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IBRO GLOBAL ADVOCACY INITIATIVE

A public brain awareness fair organized in Montevideo, Uruguay, by 2015 IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant awardee, la
Sociedad de Neurociencias del Uruguay.

2016

REVIEW

The IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant


activities in 2016 further highlighted the
critical importance o f this joint initiative.

The second round of seed grant


applications in 2016 showed increased
interest with a higher submission rate.

FOUNDING PARTNERS

Those awarded the first global advocacy


seed grants in 2015 will have completed
their activities by the end of 2016. Most
awardees have already successfully
concluded their events.

There were a total of 64 applications, over a


15% increase from last year. A slight drop in
submissions occurred in the African region
but both the Asia/Pacific and Latin
American regions experienced significant
increases.

Australasian Neuroscience
Society (ANS)

Dana Foundation

Federation of European
Neuroscience Societies
(FENS)

International Society for
Neurochemistry (ISN)

Japan Neuroscience
Society (JNS)

Society for Neuroscience
(SfN)

Since the launch of activities in 2014, the IBRO Global Advocacy


Initiative aims to increase public awareness of brain research and build
support for neuroscience research, informed policymaking, training and
education around the world.

Events have ranged from stakeholder


forums, scientific meetings, symposia,
public lectures, press conferences, national
campaigns, website development, virtual
conferences, courses, poster sessions and
Brain Awareness Week activities.
They are taking place in 11 different
countries in the African, Asia/Pacific and
Latin American regions: Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, Egypt, India, Japan, Malaysia,
Mongolia, Nigeria, South Africa and
Uruguay.

Notably, the Latin American region


received several high quality applications
and was awarded six grants (although with
lower overall funding per grant). The
African and Asia/Pacific regions were
awarded four grants each.
Events will take place in 13 different
countries in 2016/17: Argentina, Brazil,
Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Peru, Puerto Rico, South Africa,
Somaliland and Sri Lanka.

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IBRO 255 rue Saint-Honor 75007 Paris France Tel: + 33 (0)1 46 47 92 92 Email: ibrocentral@gmail.com Web: www.ibro.info

IBRO GLOBAL ADVOCACY INITIATIVE

Advocacy event at the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, organized by 2015 IBRO
Global Advocacy Seed Grant a wardee, Mongolian Neuroscience Society.

BUDGET SUMMARY
Expenses in 2015/16, covered a total of 11 seed grants of 5,000 each for an overall expenditure of
55,000. Four grants each were awarded to the Latin American and Asia/Pacific regions and three to
the African region.
For the year 2016/17, a total of 14 seed grants were awarded. Six grants of 3,300 each were
distributed to Latin America and four grants each (5,000 per grant) were awarded to the African and
Asia/Pacific regions, with an overall expenditure of 59,800.
Funding for activities supported by the IBRO Global Advocacy Initiative since 2014 has come from
generous contributions made by IBRO, the Dana Foundation, the Federation of European
Neuroscience Societies (FENS), the International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN), the Japan
Neuroscience Society (JNS) and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).

REVIEW PROCESS
Reviews and rankings of the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant applications are made by the IBRO
African (IBRO-ARC), Asia/Pacific (IBRO-APRC) and Latin American Regional (IBRO-LARC)
Committees. Next year, the Pan-European Regional Committee (IBRO-PERC) will also be involved in
submission reviews for the European applicants.
After proposals have been evaluated and ranked by the appropriate regional committees, they are
then sent to a super reviewer who makes a final evaluation. For the past two years, the super reviewer
has been the IBRO Secretary General. Once he or she completes the final assessment, the awardees
are then officially reported to the members of the IBRO Global Advocacy Committee.
Review rankings for 2016/17:
Africa: Out of 18 total applications, 7 were ineligible, 7 were average and 4 were considered excellent.
Asia/Pacific: Out of 27 total applications, 5 were ineligible, 18 were average/above average and 4 were
considered excellent.
Latin America: Out of 21 total applications, 4 were ineligible, 11 average and 6 were considered
excellent.

IBRO GLOBAL ADVOCACY INITIATIVE


2015/16 REPORTS
AFRICA
Three global advocacy seed grants of 5,000 each were awarded to the Africa region in 2015.
EGYPT: Tamer Emara, Ain Shams University, Cairo
Tamer Emara, Associate Professor of Neurology and Head of the Teleneurology Unit at Ain Shams
University, used the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant to organize the Arab African Teleneurology
Conference: A Treat and Teach Initiative. It was the first of its kind at the regional level and was designed
to develop short- and intermediate-term strategies to increase numbers of trained neurologists and
neurology education programs in the region with a mix of online education and on-site clinical training.
It successfully facilitated networking between regional and international centers of excellence, scholars
and patients, and complemented current efforts to improve neurology education and practice. The
efforts made were part of an overall plan to establish higher education programs and relationships that
might lead to national neuroscience services run by local professionals.
Link: http://atnc.asu.edu.eg/
NIGERIA: Owolabi Joshua, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo
Owolabi Joshua, Lecturer in the Anatomy Department at Babcock University, used the IBRO Global
Advocacy Seed Grant to support the ongoing Nigeria Brain Advocacy Program at Babcock University.
Activities carried out included a radio program series, BrainHealth and BrainPower, on Hope 89.5 FM; a
brain awareness talk series on campus; and printing and distribution of a free public book, Optimal
BrainHealth and BrainPower Demystifying Neuroscience in Contemporary Language. The overall seed
grant project was one of only two national brain health activities in Nigeria in 2016. A final meeting is
also being organized to encourage and persuade policymakers and other stakeholders to make funding
available for brain and mental health research and prioritize neuroscience as a research field of
immediate national concern.
SOUTH AFRICA: Jacqueline Bracher, Neurosciences Institute, University of Cape Town
Jacqueline Bracher, Strategic Projects Manager of the Neurosciences Institute at the University of Cape
Town (UCT), is using the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant to support the creation and development of
an Institute website to provide an online platform that will communicate and present all research,
training and advocacy activities of the UCT Institute, Groote Schuur Hospital and affiliated institutions
for the public to explore. The UCT Institute aims to be the flagship neuroscience research and treatment
facility in South Africa and perhaps even the African continent. It will advance clinical care and transform
research and teaching in the neurosciences in Africa by drawing together experts in basic science,
clinical work, and public health. \

ASIA/PACIFIC
Four global advocacy seed grants of 5,000 each were awarded to the Asia/Pacific region in 2015.
INDIA: Prahlad K Seth, Indian Academy of Neurosciences, Lucknow
Prahlad K. Seth, Senior Advisor to Biotech Park Lucknow, is in the process of organizing the activities
supported by the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant and plans to carry them out by the end of the year.

