, a topic that is increasing in importance for the new generations.
Over 300 thousand students will be reached in six key regions with five institutional partners, three universities and 18 patient and civil society associations. These are just some of the numbers of an initiative that intends to promote the Health is Everything concept amongst the new generations.
Factor J provides training activities for high school and university students through webinars with the participation of experts, doctors, patient associations and J&J volunteers. The goal is to reach 5000 students during the school year.
Among the novelties of this edition, students will have the opportunity to become "actors of change" through PCTO courses at partner associations. This will allow students to come into direct contact with the assistance needs of people suffering from pathologies and promote a sense of inclusion and the creation of shared value.
The presentation event at the Rome Campus Bio-Medico University, the project scientific partner, featured various institutional speakers and patient associations: Eugenio Guglielmelli, Rector of the Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome; the Hon. Ylenja Lucaselli, Coordinator of the Fifth Permanent Commission (Budget, Treasury and Planning); Sara Ramella, Deputy Rector for Integration and Social Impact, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome; Tonino Aceti, founder and President, Salutequità; Anna Lisa Mandorino, Secretary General, Cittadinanzattiva APS; and Alessandro Pernigo, Vice-president, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome.
Video messages were sent by Senator Giusy Versace, Vice-president of the VII Permanent Commission (Culture and Cultural heritage, Public Education) and member of the Parliamentary Commission for Children and Adolescents; Giuseppe Schiboni, Councillor for Labour, University, School, Training, Research, and Merit, Lazio Region. Also present in the audience were representatives of partner patient associations: Stefania Vallone, Walce; Giovanna Dragonetti and Andrea Garzia, Progetto Itaca.
This year, the associations involved in the fourth edition of Factor J, include: Walce, Progetto Itaca, Fondazione Onda, NPS Italia, Lila Milano, Cittadinanzattiva. In total, twenty patient and civil society associations have been involved over the years.
“With Factor J we contribute to raising greater awareness amongst students of the importance of health, of the value of innovation in therapy, and the possibility that they themselves can pave the way towards the medicine of tomorrow, exploiting technology and intelligence artificial in particular,” underlined Alessandra Baldini, Director of Medical Affairs at J&J, the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company.
The new edition of Factor J will involve mixed groups of high school and university students in a new creative Health Bot contest, to design and develop robotic and artificial intelligence solutions for health, which will be presented during RomeCup2024, the annual event dedicated to robotics and artificial intelligence that connects schools, research centres, universities, companies and institutions. Students will be able to enjoy the support of J&J innovation and AI experts, who will help them develop their projects both during on-site meetings at the new Milan headquarters and via webinars.
“After four years, Project Factor J is supported by a multi-sector network capable of meeting the requests of youth, who have always been our targets and interlocutors. Thanks to our meetings, we have understood that priorities include raising awareness and attention on prevention, taking care of oneself and others, and encouraging a conscious and constructive attitude towards disease. This is why the training is reinforced, year after year, and the opportunities for discussion increase, as do the reviews that are part of the project programme,” declared Mirta Michilli, Director General, Fondazione Mondo Digitale.