Dario Fortin


The Italian academic research in the field of social health education is still in its infancy. Indeed, the basic education of Social Health Educators in Italy passed from regional schools to Universities only fithteen years ago.
The new bachelor’s degree has allowed Italian educators to participate actively in the process of “globalization” of education, research and of the professions.

This acknowledgment, however, involves the risk of transmitting an excessively theoretical knowledge, as a natural consequence of the traditional education offered by Italian Universities. We have seen in our own region (Trentino), that in social health education, besides the theoretical scientific-technical part, it is necessary to develop self-knowledge and awareness of personal characteristics, resources and limits. It is essential, indeed, to be able to achieve an important competence which is particularly required by the job market, i.e. the relational competence. 

The opportunity of carrying out research and awareness-raising projects concerning relational competencies is particularly interesting for the University of Trento, which has recently set up, being one of the first in Italy, a specific research unit in methodology and organization of the social health profession. Also the extensive experiences in the field of social and health education in our area should be better valued by the academic world, with the development of innovative research methods constantly related to the national and international situation. Our local area and first of all the Autonomous Province of Trento require, indeed, professionals who are flexible and able to connect two sectors that have historically operated in a separate way (social-health) and who are able to faithfully interpret a continuously changing environment, also considered the global economic crisis which is severely affecting the social and work situation and the health of citizens.

Research directions

The aim of the project is to start an action-research process for Social Health Education in support of experiential and phenomenological intervention methodologies which are open and flexible to the needs of the territory.
The research project wants to integrate, also by comparing contents and methodologies used by social health educators, teachers, researchers and experts, the acquisition of knowledge concerning the results of application of the fundamental levels of competencies which refer to the following classes of learning objectives:

  • Intellectual objectives (area of “knowledge” –theoretical level): identifying the main information concerning the object of study (literature, subject, group, territory) and the corresponding research strategies; 
  • Emotional objectives (area of the “to know how to be” –experiential level of personal growth): enhancement, improvement and phenomenological application of personal, relational and communicative educational competencies;
  • Operational objectives (area of the “to know how to do” –practical-experiential level): testing of specific professional competencies within structured working realities, aiming at knowing “how to make somebody do something”. 

Moreover, thanks to its innovative processes and products, the project also aims at achieving:

  • Communicative objectives (area of the “to know how to talk” –cultural level): offering examples of awareness-raising initiatives that can be reproduced and transferred to other contexts also thanks to scientific and cultural dissemination.

Internal collaborations

Marco Dallari, Direttore Laboratorio di Comunicazione e Narratività 
Giuseppina Gottardi, docente a contratto
Roberto Gris, post-doc, docente a contratto

External collaborations

Alberto Zucconi, IACP -Istituto dell’Approccio Centrato sulla Persona – Roma – IT
Antonio Samà, CCCU Canterbury Christ Church University– Canterbury-UK
Armando Zappolini, CNCA Coordinamento Nazionale Comunità di Accoglienza – Roma -IT
Enrico Granieri, Università di Ferrara - IT
Juliet Koprovska, University of York – York - UK
Giuseppe Crisafulli, IACP Istituto dell’Approccio Centrato sulla Persona – Messina – IT
Maria Grazia Venturini, ANEP Associazione Nazionale Educatori Professionali – IT
Nicu Sebe, Dipartimento di Ingegneria e Scienza dell'Informazione DISI - Trento – IT

Selected publications

  • Fortin Dario; Gottardi Giuseppina, "The Person Centred Approach in Trentino: from its introduction by the Jesuits to today’s Social Health Educators" in JESUIT HIGHER EDUCATION, v. 6, n. 2 (in press). 
  • Fortin, Dario, "Decisioni person-centered in Educazione professionale" in Crisafulli, Francesco (a cura di), E.P. Educatore Professionale. Competenze, formazione e ricerca, strumenti e metodologie, Santarcangelo di Romagna (RN): Maggioli Editore, 2016, p. 217-242. - (Lavoro di cura e comunità). 
  • D. Fortin, G. Crisafulli, G. Gottardi, R. Gris, "Il Q-SHEL (Social Health Education Learning). Uno strumento di valutazione del Concetto di Sé nelle professioni di aiuto" in DA PERSONA A PERSONA, n.s., v. Maggio 2015, (2015), p. 41-50 
  • D. Fortin (a cura di), "Dall'obiezione di coscienza al servizio civile universale", di Riccardo Bonacina, Marco Dallari, Johnny Dotti, Dario Fortin, Giampiero Girardi, Emanuele Rossi, Livio Passalacqua, Pompeo Viganò, Trento: Il Margine, 2014, 237 p. 
  • Fortin, D., "Educational interventions for people with social and health difficulties in Italy : the case of a “welcoming community” for young and adults" in EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK, v. 18, n. 3 (2014), p. 443-465. 
  • Fortin D., "A fianco degli esclusi. Il cammino trentennale del CNCA" in AGGIORNAMENTI SOCIALI, v. 2013, n. 12/64 (2013), p. 845-855. 
  • Fortin D., "Exploring social work in Italy: the case of university training of ‘Social health educators’" in SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION, v. 32, n. 1 (2013), p. 17-38. - URL: 
  • Fortin D., F. Colombo (a cura di), "Sentire sicurezza nel tempo delle paure", Milano: Franco Angeli, 2011, 318 p. - (Politiche e servizi sociali).
  • Fortin D., "University education of the social health educator in Italy between temptations and opportunities." in HRVATSKA REVIJA ZA REHABILITACIJSKA ISTRAžIVANJA, v. vol. 46, n. no. 2 (2010), p. 102-115. - 
  • Barnao C., Fortin D. (a cura di), "Accoglienza e autorità nella relazione educativa. Riflessioni multidisciplinari", Trento: Erickson, 2009, 340 p.


Further information can be found at the following webpage: Explorans - Educazione professionale e Formazione