IBRO GLOBAL ADVOCACY INITIATIVE


2015/16 REPORTS
The overall objective is to lay the foundation for a sustained advocacy program in India. These initial
activities will attempt to sensitize the public about the importance of neuroscience research and discuss
the need for greater funding with policymakers. The anticipated activities include: Videos and public
lectures in local languages and school activities; sensitizing patient support groups by collaborative
outreach and symposiums; strategic meetings with parliamentary committee members; and special
symposia aimed at industry representatives.
JAPAN: Tadaharu Tsumoto, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako
Tadaharu Tsumoto, Leader of the Laboratory for Cortical Circuit Plasticity at the RIKEN Brain Science
Institute, used the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant to support the Non-Profit Organization, Brain
Century Promotion Conference, and its 24th Brain Century Symposium in Tokyo. The objective of the
symposium was to educate and inform the general public, science communicators and journalists about
brain science in order to maintain and grow current public interest in advancements in brain research.
The 2016 theme of the symposium was "Foods and Brain" and included a special lecture by Takuji
Takahashi, a third generation master chef of the Kyoto restaurant, Kinobu.
Website: http://www.braincentury.org/brainsympo/ (in Japanese)
MALAYSIA: Michael King Hwa Ling, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Michael King Hwa Ling, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Universiti
Putra Malaysia (UPM), used the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant to support an inaugural workshop
entitled Embrace, Network and Change: Towards National and Global Neuroscience Advocacy and the 6th
UPM Annual Neuroscience Seminar. The workshop facilitated discussions with policymakers, NGO
leaders, industry representatives and researchers on several key issues: Challenges in neuroscience R&D
in Malaysia for the next decade; problem-based-driven research prioritization; roles for academia,
societies, agencies and NGOs in neuroscience R&D; and the importance of networking as a driving
component in changing the national neuroscience landscape. The one-day seminar featured 10
interdisciplinary neuroscience lectures for academics, neuroscientists, medical and health professionals,
technicians and research officers.
Website: http://www.neuroscience.org.my/
MONGOLIA: Battuvshin Lkhagvasuren, Mongolian Neuroscience Society, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Battuvshin Lkhagvasuren, Executive Director of the Mongolian Neuroscience Society (MNS) at the
Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences (MNUS), used the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant
to support four major activities in 2015/16. A national press conference about brain science announced
the 2nd Annual MNS meeting, Multidisciplinary Brain Science, and included a brief description of brain
science, an introduction to MNS and a Q&A session. The annual meeting on 28-30 August 2015 gathered
more than a hundred specialists together to discuss and develop brain science in Mongolia. The first
public event on neuroscience in Mongolia was held on 13-14 April 2016 at MNUMS. Free public
neuroscience lectures were offered, 3 interactive presentation stations about brain functions, 2 onsite
consultation centers and fun games were all offered to more than 300 participants. A follow-up Board
Meeting in May 2016 with key decision makers including the Department Head of the Ministry of

IBRO GLOBAL ADVOCACY INITIATIVE


2015/16 REPORTS
Education, Culture & Science and Director of the National Center of Mental Health established common
agreement over the urgent need of neuroscience-based advocacy in education, research and policy in
the country. MNUMS President, Dr. Batbaatar Gunchin, also took the occasion to announce that
neuroscience has been introduced into the official university curriculum as an elective subject. At the
end, it was agreed that this Board Meeting will be continued annually.
Links: http://neuroscience.mn/meetings-calendar/meetings/mns-2015/,
http://neuroscience.mn/neurosciencepublicevent/

LATIN AMERICA
Four global advocacy seed grants of 5,000 each were awarded to the Latin American region in 2015.
ARGENTINA: Ana Beln Elgoyhen, Sociedad Argentina de Investigacin en Neurociencias, Buenos
Aires
Ana Beln Elgoyhen, President of the Sociedad Argentina de Investigacin en Neurociencias (SAN), used
the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant to support advocacy and awareness activities at the XXX Congress
of the Argentine Society for Research in Neuroscience and the societys 30th Anniversary in Mar del Plata,
Argentina, from 27 September 1 October 2015. The event included an expanded scientific meeting with
a 2-day pre-meeting course on State-of-the-Art Methods in Neuroscience Research with 170 students, 3
plenary lectures, 6 international symposia, 2 young investigator symposia, 2 parallel short talk sessions
for postgraduates and poster sessions (248 presentations). A workshop for journalists was conducted
and a course and poster session on Bridging Neuroscience and Neurology were also organized. There were
approximately 400 participants who enjoyed an environment that provided active discussions on the
latest advances in different areas of neuroscience among students, researchers, decision makers and the
public.
Link: http://www.saneurociencias.org.ar/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Program-SAN-2015_Julio-31.pdf
BRAZIL: Cecilia Hedin-Pereira, Rio de Janeiro Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Chapter
Cecilia Hedin-Pereira, Professor at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), used the IBRO
Global Advocacy Seed Grant to organize activities for Brazils 5th National Brain Awareness Week from
16-20 March 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. It provided an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the
brain and its function in health and disease and a public forum where advances in neuroscience could be
discussed between international scientists and the general public. Guided visits, ongoing experiments,
discussions and talks were conducted under the title cdigo neural. These activities permitted discussions
about the neural code at the interface between art and science, bringing the public a different view
about the signals generated in the brain and their meaning, rethinking them through an artistic
perspective. Artist Dandara Dantas transformed musical text into imagetic scores to stimulate
discussions about neural codes through her images, sculptures, installations and audio-visual
performances. The public participated in this textual transformation as a real experiment and analyzed
results together with artists and scientists.
CHILE: Andrs Oscar Couve Correa, The Biomedical Neuroscience Institute, Santiago

