It has always been easier for me to absorb information in a live setting. Whether as an active participant in a classroom discussion or as an observer at a lecture, these in-person experiences help me recall the information later. That’s why I and others like me value public forums. With this in mind, public engagement has been an important part of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI) work for the past 20 years.
This year DABI not only celebrates its 20th anniversary, but it also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the organization’s first public forum. DABI is dedicated to advancing public awareness and education about the progress and promise of brain research. With the technological advancements of the past twenty years, the methods of raising awareness have expanded dramatically. While DABI has incorporated more online content, it has also continued to provide public forums about different brain-related topics.
On Saturday, August 28, 1993, a full audience at the Fine Arts Theater at the Southampton Campus of Long Island University sat down for a free public forum on “Genes and the Brain.” This was DABI’s first ever public forum, presented only four months after its inception. The speakers were two world-renown neuroscientists and founding DABI members: James Watson, Ph.D. and W. Maxwell Cowan, M.D., Ph.D. In their presentations, the two experts answered questions such as: Is manic-depressive illness genetic? Is your future in your genes? Is alcoholism inherited? Is there hope for victims of Alzheimer’s disease?