Presenting McCance to the United Nations

I recently had the privilege of joining the Science Summit of the 78th United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York City, as a participant in the Brain Health and Research Day at UNGA78. The one-of-a-kind, day-long program included research and global health leaders from all over the world.

The themes were familiar. Non-communicable brain diseases cause immeasurable human suffering, threaten to overwhelm our economies, and substantially hinder human happiness and workforce creativity and efficiency. Speakers called for substantial increases in investment brain and neuroscience research, a coordinated global health response, and for novel approaches that incorporate the concept of “brain capital” and “mental wealth” in our societal and corporate approaches.

My presentation of the McCance Center’s strategy, strengths and progress was met with gratifying enthusiasm. Conference participants embraced our practical tool, the Brain Care Score. We are following up with approximately a dozen international partners about their joining our McCance Brain Care Coalition. The drug development pipeline driven by Dr. Rudy Tanzi and Dr. Gene Bowman was seen as unique and vital to the field.

Among Industry Pioneers

Attendees and participants included trail-blazing leaders from industry, foundations, philanthropy, government agencies and more. Speakers included:

  • Professor Claudio Bassetti, Vice President of the European Brain Council
  • Simona Skerjanec, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Neuroscience at Roche
  • Mitchell Elkind, Chief Clinical Science Officer of the American Heart Association
  • Walter Koroshetz, Director of the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • Caroline Motojo, President of the Dana Foundation

Portraits of all the presenters at the Brain Health & Research Day.
Participants at the Brain Health and Research Day at UNGA78

Taking action

The day culminated with a call to action to put brain health on the global agenda. Top priorities to address brain disease and improve brain health include:

  • Addressing the unmet needs of patients: This includes more research, establishing treatment protocols earlier, and expanding workforce to include nonclinical healthcare providers.
  • Learn from health crises such as COVID-19: Rethink health systems and improve population health for the future.
  • Go beyond traditional recommendations and targets: Interlink health, welfare and economics.
  • Develop and deploy a strategic research and innovation agenda at all levels: Local, regional and global.
  • Develop validated metrics and tools to measure brain health across the lifespans.

For more details on the day’s highlights, calls to action, and requests of the United Nations, please see Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy’s summary of the day.

Continuing Momentum

We will continue to represent McCance on the global stage as we build our Coalition of partners who commit to making measurable reductions in the number of new cases of dementia, depression and stroke in 10 years.