Andrs Oscar Couve Correa, President of the Biomedical Neuroscience Institute (BNI), used the IBRO
Global Advocacy Seed Grant to help establish and launch a new scientific platform Loligo Education, an
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2015/16 REPORTS
open access online site in Spanish, to support teaching neuroscience in Chilean schools. Developed by
a BNI partnership with Biointeractive and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the platform
gathers a variety of educational materials (22 total) adapted to the curricular needs of the Chilean
educational system and aims to promote science education in the school community combining
cutting-edge content and entertainment. The platform was launched on 5 April 2016 at the Faculty of
Medicine of the University of Chile in Santiago. The event illustrated how students can now learn
different aspects of biology and neuroscience and their relevance to daily life. They can also benefit
from supplemental teaching about the brain. Rodrigo Tapia, BNI Outreach and Education Director,
said the project provides a great opportunity to generate resources for Spanish-speaking students,
which currently have very limited access to high quality scientific material. Tapia hopes the platform
can lead to the development of a partnership with the Ministry of Education to increase its public
impact.
Link: www.loligo.cl
URUGUAY: Francesco Rossi, Sociedad de Neurociencias del Urugay, Montevideo
Francesco Rossi, President of the Sociedad de Neurociencias del Uruguay, used the IBRO Global
Advocacy Seed Grant to support two main activities, the 6th edition of the Semana del Cerebro
(Uruguayan Brain Awareness Week between 12-17 March 2016) and the Primera Jornada de Promocin
del Apoyo a la Investigacin en Neurociencias, the first event promoting support for research in
neuroscience at the Uruguayan Parliament on 17 March. The Brain Awareness Week (BAW) took place
in four cities and offered a fair including an art-photo exhibition, Inside Us- el preceptor del sentir,
posters, interactive hands-on activities and games for families, public lectures (including one by past
IBRO President, Dr.Carlos Belmonte), classroom activities in local schools and workshops for school
teachers. There was also a free cycle of movies on brain science offered with Cinemateca Uruguaya.
Approximately 2,000 people participated and wide media coverage was enjoyed. The parliamentary
workshop brought together policymakers, scientists and journalists to discuss the importance and
impact of neuroscience research on decision making and to open new channels for dialogue. The main
challenge was to attract politicians to the event but the talks were recorded and disseminated through
government TV.

FEEDBACK FROM AWARDEES


Four 2015/16 seed grant awardees have filled in the program feedback form so far: The Mongolian
Neuroscience Society, the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan, the Biomedical Neuroscience
Institute in Chile and Ain Shams University in Egypt. All of them agreed that the global advocacy seed
grant program was valuable and rated it highly. Feedback highlights include: Important links made
such as those between US, European and Egyptian researchers through the Arab/Africa teleneurology
initiative; the integration of neuroscience into the Chilean educational system by the Loligo Education
project; long-term media and government relationships in Mongolia; and an audience of around 600 at
the Japanese symposium resulting from excellent media coverage and discussions on current topics of
public interest. All grantees expressed the need for continued funding to ensure success of advocacy
work in the future, and other support from partners in the form of event participation, partnerships,
advice on relating advocacy to education and exchange of experiences and lessons learned. For more
details, the completed forms can be found in the Appendix at the end of the report.

IBRO GLOBAL ADVOCACY INITIATIVE


2016/17 SEED GRANT AWARDEES
Fourteen global advocacy seed grants were awarded to the African, Asia/Pacific and Latin American
regions for 2016/17. Descriptions of the advocacy projects are included below.

AFRICA
NIGERIA: Theresa Ekanem, President, Neuroscience Society of Nigeria
The Neuroscience Society of Nigeria is the umbrella body of neuroscientists in the country and it meets
annually to discuss relevant regional priorities in neuroscience and to share basic and clinical research
results. Unfortunately, neuroscience is still misunderstood nationwide. There is a lack of understanding
about the relevance of neuroscientists in health care delivery, funding constraints, lack of trained
personnel, weak collaboration between clinicians and basic researchers and no functioning laboratories
with appropriate facilities for research. The IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant will allow NSN to convene a
workshop that will involve politicians, policymakers, university heads, healthcare professionals, students,
researchers and the general public. It will provide the opportunity for the different stakeholder groups to
understand the importance of neuroscience research in helping to alleviate the burden of neurological
conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases. The primary objective
of the workshop will be to build a link to policymakers that conveys the need to fund neuroscience
research on major neurological diseases currently affecting Nigeria and other African countries
NIGERIA: James Olopade, Professor, University of Ibadan
Neuroscience is not a priority in Nigeria nor throughout Africa. There is a lack of willingness from senior
colleagues to start neuroscience degree programs, relatively little interest in neuroscience research
among postgraduate students and low funding opportunities for neuroscience research. The
Neuroscience Group at the University of Ibadan is acutely aware of these challenges, especially since there
is no official neuroscience program. With the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant, the Neuroscience Group
will run a series of IBRO Advocacy Lectures targeted at two audiences, university students and lecturers
and policymakers, in order to highlight the importance of neuroscience in Nigeria and greater Africa and
increase support for research. The first lecture will be given by Professor Marina Bentivoglio who will
speak about Using Neuroscience Research to Solve the Neurological Challenges of Our Time: The Role of
Africa and African Based Research. University undergraduates and postgraduates in the biological
sciences, chemistry and physics will be invited. The second lecture will be given by Professor Richard
Brown on Developing Neuroscience Postgraduate Program in Ibadan: the Expected Gains for
neuroscience lecturers and professors, policymakers and university administrators.
SOMALILAND: Temesgen Sidamo Summoro, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, Edna Adan University
Hospital

Somaliland in northern Somalia has one of the highest prevalence of mental illness worldwide. Forty
percent of people are estimated to be living with severe mental health disorders, probably as a result of
two decades of civil war, social stigma, substance abuse and a huge shortage of trained professionals. The
Edna Adan University Hospital will organize a conference with the aim of advocating for brain awareness
throughout the country. The target audience will include educators, health professionals from around the
country and government officials from the Ministry of Education and Health. A call for participation and
abstract submission will be opened in selected areas of brain function and fitness as well as brain diseases
and disorders, preferably the neuroscience of psychoactive substance use and dependence, hypoxic brain
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injury and hydrocephalus. Other activities will include panel discussions, Q&A sessions and an exhibition
of movies related to brain function, diseases and disorders.
SOUTH AFRICA: Janine Roos, Director of the Mental Health Information Centre of Southern Africa,
Stellenbosch University, Cape Town
Modern neuro-imaging research has led to tremendous advances in understanding the human brain and
how it is affected by disease processes in recent years. However, expertise is still lacking in this field in
Southern Africa. This makes advocacy and further training of neuro-imaging researchers in the regional
context extremely important for the continuation of world-class research. The Mental Health
Information Centre of Southern Africa (MHIC) at Stellenbosch University (SU) promotes mental health
in Southern Africa by being actively involved in psycho-educating members of the public, referring
individuals for treatment, hosting an online referral database, conducting and publishing research in
psychiatry and related fields and translating such scientific information to the lay public. The IBRO
Global Advocacy Seed Grant will allow MHIC to partner with Dr. Stefan Du Plessis, researcher/clinician
at the SU Department of Psychiatry, to organize workshops tailored for local school learners,
undergraduate and postgraduate students during Brain Awareness Week 2017 to stimulate interest in
neuroscience, more specifically the use of structural and functional MRI in brain research, with specific
emphasis on findings from his work in HIV associated neurocognitive disorders. It will also help build
partnerships with policymakers in Southern Africa by illustrating the effectiveness of such educational
outreach activities.

