Brain Awareness Week 2021 is coming to an end and despite the ongoing pandemic hindering the organisation of another annual EBC European Parliament event, the week has been a busy one for EBC nonetheless.
On Tuesday, 16 March, EBC held a virtual Brain Awareness Week event in partnership with members European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) and GAMIAN-Europe, focused on Patient Engagement in EU-Funded Brain Research Projects, which brought together patients/patient representatives, policymakers and European Commission representatives as well as project/initiative leads. The event explored the current state of patient engagement in EU-funded Brain Research projects, looking at IMI and MULTI-ACT as concrete examples and solutions and analysing in discussion with key officials what has been done and what can still be done in order to guarantee change. The event was well attended and brought much food for thought — progress has been made but certainly there is more work to do. A full event report will follow, including an analysis on audience feedback and a full recording of the event.
In her opening speech of the Brain Awareness Week event, EBC President Prof. Monica Di Luca also officially announced the release of the EBC Policy Roadmap, Brain Health in Europe: Fostering Innovation, Improving Outcomes. Driven by the belief that enhanced multi-stakeholder engagement in the brain health ecosystem is needed to foster dialogue, exchange knowledge, facilitate business development, showcase ongoing projects, and accelerate investment in brain disorders, research and innovation for the benefit of patients, the paper sets out key recommendations to stimulate investment in brain disorders and to implement change. A European brain health strategy and implementation plan is critical to foster innovation to address the high disease burden and to improve the lives of those affected by brain disorders. The roadmap highlights the need to create an enabling environment which promotes brain health in Europe. Please continue to join EBC in calling for the establishment of an EU-wide and public health combined Brain Plan.
Furthermore, EBC was also pleased to be part of the launch of the One Neurology initiative, conceived by the EFNA and the European Academy of Neurology (EAN),. The OneNeurology initiative aims to unite and strengthen neurology-related groups to stimulate collaborative advocacy, action and accountability for the prevention, treatment and management of neurological disorders worldwide. The central element of the Initiative is a Global Partnership. Here international disease specific organisations and regional umbrellas are uniting to make neurology a global public health priority! This week’s launch included the release of the The One Voice for Neurology podcast series; seven podcasts exploring why it’s time to make neurology a global priority, how that can be achieved and what that could mean for those living with a neurological disorder, which included episodes featuring EBC’s President, Monica Di Luca and Executive Director, Frédéric Destrebecq. The initiative also includes multiple resources, including infographics and key neurology facts.
Brain Awareness Week 2021 also saw a series of EBC-led publications launch, including an article in Health Europa Quarterly on “The importance of prioritising brain health”, a publication in the inaugural edition of Aging Brain on “Future of the aging brain: Bridging the gap between research and policy” as well as the publication of the Rethinking MS project findings, “Rethinking MS in Europe: Prioritising Timely, Integrated Care for People with Multiple Sclerosis”, in the Journal of Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery.
EBC is also happy to share the news from GAMIAN-Europe of their brand new infographic on the need for more research on and awareness of the link between the brain and mental health.