The Tordesilhas Group, an academic network of universities in Brazil, Portugal and Spain for the promotion of cooperation in science and technology, just inaugurated a discipline of Living and Suffering Medicalization: A Clinical Health Problem. Coordinated by the director of the International Academia of the Universidad Miguel Hernández (UMH), Prof. Maria Pastor, the discipline inaugurates an international collaboration in graduate education, as part of the Tordesilhas Academic Network for Public Health and History of Science.

As a strategy for promoting science and technology, the Tordesilhas Group, which gathers over 70 universities in Brazil, Portugal and Spain – works with the so called thematic colleges, the Tordesilhas Academic Network for Public Health and History of Science being one of these initiatives. Created in 2017 under the coordination of UMH, the initiative involves FMUSP, the Public Health School (FSP) of USP, besides the medical schools from the Universidade do Porto and UMH itself.

“The medicalization of the society, with the control of the vital processes, the everyday suffering and behaviors, have been an object of increasing interest among patients, health professionals and social sciences. The technology and diagnostic tests have been occupying a central position at the clinical activity, being often replaced by clinical hearing. We stop listening to the patient, so we can prognoses the diagnostic culture. The growing use of diagnostic tests has often been incorporated in the usual clinical practice by health professionals with scarce formation for a critical reading of their limitations”, states the professor.

According to Maria Pastor, “not all of the diagnostic tests or procedures used in the clinical practice have diagnostic validity, increasing the risk of incorrect or unnecessary diagnosis, leading to the excessive use of health services, excessive treatment and adverse effects. On the other hand, the industry wants to guarantee profit and establish a specific global public health agenda, influencing through lobbies every other public sphere”, she says.

The course was given at the School of Public Health from September 10th to October 3rd, with the participation of Professors from FMUSP, FSP-USP, the University of Porto and UMH. Among the lecturers are great names of the Public Health and History of Science field, such as, Henrique Barros, Carlos Monteiro, Ildefonso Hernández, Mario Scheffer, Simone Diniz, Alicia Matijasevich, Ana Paula Botoletto, Wolney Conde, Cristina Marques, Rosana Machin, Danilo Borges Paulino, Enrique Perdiguero, Blanca Lumbreras, Lucy Parker,  Abel Novoa, Elisa Chilet and Maria Pastor.

According to the director of the International Academic Network of UMH, they count on their own occasional resources from the participating institutions, besides funding sources of Santander Bank and the Fundación Carolina from the Education Ministry of Spain. “Meaning to amplify this initiative, an academic accord was signed, although still without destination of resources, among UMH and FAPESP, aiming the bilateral co-funding of research projects. Another possible cooperation will be through the PRINT-CAPES, in preliminary negotiation”, said the professor.

Recently, professor Mario Scheffer, of the Preventive Medicine Department of FMUSP, has also taken part on academic activities in Spain, intermediated by the Academic Network Tordesilhas, and he highlights the importance of the initiative. “Spain has studies on medical demography, which is one of my research interests here in Brazil. It has an exemplary public health system, like other European countries, and I believe this proximity brings a mutual learning perspective, very relevant for these countries”, said the professor.