ASIA/PACIFIC

JAPAN: Yasushi Miyashita, Professor, University of Tokyo


Japan has made great progress in brain research but it has suffered from wavering public support and
government attention in the recent past. This experience has taught the Japanese neuroscience
community that constant advocacy is necessary to maintain interest, funding and inclusion in national
health and research policy discussions. The highly successful Non-Profit Organization, the Brain Science
Promotion Conference, has proven it is an effective annual symposium that serves as a reliable channel
for brain advocacy with the general public and policymaking communities. It is building a strong
following and the University of Tokyo wishes to encourage that trend. It will contribute to the event in
2017 with the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant. Attendance is expected to be around 800 participants
and the focus will be on the ageing brain. With an ageing population, it is an important topic that would
have wide application and relevance to Japanese society. It will also help to bring neuroscientists,
government representatives, industry leaders and the public together to discuss future research and
strategies for mental health treatment and care in Japan.
NEPAL: Sunil Dhungel, President, Neuroscience Society of Nepal, Kathmandu

In Nepal, less than 1% of the total government health budget is allocated to mental health, with one
psychiatrist per one million people. Poor health facilities and a lack of doctors create a severe problem
in treating adolescent mass hysteria, chhopne rog in Nepalese. It is still believed to be caused by evil
spirits or angry deities. Villagers depend on local shamans for treatment. Despite neuroscience research
that shows this is due to a psychological disorder characterized by the conversion of psychological
stress into physical symptom or a change in self-awareness, the incidence of mass hysteria is increasing
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in government schools in rural Nepal. The root causes have not yet been identified. The IBRO Global
Advocacy Seed Grant would support an educational intervention, Neuroeducation to psychological
disorders mass hysteria in rural government school in Nepal. It will involve a week-long
neuroeducation program that will discuss psychological disorders and engage government officials,
policymakers, expert psychiatrists, neuroscientists and musicians capable of delivering knowledge
in different ways. In the long term, we hope to incorporate such activities into the public school
curriculum.
PAKISTAN: Sadaf Ahmed, CEO, Advance Educational Institute & Research Centre, University of
Karachi
There are many constraints to neuroscience progress in Pakistan as it is still a developing country.
Less than 0.4% GDP is spent on research and the Ministry of Science is unable to provide significant
support for any neuroscience research at the national level. Also, there is no formal channel to
bridge the gaps that lie between knowledge and practice, obstructing the ability to reduce the
burden of progressive neurodegenerative disorders and maladaptive mental health issues. In order
to highlight the dire need to support brain research in Pakistan, the Advance Educational Institute &
Research Centre (AEIRC) in collaboration with the Pakistan Society of Applied and Basic
Neuroscience will organize a Festival of Neuroscience at the University of Karachi in July 2017. It will
bring together researchers, clinicians and others to celebrate the latest research and progress in the
field of neuroscience, focusing particular attention on emerging mental health issues in Pakistan.
The event aims to increase public awareness, educate people about the importance of neuroscience
and develop a scientific community network that can work to promote and advocate for brain
research at the national level.
SRI LANKA: Ranil De Silva, President, Neuroscience Society of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka ranks as the fastest ageing population in South Asia according to World Health Statistics
(2013), leading to a dramatic increase in non-communicable diseases including neurodegenerative
disorders. The country also ranks fourth among 172 countries in suicides and suffers from
alcoholism, inherited neurological diseases due to a high rate of consanguineous marriages, impacts
of the 30-year civil war and the 2004 tsunami. The rural population comprises 80% of the total
population with limited access to health care and a lack of public awareness regarding neurological
diseases. It is estimated that around 500,000 adults with diabetes mellitus go undiagnosed in Sri
Lanka and is one of the major risk factors for neurological disorders such as stroke and Alzheimers.
The Neuroscience Society of Sri Lanka will use the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant to address
these issues and increase advocacy efforts through activities that support dialogue and interaction
between policymakers, scientists, legislators, industry leaders, clinicians, patients and the public.
They include establishing state sector centers for neuroscience, professional training opportunities,
developing international collaborations and funding sources and conducting media awareness
campaigns.



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2016/17 SEED GRANT AWARDEES
LATIN AMERICA
ARGENTINA: Arturo Romano, Vice President, Sociedad Argentina de Investigacin en
Neurociencias, Buenos Aires
Neuroscience is among scientific disciplines that are particularly prone to be reported inaccurately. It
is therefore essential that activities are organized involving neuroscientists, policymakers, journalists
and the general public in order to improve communication and understanding. The Sociedad
Argentina de Investigacin en Neurociencias (SAN) has already organized a broad range of advocacy
events. Based on this experience, the society has identified three main aspects that can benefit from
neuroscience advocacy programs in Argentina: Opportunities for dialogue between journalists and
neuroscientists, public lectures and Brain Awareness Week (BAW) activities. SAN will use the IBRO
Global Advocacy Seed Grant in 2017 to support a one-day workshop on communicating neuroscience
for journalists during BAW 2017 and organize a free half-day conference with a series of lectures given
by presitigious neuroscientists at the Cultural Science Center in Buenos Aires on October 15 as a
FALAN satellite event. Dr. Carlos Belmonte, Dr. Mariano Sigman and Dr. Diego Golombek are
scheduled to speak.
BRAZIL: Newton Canteras, Vice President, Sociedade Brasileira de Neurocincias e
Comportamento, So Paulo
Brazilian neuroscience has improved over the past decades and gained international recognition.
However, there is a large gap between scientific research activity and the general public within Brazil.
The Sociedade Brasileira de Neurocincias e Comportamento (SBNeC) believes that disclosure of
research in neuroscience developed in Brazilian institutions is an important way to inform both
national and international communities and show results of incoming investment. However, with
increasing access to information and communication especially through electronic means, there are
both opportunities and challenges regarding the dissemination of scientific information. To address
these issues, SBNeC will organize a symposium or workshop to create professional mechanisms for
SBNeC to disseminate neuroscience subjects tailored for Brazilians. It will take place during the 2017
SBNeC Brain Awareness Week, originally initiated by the Dana Foundation, and include the SBNeC
Board of Directors, selected researchers already involved in scientific journalism and professional
scientific journalists from several Brazilian institutions.
COLOMBIA: George Barreto, President, Colegio Colombiano de Neurociencias, Bogot
Despite some improvements in neuroscience research in Colombia over the last few years, there is
still a need to promote public awareness, education training programs and networking activities to
consolidate support for brain research at the policy level and in the public domain. There is minimal
communication between neuroscientists and policymakers/public strategists, a significant divide
between neuroscientists and neurologists and no motivation or support for students and researchers
to advocate for neuroscience. As a result, the Colegio Colombiano de Neurociencias (COLNE) wishes
to use the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant to address these challenges through student support
(national award, travel grants and the creation of a Neurosciences Student Association); enhanced
communications (YouTube Channel, improvement of COLNE website); and public awareness
activities in schools and universities, a scientific symposium for neuroscientists and neurologists and

