BiographyLet's introduce myself briefly. I was born in a small city in the gently rolling hills north of Venice, Italy, on August 5th, 1954.
Life was full of excitement, light and promises both in the years devoted to classical studies, with close friends and brilliant teachers, and my intense medical training, when my passion for medicine was blessed with the deep feeling that this was to be just the right vocation for me.
I loved working at the department of Gynaecological Oncology. This gave me the deepest insights into this challenging and beautiful life-centered profession. I learned a lot from my unfortunate patients. We shared affectionate talks, especially during voluntary duty late in the evening or at night when nobody else was around in the ward and the real life of a patient comes through: the family at home, children missing their mum, the fear of dying and a different sense of what matters in life. Many of them were very young with premature menopause due to radical surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. Their sense of femininity and personal sexual life were devastated by the aggressive treatments required and yet they still desperately struggled on.
My patient-centered perspective in medicine was shaped in those nights of listening and sharing, and my two key areas of expertise, sexual medicine and menopause, were formed there. Yet, apart from encouraging my patients, I felt I had no medical answers to ease their emotional and sexual pain. This is why, in parallel to my oncological studies, I trained for five years in psychotherapy.
After leaving the University, I kept on studying and working in public hospitals and family planning clinics. I started being invited to small meetings. Step by step, my professional and personal life took on a different pace. Challenges honed my talents and strengthened my passion for medicine, now stronger than ever before.
I enjoy my daily practice with my patients and the endless learning and sharing of emotions and meaning they bless me with. I enjoy lecturing, and I do it intensely, especially abroad. I like writing about clinical issues for scientific journals and books. I am also a regular columnist in Italian newspapers and magazines on women’s health and sexual medicine. Writing is a silent pleasure that gives me a lot of joy.
As a teacher and trainer, I try to convey to Colleagues my passion for empathic and rigorous clinical attention to pain and its comorbidities, committing myself at national and international level. To help women even more concretely and to contribute in a more structured way to the culture and clinical training on pain, I founded the Alessandra Graziottin Foundation for the cure and care of pain in women NPO in 2008.
I live in Milan in a colourful house with a quiet roof garden full of flowers: gardening makes me smile. I adore riding and dancing. I love the mountains in winter, the snow and the deep silence. Walking or riding in the woods relaxes and energizes me deeply.
I love the long sunsets during overseas flights. The place of my soul is a secluded, poetic home on the Island of Elba, off the coast of Tuscany: a perfect place for thinking, dreaming and reading. Last but not least, I am charmed by my tender Brando and Sibilla, known as Biki ans Sibi, two sweet kittens abandoned by someone and promptly adopted by me.
My emotional life is blessed with the endless love and support of my family and close friends. And nourished and inspired by the intense dialogue with my patients.
"Courage" is my favourite word.