As the year draws to a close (oddly, since it was January only a couple of months ago), it is an opportunity to reflect on the year that’s now behind us. It has been a fairly chaotic one in the world of health services and systems, as the widespread consequences of the pandemic have revealed themselves in both expected and unexpected ways. During the pandemic, uncertainty about the future had a focused, crisis quality to it. That has now given way to uncertainty about the way in which our health, disability, social and education systems now operate. In these stormy seas, clarity about our values and guiding principles is all the more important for steering the ship.
One of the things I most love about ASSBI is that we are a community unswervingly guided by our values. In the recent revamp of our website (which is worth checking out – assbi.com.au), our home page now proudly states our Purpose, which is to improve the lives of people with conditions impacting the brain and their support networks; our Vision, to support maintenance and innovations in knowledge and practice to provide the best possible treatment and care; and our Mission, to support professional development, cross-disciplinary engagement, and strengthen the voice of lived experience. I believe our activities throughout 2023 have enacted these intentions, from the fabulous Darwin conference to our ever-growing suite of evidence-based resources, our BRAINSPaN community of practice, and developing plans for our lived experience sub-committee.
Our recent survey of 2023 conference attendees was informative in guiding some of the intentions we now have for 2024. A majority of the attendees had been loyal attendees of ASSBI conferences for many years, which is wonderful, but we had fewer attendees in their early career. We are now brainstorming ways to encourage engagement with early career clinicians and researchers, and would love to hear your ideas about this. We hope to see plenty of you at the 2024 ASSBI Conference, to be held in Sydney from 2-4 May 2024 at the Four Seasons Hotel. The program is shaping up beautifully, including a reasonably priced conference dinner with DJ and dancefloor, which is always a personal highlight!
Plans for the Global Neuropsychology Congress in Porto, Portugal in mid-2024 (https://www.globalneuropsychology.org), which is jointly hosted by ASSBI, INS, FESN and SLAN, are also progressing well. There will be an excellent program of keynote and invited speakers, symposia and roundtables on a range of contemporary topics. Keep your eye out for the call for abstracts for oral and poster presentations, coming any day now.
I hope that you all have a relaxing festive season enjoying delicious food with family and friends. Let’s hope that we all start 2024 restored and ready for whatever the future brings.Dana Wong, President, ASSBI