Matilde Leonardi, M.D.

Neurologist, pediatrician,child neurologist, expert in bioethics

Carlo Besta Neurological Institute IRCCS Foundation, Milan, Italy

Matilde Leonardi is a medical doctor specialized in neurology, pediatrics, neonatology, child neurology, holder of a certificate in advanced Bioethics. She currently works in the Scientific Department of the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute in Milan, where she is Head of the Neurology, Public health and Disability Unit, and Scientific Director of the Coma Research Centre. Her main duties relate to the developing and carrying out research projects related to neurology, disability, ageing, public health, ICF (WHO’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) and burden of neurological disorders. WHO and EU liaison for Besta Institute. WHO staff member in Geneva from 1991 to 1995, she has been cooperating with WHO at various levels ever since. She is an expert member of the WHO-FIC (Family of International Classifications) Functioning and Disability Reference Group and Director of the Italian WHO Collaborating Centre Research Branch. Since 1996, she has been working with the World Health Organization on the revision of the International Classification of Impairment, Disability and Handicap (ICIDH), to the final International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Co-chair of the WHO ICF children’s group, which has developed the ICF-CY children’s version. Editor of the Italian versions of ICF and ICF-CY.

Co-ordinator of several research projects, EU- and non EU-funded: PATHWAYS (contributes to the Development of innovative approaches to promote the professional integration and reintegration of people with chronic diseases and improve their employability.; MHADIE (Measuring Health and Disability in Europe: supporting policy development; MURINET (Multidisciplinary Research Network on Health and Disability in Europe; COURAGE in Europe (Collaborative Research on AGEing in Europe), a population survey on 12,000 people in Spain, Poland, Finland on disability determinants in ageing. Partner in several EU and non EU-funded projects (RICHE, PARADISE, MARATONE), on burden of neurological disorders, ageing, child health research, disorders of consciousness and public health impact of DIS-AGE (Disability and Ageing).

Among other projects, coordinator of Functioning and Disability in Vegetative State and Minimal Conscience State national survey, funded by the Italian Ministry of Health, done in 78 Italian centres and with 39 associations of families of patients in VS and MCS in 19 Italian regions, that collected a sample of 602 DOC patients.  Her main research interests, and grants applications,  are on health and disability policies and has a deep interest in the translational facets of scientific research and the effects of research on health, disability, ageing and welfare policies.

From 2008 to 2010 member of the Study Group on Vegetative State and Minimal Consciousness of the Italian Ministry of Labour and Welfare.

Expert for the European Commission (DG Research, DG Justice, DG SANCO) on public health, ageing, disability and neurosciences and a member of several International Scientific Organizations in the fields of Neurology and Rehabilitation and for WHO- EURO, WPRO and HQ.

Author of more than 250 papers in the fields of neurology, disability, ageing, child neurology and public health.

Founder and member of international and Italian Neurological patients’ NGOs. Professor on annual contracts of Neuropsychiatric Aspects of Disability and member of the Board of Directors of the Bioethic Centre at the Catholic University of Milan.

In December 2010 appointed by the Italian Governement as President of the Scientific Committee of the National Observatory on Disability, monitoring UNCRPD. In November 2011 appointed as corresponding member of the Pontificia Academia ProVita.