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Brain Awareness Week activities.
MEXICO: Luis Beltran-Parrazal, Fundacin Beltran-Morgado para el avance y difusin de la
neurociencia en Veracruz, Xalapa
Traditionally, Veracruz is a state in Mexico not associated with scientific development. There is a lack
of infrastructure, resources and government interest. However, active public participation in
neuroscience education events makes it clear that there is community interest in the brain. The
Fundacin Beltran-Morgado para el avance y diffusion de la neurociencia en Veracruz, a group of
professors and graduate students committed to neuroscience advocacy in the state, believes it can
help grow this public interest and attract more legislative support through advocacy and increasing
public understanding of the neurological disease spinocerebellar ataxias type 7 (SCA-7). This is a rare
disorder with a global prevalence of <1/100,000. In Veracruz, SCA-7 occurs with a prevalence of
10.63/100,000, most likely due to hereditary transfer. Supported by the IBRO Global Advocacy Seed
Grant, activities will educate the public and policymakers about this. They will include a free and
public lecture, The Brain and Me, about SCA-7; lectures and public activities during the 2017 Brain
Awareness Week organized by the Brain Research Center (Universidad Veracruzana) and the
Southeastern Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN); a series of interdisciplinary scientific
conferences; and an educational symposium for legislators to sensitize the government about public
health problems related to neurodegenerative diseases.
PERU: Luis Angel Aguilar Mendoza, President, Society for Neuroscience of Peru, Lima
Peru is characterized by a deficiency of public knowledge about the brain because of poor
dissemination of scientific knowledge in general. Media and businesses exacerbate this problem by
popularizing pseudoscientific information, especially related to the brain, under such terms as
neuromarketing, neurocoaching and neuroeducation. In order to address this pervasive misinformation
about the brain, the Society for Neuroscience of Peru (SONEP) will organize a series of neuroscience
conferences in Lima focused on the structure, operation and care of the nervous system. The
audience will include professionals, students, patients, caregivers, doctors, educators and the public
interested in learning about the brain. Topics will cover the physiology of sleep, the importance of
nutrition in brain development, addiction, stages of neurodevelopment in humans, the importance of
brain education in society and neurodegenerative diseases, especially Parkinsons and Alzheimers.
High public participation and media coverage will also be sought to fully promote and increase public
awareness of brain research and its importance to Peruvian society.
PUERTO RICO: Amaya Miquelajauregui, Assistant Professor, Institute of Neurobiology, University of
Puerto Rico
Autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders usually go undetected in minority populations
mainly because of a lack of awareness of normal development and limited access to health services
and care. The prevalence of autism in the general population of Puerto Rico is comparable to the
worldwide diagnosis rate (1:68). However, services and information available to the public are scarce,
particularly for families with infants at higher risk of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Affected families have created networks and associations such as the Alianza de Autismo de Puerto
Rico, which have been fundamental in directing policy and promoting education. The Institute of

11

IBRO GLOBAL ADVOCACY INITIATIVE


2016/17 SEED GRANT AWARDEES
Neurobiology at the University of Puerto Rico proposes to trigger a continuous, bi-directional
interaction between the general public, clinicians and researchers who are involved in autism and other
disorders. Educational symposia in English and Spanish will provide a forum to share knowledge and
experience. Multimedia bilingual recordings will make the discussions and Q&A sessions accessible to
the public and policymakers once uploaded. It will promote a culture of interaction and knowledge in
the management and detection of autism-spectrum disorders and hopefully lead to improved
understanding, care and policies.

12

IBRO GLOBAL ADVOCACY INITIATIVE

Observing neuronal preparations under the microscope in the Brain-Dome at the launch of Loligo Education organized by 2015
IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant awardee, the Biomedical Neuroscience Institute, Santiago, Chile.

2017

LOOKING
AHEAD

Next year will be the third year that the


IBRO Global Advocacy Initiative will offer
seed grants.
All funding partners - IBRO, T he Federation
of European Neuroscience Societies
(FENS), the International Society for
Neurochemistry (ISN), the Japan
Neuroscience Society (JNS) and the Society
for Neuroscience (SfN) - have expressed
strong support in continuing their generous
contributions.
Increasing interest in advocacy work,
higher program application submissions
and successful implementation of selected
activities have encouraged this ongoing
commitment to Initiative seed grant
funding.
Brain advocacy around the world has
proven to be a necessary prerequisite for
increasing public awareness and
understanding of neuroscience, developing
multi-disciplinary partnership networks,
communicating research advances and
attracting more funding and policy support
for brain research.

13

In order to further develop our efforts


and build on previous work, 2017 seed
grants will be open to applicants from
European countries that have more
challenging research environments,
including restrictive funding and
institutional support. World Bank
categories of lower and middle income
countries will be used to distinguish
eligibility.
Comprehensive evaluations of
completed seed grant experiences will
continue to be conducted next year to
assess lessons learned from participants
and identify particular challenges and
opportunities across the regions.
Conclusions from these reviews will
continue to help partners in determining
the overall impact and effectiveness of
the global advocacy seed grants
program and plan strategically for future
activities.
IBRO thanks its partners and
participating awardees for their
dedicated commitment to brain
advocacy.

