As part of the IBRO Global Advocacy Initiative, the Mental Health Information Centre of Southern Africa, at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town was given an IBRO seed grant of €5,000 to support activities during this year's Brain Awareness Week (March 13-19, 2017), the annual global campaign to raise awareness about the brain and brain research.
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.
About the IBRO Global Advocacy Initiative: The IBRO Global Advocacy Initiative was launched in 2012 to facilitate the development of culturally relevant educational and motivational programs that will garner wider support for neuroscience research across the world.