Faces and stories of the USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences: Claudia Gamondi
Institutional Communication Service
20 July 2020
Among the many that will welcome the students of the new USI Master of Medicine in September we find Claudia Gamondi, head of the Palliative Care and Support Clinic at the Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera italiana, and lecturer at USI. Together with her, we will explore not only her professional career but also the importance of communication with patients.
Claudia Gamondi graduated in medicine and surgery in 1996, with a specialisation in medical oncology obtained in 2000 at the University of Pavia. In 2013, she obtained a Master's degree in palliative medicine from the University of Bristol, and in 2016 she obtained an ISFM/FMH diploma in palliative medicine. After working as a medical assistant trainee at the Palliative Care Service of the Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera italiana (IOSI), her career path continued in Biella (Italy), England, Lausanne - where since 2014 she holds a clinical and research position at the Palliative Care Support Service at the CHUV - and Ticino - where in 2019 she took on the role of Head of the Palliative Care Clinic and Support at the IOSI. In 2020, she is appointed lecturer at the USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences.
As a medical student Claudia remembers in particular the graduation ceremony, and the moment of the reading of the Hippocratic Oath: "Our Rector made us stand up and say out loud 'I swear'. At that moment we all giggled and, young as we were, we didn't give too much importance to the event, and moved on to the aperitif. Thinking today about how many times I went to read that oath again, reflecting on it, pondering it and measuring my actions as a doctor against the words of Hippocrates, I think it was right of the Rector to make us swear out loud, the same way that it was right, for us too, to raise our glasses of prosecco for a toast", says Gamondi.
Teaching is part of Claudia's professional career, with teaching activities in Lausanne, Ticino (at USI and SUPSI), and other universities and vocational schools in Switzerland. Dialogue with the students is a fundamental part of the classroom lectures: "For me, teaching is not only about conveying what I know to my students, it is also about learning from the others and creating a space where students can also be teachers. The human being grows only by learning from oneself, from others, from one's surroundings. The privilege of teaching (and learning by teaching) is immense," explains Gamondi.
Claudia Gamondi is President of SwissEduc (training unit of palliative ch) and was also a member of the committee of palliative ch (Swiss Society of Medicine and Palliative Care) for over ten years.
Communication and proximity with the patient is always central and in her field, which leads her to face difficult stories and difficult paths on a daily basis, becomes perhaps even more fundamental. "Communication in medicine is crucial - continues Gamondi - and is, together with the required technical skills, an essential competence for a human, empathic, realistic and focused on the objectives and needs of the patient". In this sense, she invites her students to train thoroughly in communication, through role-plays, specific courses, exchanges with colleagues and tutors. "Especially in this pandemic era, made of isolation, Zoom meetings, masks - she continues - I like to quote Priestley who reminds us that 'the more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate'".
Gamondi lives in the Malcantone region of Ticino and invites students to discover the wonders of this area starting from the woods, for example with the walk along the Sentiero delle Meraviglie di Novaggio or the Sentieri dei Filosofi in Cademario, but without forgetting the lake, which she explores by kayak from the lido of Agno. She also loves to go to exhibitions, shows and concerts offered by the LAC cultural centre in Lugano, not far from the classrooms of the future students of USI.