IBRO GLOBAL ADVOCACY INITIATIVE

APPENDIX
2015/16 Seed Grant Evaluations
&
Example proposal of continued
support from Egypt
(Treat and Teach Initiative)

14

IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant Evaluation


Submission Date

2016-10-24 15:50:04

Applicant ID

GA-006

First Name

Battuvshin

Last Name

Lkhagvasuren

Professional Title

Executive Director

Gender

Male

E-mail

battuvshin@neuroscience.mn

Professional Address

Mongolian Neuroscience Society


Zorig street 3
Ulaanbaatar
14210
Mongolia

Project Title

IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant 2015

Project Objectives

To promote the development of brain science in Mongolia, Mongolian Neuroscience


Society (MNS) proposed to complete the following 4 activities:
1. National press conference about brain science
2. Scientific meeting for professionals, Multidisciplinary Brain Science The Second
Annual Meeting of MNS
3. Neuroscience Public Event for public lectures about neuroscience
4. Board meeting on neuroscience with policymakers.
Additionally, to provide comprehensive information on brain science for scientists and
public, we proposed to inititate the following activities:
- Online official journal of Mongolian Neuroscience Society, -
) (in
English Multidisciplinary Brain Science Journal of Mongolian Neuroscience Society)
for professionals related with brain science in Mongolian.
- Online Brain Science Library multimedia simplified lectures about intelligence,
memory, behavior, sensation, stress, addiction, suicide, and depression for children
and youth in order to inspire future neuroscientists and provide information about
prevention, treatment, and support groups.

Target Audience(s)

- Scientists at academic organizations: Mongolian National University of Medical


Sciences, Mongolian National University, Mongolian Academy of Medical Sciences,
and so on
- Policy makers including government agencies: Ministry of Education, Culture, and
Science, Ministry of Health
- Health professionals at hospitals, health organizations: doctors, epidemiologists,
biostatisticians, nurses, social workers
- Psychologists in public and private universities, psychological centers
- Journalists, media representatives
- High school students
- General public

15

Main challenges to advocacy


and brain research in your
area

Overall, the development of science in Mongolia is still struggling with its old academic
system, limited science funding, corruption, and brain drain. We still have the old and
corrupted academic system which has been remained unchanged since the communist
regime collapsed 25 years ago. This system has the strongest negative impact on the
development of science in Mongolia. For example, information on the size, distribution,
policy of scientific research funding is closed; the rules of professorship are outdated;
the term of principal investigator is not established, and the list will be too long. General
awareness of Mongolian people for neuroscience, modern psychology, advanced
technologies in brain science or molecular biology is still very limited. Young scientists
graduated at state-of-the-art institutes in a developed country have almost no chance
to continue their career in research due to limited numbers of laboratories. In addition
to the lack of laboratories, there is no distribution company of international lab supply
companies since the infrastructures including railways, auto roads, and energy plants
are not well developed. There are also no labs that provide laboratory animals for nonclinical, clinical, and essential research services in Mongolia.

Project Region

Asia/Pacific

Award Amount (in EUR)

5000

Project start date

08-01-2015

Project end date

07-31-2016

Project location

Zorig street 3
Ulaanbaatar
Mongolia

Identify completed
activity/activities

1. National press conference about brain science


2. Scientific meeting for professionals, Multidisciplinary Brain Science The Second
Annual Meeting of MNS
3. Neuroscience Public Event for public lectures about neuroscience
4. Board meeting on neuroscience with policymakers

Number of participants in
activity/activities

500

Did the seed grant provide


sufficient funding for project?

5/5

Were project objectives


fulfilled?

4/5

Comments

Yes. We have completed all the main projects we proposed successfully. However, the
additional projects on establishing a society journal and online library are in progress
and need more funding.

Did the course increase


awareness and support of
brain research in the target
audience(s)?

5/5

Comments

The number of members has been increasing since we launched public-oriented


activities.

Do you find the seed grant


program effective?

5/5

16

Comments

For such a small and developing society like Mongolian Neuroscience Society, this
grant was the key source for conducting public events, press conferences, and lobby
meetings to raise awareness of brain science in the country and therefore, it is of great
importance to us.

Identify any project


challenges

Although we have successfully fulfilled our main objectives, establishing an official


journal of the society and creating an online library for neuroscience was very
challenging both financially and technically.

Identify any project benefits


(e.g. partnerships, policy
involvement, public
engagement, scientific
exchange, media
opportunities, etc.)

Governmental agencies confirm their support for political or international collaborations.


Media and press companies recognized us as a professional society and some
journalists and writers joined our society. Actually, we are discussing to include a
separate section for brain science on Cosmopolitan Mongolia, a popular magazine,
providing information on brain science news to the readers. For the first time,
neuroscience is included as an elective subject to the official curriculum at the School
of Biomedicine of Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences. National
companies are interested in our activities, i.e. Nrantuul Group LLC, one of top 20
companies in Mongolia, sponsored the 3RD Annual Meeting of MNS this year. We are
working on academic exchange projects with regional organizations such as Korean
Brain Research Institute and Neuroscience Program at Academia Sinica of Taiwan.

Would you suggest any


changes to the seed grant
program?

Please keep supporting this seed grant program, at least for several years, so that we
could become financially stable enough to maintain our regular activities.

What advice or support, if


any, would you appreciate
from IBRO Global Advocacy
partners?

It will be of a great honor for us if an IBRO executive officer or a world-renown scientist


would visit Mongolia during our annual meeting in the future. We could organize a
single plenary lecture, lobby meetings with policy makers, social events, and TV
interviews which will definitely attract more public attention and funding.

Any other comments

In conclusion, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation to IBRO
for this great support which made all these events possible.

17

IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant Evaluation

Submission Date

2016-10-19 05:49:30

Applicant ID

GA-005

First Name

Tadaharu

Last Name

Tsumoto

Professional Title

Director

Gender

Male

E-mail

tsumoto@brain.riken.jp

Professional Address

Retzius Vag 3
Solna
Stockholm
171 65
Sweden

Project Title

Brain Century Symposium

Project Objectives

The Japanese Non-Profit Organization Brain Science Promotion Conference, in


collaboration with the Japan Neuroscience Society, holds Brain Century Symposium
once a year on the importance of brain research to society. Recently the general public
in Japan become aware of the importance of brain science, in particular in modern
society with a large aging population. At this stage it is very important to publicize
recent advances of brain science. Thus the objective of this activity is to advocate the
importance of brain science not only to science policy makers but also to the general
public and mass media through attactive, updated lectures.

