The Fondazione Toscana Gabriele Monasterio was established on 15 May 2007 at the behest of the CNR and the Region of Tuscany, under the leadership of Professor Luigi Donato, then Director of the CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology.
His idea was crystal clear right from the start:
«The central focus must be humans with their illnesses: science at the service of medicine, everything starting from and returning to humans and their problems. Making appropriate use of the most advanced medical technology in the field of diagnosis and treatment of heart disease: technology is only worthwhile if and insofar as the doctor using it is able to master it, and if they are surrounded by physicists, engineers and chemists who are able to ensure that it works at the highest level».
Eternally grateful to his mentor, Professor Donato did nothing more than translate Gabriele Monasterio’s words into deeds – after whom he named the Foundation in implementation of his idea of care.
«Reconciling the need for unity of clinical medicine with the need for rational scientific investigation, up-to-date and more effective teaching, and care appropriate to the current possibilities of diagnosis and treatment, is the most difficult problem facing the medical clinician today. In order to give clinical science, to the greatest and most worthwhile extent, the character of biological science, which is inherent to it, enabling it to progress at the pace of the other sciences, we must in fact try to reduce the growing gap that has been established between it and the basic and technological sciences»
Donato wrote this in the introduction to the report on the first decade of activity of the Pisa Medical Clinic he directed, rigorously quoting Professor Monasterio. He comments: «This is the fundamental message, the key to the appeal of Gabriele Monasterio for so many generations of doctors and students. The need for the unity of clinical practice, the call for a united approach to the problem of the sick patient who cannot be fragmented into their organs and pathologies, but at the same time the need to reconcile this with the need for a rational scientific investigation, which has to be specialised, but which cannot see individual organs and functions in isolation. “Updated and effective teaching”: this was one of the most wonderful and important constants of the Professor’s work, which he pursued with the greatest determination, along with the development of the quality of care and the evolution of the means of diagnosis and treatment. This need not to stop, to continuously adapt diagnosis and treatment to the evolution of the scientific process, has been another perennial driving force in Monasterio’s work. But, for us young people, one of the most fascinating aspects of his personality was also his ability to make us see clinical medicine as a biological science, to trace it back to the measurement of the biology of living systems, without ever forgetting that man, with all his psychological, moral, social complexity, is anchored in this biological system».
Today, the Monasterio Foundation is an internationally known and highly regarded organisation, which continues to carry on the ideas, values and core principles of Professor Donato’s teaching and that of Professor Monasterio before him. Engineers, chemists, physicists, biologists, technicians – science – are at the service of medicine: a well-oiled machine whose gears click into place at the right time. The problems of humans themselves, with their psychological, moral and social complexity, are at the heart of the machine, which is none other than the multidisciplinary heart that has been beating within the Gabriele Monasterio Foundation for 14 years.