Brain Health in the Tropics

    The Cairns Institute has been a partner with the Creating Futures initiative since 2012. Creating Futures (CF) has evolved from a conference to a movement that seeks to harness experience, expertise, innovation and goodwill to build the capacities necessary to improve the mental health status of disadvantaged populations in Australasia and the Western Pacific. It exists as an independent, task-focused collaboration of individuals and institutions built on a foundation of relationships of trust across time, terrain, sectors and special interests.

    Working with partners in the Pacific, CF aims to support on ground health professionals and community members with skills development, information, training, leadership courses and networking opportunities. In July 2022, CF delivered a series of four free lunch time sessions on Brain Health. The sessions was presented by Professor Zoltan Sarnyai, Head of the Laboratory of Psychiatric Neuroscience at JCU.

    Topics included
    • Covid-19 and the brain
    • The impact of infectious diseases on brain health
    • Stress, trauma and brain health – a lifetime perspective
    • Global warming and brain health

    The online sessions were attended by people in Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Cook Islands, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, USA, and Australia. The main supporting partners for the series included Fiji National University (FNU), Tropical Brain and Mind Foundation, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, The Pacific Community (SPC) Asia Australia Mental Health, JCU and The Cairns Institute.

    Feedback from the session was overwhelmingly positive. Many attendees felt that they gained a lot of knowledge and understanding and were able to discuss the implications of COVID and other infectious diseases on the Pacific.
    “Brain health underpins a great deal of our individual and community well-being,” Creating Futures co-ordinator Professor Ernest Hunter said. “Good brain health is key to helping individuals and communities overcome disadvantage and prosper.”
    All the session recordings and more information is available through the CF website https://creatingfutures.org.au/

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