Target Audience(s)

The general public, science communicators, journalists, law makers in the Congress
and science policy makers in the Government offices.

Main challenges to advocacy


and brain research in your
area

In Japan the Decade of Brain campaign was successfully carried out in late 1990s.
Consequently the Japanese Government provided some financial support to brain
research, and various projects such asKnowing the Brain,Creating the
Brain,Protecting the Brainand Nurturing the Brain projects were launched.
Thereafter, however, such enthusiasm about brain research faded in Japan. The
challenge is therefore to re-activate and further strenghten supports to Brain Research.

Project Region

Asia/Pacific

Award Amount (in EUR)

5000

Project start date

9-14-2016

Project end date

9-14-2016

Project location

Asahi Hall, Yurakucho


Tokyo
Japan

Identify completed
activity/activities

A Report of Brain Century Symposium in Japan supported by the IBRO Advocacy


Seed Grant was submitted to the IBRO office on 6th October 2016.

Did the seed grant provide


sufficient funding for project?

4/5

18

Comments

The amount of the seed grant did not completely cover the cost of the activities but
substantially contributed to the operation of the activities.

Were project objectives


fulfilled?

5/5

Comments

Reflecting the public attention to Brain Scinece, the Brain Century Symposium
attracted a great number of attendants. The number of audience was as many as
about 600 so that the lecture hall was completely full.

Did the course increase


awareness and support of
brain research in the target
audience(s)?

5/5

Comments

This symposium was held in a very timely manner to focus on the current interests of
the general public and thus succeeded in advocating the importance of brain science to
society. For example, after each talk many questions were asked from the audience
and the lecturers well responded to the questions. To the audience thereafter we
distributed questionnaires about quality of the lectures and what they want to hear in
the next Symposium. Then we got very good feedbacks form the audience.

Do you find the seed grant


program effective?

5/5

Comments

Yes, it is very effective.

Identify any project


challenges

We need more solid financial supports to cover honorarium and travel costs of
qualified and well known lecturers who attract the general public.

Identify any project benefits


(e.g. partnerships, policy
involvement, public
engagement, scientific
exchange, media
opportunities, etc.)

This year the most influential news paper in Japan "Asahi Shinbun" partially supported
the activity. Consequently the attention of wider public than last year was obtained.

Would you suggest any


changes to the seed grant
program?

The size of the seed grant could be more flexible.

What advice or support, if


any, would you appreciate
from IBRO Global Advocacy
partners?

I am not sure about the current relationship with the Brain Awareness Week activity
that is supported by Dana Foundation. If there is no link, some links with Dana
Foundation might be desirable.

19

IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant Evaluation


Submission Date

2016-10-18 10:06:34

Applicant ID

GA-004

First Name

Andrs

Last Name

Couve

Professional Title

PhD

Gender

Male

E-mail

andres@neuro.med.uchile.cl

Professional Address

Universidad de Chile
Independencia 1027
Santiago
RM
Chile

Project Title

Loligo Education

Project Objectives

Loligo Education (www.loligo.cl), developed by the Biomedical Neuroscience Institute


(BNI) in partnership with Biointeractive, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), is a
pioneering initiative in Latin America. It gathers a variety of educational material
adapted to the curricular needs of the Chilean educational system and aims to promote
science education in the school community combining cutting-edge content and
entertainment.

Target Audience(s)

High school teachers and students.

Main challenges to advocacy


and brain research in your
area

Lack of scientific activities that bring neuroscience closer to the community.


Poor understanding of how scientific issues such as motor behavior, emotions,
perception, learning and memory relate to their daily lives.
Difficulty in accessing scientific knowledge and technological activities outside the
metropolitan area.
Lack of attractive online educational initiatives to teach science in an entertaining
fashion, especially to children and young people attending primary and high school.
Lack of an online neuroscience platform in Spanish that serves a wide Latin American
community, encouraging collaboration between educational and research groups.

Project Region

Latin America

Award Amount (in EUR)

5000

Project start date

12-01-2015

Project end date

05-30-2016

Project location

Independencia 2017
Santiago
Chile

20

Identify completed
activity/activities

The initiative, launched at the Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Chile on April 5


2016, is supported by the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), Comision
Nacional de Investigacion Cientifica y Tecnologica (CONICYT), and Fondo Valentin
Letelier of Universidad de Chile.
Loligo Education, whose name refers to the giant squid which has been an important
experimental model for neuroscience, and for Chilean neurophysiologists, consists of
22 educational resources freely available through the BNI website and www.loligo.cl.
Here, users can learn different aspects of biology and neuroscience and their relevance
to our daily lives. More importantly, they also supplement formal teaching.
Rodrigo Tapia, BNI Outreach and Education Director, said that the project "provides a
great opportunity to generate resources for Spanish-speaking students, which currently
have very limited access to high quality scientific material. It contributes to
science education in an entertaining and practical way. It brings us closer to establish a
scientific culture in the country".
The Loligo Education platform contains videos about neuronal and brain function,
covering topics like learning and memory. In addition, it includes an interactive comic,
games and a short documentary about the value of science.
BNI is currently implementing a hands-on workshop for high school teachers in which
the material contained in Loligo Education will be implemented in the classroom.
Rodrigo Tapia hopes to develop a partnership with the Ministry of Education to
increase the impact of the initiative.
BNI also showed its advances in the area of scientific education through the BrainDome, an interactive journey through the brain where attendees access neuroscience
through a comic strip, video games, interactive screens, and observe neuronal
preparations through the microscope.
The launching event congregated a large and vibrant community of students and
teachers. The ceremony was led by Dr. Andres Couve, Director of BNI, and Rodrigo
Tapia. Jennifer Bricken and Javier Robalino, from Biointeractive HHMI, were special
guests to the event. Javier Robalino presented the lecture "How do we know what we
know? Using stories of scientific discovery in the classroom.
Santiago, May 2016

Did the seed grant provide


sufficient funding for project?

4/5

Comments

It complemented funds from the Chilean Government and Biointeractive-HHMI.

Were project objectives


fulfilled?

5/5

Comments

We have successfully implemented the workshop. Currently on its 3rd session.


