Last weekend, neuroscientists and neuroscience enthusiasts flocked to New Orleans for the five-day Society for Neuroscience (SfN) conference. And on Saturday afternoon in room 293, some of the field’s biggest cheerleaders gathered for a Brain Awareness Week (BAW) reception, to compare notes on ways to increase public interest in brain research.
BAW 2013 was the most successful campaign to date, with more than 900 events in 51 countries and 42 US states posted on the Dana Alliance’s international calendar. At the reception, BAW Campaign Director and Dana staff member, Kathleen Roina, thanked participants for their creativity and ingenuity, and highlighted the importance of their efforts:
"By promoting and celebrating brain awareness in your communities, you are not only contributing to public understanding about the brain and brain research, but also arming the public with the knowledge and information they need to make informed decisions about their health; ensuring a future for neuroscientific discovery by inspiring the next generation of scientists; and garnering support for biomedical research."
Attendees were treated to a screening of the winning film of the SfN Brain Awareness Video Contest, which makes spectacular use of sock puppets to explain the functions of different regions of the brain. The second and third place winners were also acknowledged and submissions for 2013 encouraged.
Following the presentations, there was plenty of time to view the variety of posters and to catch up with colleagues and friends.
Liz Weaver, a neuroscience education specialist at Georgia State, showcases the university’s year-round brain awareness efforts. This summer, Liz interned part-time in the communications department at the Dana Foundation and wrote several blogs for us.
The Neurobiology Institute of the National University of Mexico attracted 4,000 people to its BAW events in 2012. The theme was brain damage: prevention and repair, and programs included interactive activities, short films, and a lecture series.
Kathleen Roina and longtime BAW partner Eric Chudler, who created the much beloved website Neuroscience for Kids, and is judging the Dana Foundation’s Design a Brain Experiment Competition (cash prizes!) for U.S. high school students.
Edward Rover, Dana Foundation chairman, Barbara Gill, executive director of the Dana Alliance, and Dr. Irina Bystron, European Dana Alliance member and BAW partner who promotes outreach in the UK.
Brain erasers! One of the many fulfillment items available to registered BAW partners.
-Ann L. Whitman