Online material is crucial to sustain workshops and an active community.

Did the course increase


awareness and support of
brain research in the target
audience(s)?

5/5

Comments

Yes, this is a complementary initiative to all our efforts that include online and on-site
material, press, and social media campaign.

Do you find the seed grant


program effective?

5/5

Comments

It was friendly and had clear objectives.

Identify any project


challenges

No major obstacles were encountered.

21

Identify any project benefits


(e.g. partnerships, policy
involvement, public
engagement, scientific
exchange, media
opportunities, etc.)

Helped improve our collaboration with Biointeractive-HHMI

Would you suggest any


changes to the seed grant
program?

A continuation system would greatly benefit these initiatives.


Advocacy and outreach need constant attention.

What advice or support, if


any, would you appreciate
from IBRO Global Advocacy
partners?

Experience of successful and high impact activities in developed countries.


How does advocacy relate to education.

22

IBRO Global Advocacy Seed Grant Evaluation

Submission Date

2016-10-18 08:13:41

Applicant ID

GA-003

First Name

Tamer

Last Name

Emara

Professional Title

Assistant professor of neurology

Gender

Male

E-mail

thmfe@yahoo.com

Professional Address

Egypt

Project Title

Arab African teleneurology network

Project Objectives

Forming a teleneurology network serving two functions: treat and teach

Target Audience(s)

Medical and non medical stakeholders

Main challenges to advocacy


and brain research in your
area

Lack of trained neurologists


Lack of training programs

Project Region

Africa

Award Amount (in EUR)

5000

Project start date

01-19-2016

Project end date

01-21-2016

Project location

League of Arab states


Cairo
Egypt

Identify completed
activity/activities

Conference successfully completed. A network is established. A teleneurology unit is


now functioning in Ain Shams University.

Did the seed grant provide


sufficient funding for project?

4/5

Comments

The seed grant shared partially in covering the expenses of inviting experts from USA
and Europe to attend the meeting. This has helped the success of the meeting.
Important links were established as a result. I value the concept of providing rapid
access seed grants to similar capacity development projects

Were project objectives


fulfilled?

5/5

Did the course increase


awareness and support of
brain research in the target
audience(s)?

5/5

23

Do you find the seed grant


program effective?

5/5

Identify any project


challenges

May be work on mutual partnerships between IBRO and seed grant holders to
maximize sustainability

Identify any project benefits


(e.g. partnerships, policy
involvement, public
engagement, scientific
exchange, media
opportunities, etc.)

Start teleneurology unit that serves areas in Egypt and africa

Would you suggest any


changes to the seed grant
program?

Rapid response

24

THE TREAT AND TEACH INITIATIVE


It is estimated that neurology cases constitute 20-25% of ER admissions.
Stroke is the number one cause of disability in the world. According to the
WHO records, stroke occurs 20 years earlier in developing countries when
compared to developed ones. 90% of epilepsy cases occur in the developing
world.

Regarding practice, 85% of stroke deaths now occur in LMIC, DALY lost due to
stroke are seven times that in high income countries, and rehab services are
offered to 3% of stroke population. Stroke incidence has increased by 100% in
the last four decades in those countries.

Neurology education in many African countries is almost non existing. Around


90% of African universities do not have master degrees in neurology. Most of
the trained neurologists get their training abroad, many of them leave their
countries because there are no posts for neurologists in the university or the
ministry of health. The number of trained neurologists in many countries can
be counted on the fingers. In countries with good neurology training programs,
well established neurology services can only be found in central cities and
patients have to travel for hundreds of miles to find a good neurology service.

25

We want to work on short and intermediate term strategies that might help
reduce the gap in the number of trained neurologists as well as the deficiency
of neurology education programs in Africa. We are trying to complement the
current efforts to improve neurology education in Africa with an initiative that
has a mix of online education and onsite clinical training and working on
establishing medical services that may include a stroke unit, memory clinic,
neurorehabilitation units, or a neurology department. This would hopefully,
lead to national neuroscience services run by local HR.

Through a series of online lectures provided by Egyptian and


international academicians, we will be offering neurology education to medical
providers in these countries. The online material is coupled with clinical
bedside training. There will also be case conferences and clinical support for
growing neurology practice in the target countries on a regular basis.
Master degrees from Ain Shams University, Cairo, will be offered and work will
be done to establish local/joint master degrees to ensure sustainability.

26

Treat and Teach


Executive plan
The first 100 African neurology trained physicians: Flagship program

Ain Shams Teleneurology unit has been giving online modular neurology training
webinars for the last 7 months (e.g. CT interpretation, Headache, How to setup a
comprehensive stroke service). In the last 2 months; we have started doing online
telemedicine consults as well. Trainees are from Egypt, Ghana,Somalia, and Ethiopia.
The capacity of our e-learning/telemedicine solution is 250 sites per webinar. We are
currently using 6.
As per the concept note, the plan is to mix these online services with onsite training and
service development.
What we suggest is the following;
Setup a modular neurology curriculum
Form a network of interested universities/hospitals. If we connect 50 hospitals
with 2 trainees per hospital. We will be working with 100 trainees.
Trainees can choose to have one or more modules.
They can be neurology trainees, or simply a family practitioner who sees a lot of
headache cases in his practice and wants to give them a better service. The
reason for that is the difficulties with getting a neurology position, and also the
paucity of trained physicians in general.
Each module will have an academic part, case based learning followed by
service implementation with telemedicine support.
The online training is mixed with onsite training short courses that can be done
between the participating sites and Ain Shams University.
Lectures can be given by Egyptian, African and international speakers.
The support of the participating institution is of paramount importance.
For example; the family practitioner who finished the headache module will have
the support of his institution to start a headache clinic. After 50 mentored cases
via telemedicine, he can then be trusted to ask for online consults for chronic
migraines or cases with less common diagnosis. In a years time, this will lead to
a visible new, and hopefully successful service that will help at least 100 patients
per year. During this year, he will spend a few weeks in an established headache
service and will have the chance to attend an onsite headache course and get to
share his experiences.
This real life achievement will eventually lead to someone else asking; what
about my epilepsy cases?

27

This program will rapidly improve awareness to the need of neurology specialists
and will also quickly leverage the services provided to neurology patients. I would
assume that a minimum of 50% of the trainees will choose to continue their
neurology training.
I think this will be the biggest number ever of physicians that got neurology
training in their countries or in Africa.

28