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Inaugural Barbara Dicker Oration

Date posted: Wednesday 1 Aug 2012

Leading international researcher, clinician and mental health advocate, Professor Patrick McGorry AO, delivered the inaugural Barbara Dicker Oration during the launch of the Barbara Dicker Brain Sciences Foundation on 1 August at Swinburne University of Technology, in Melbourne.

Professor McGorry is the Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health and a Director of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

Professor McGorry was named Australian of the Year in 2010 in recognition of his contribution to the improvement of the youth mental health sector that has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of young people around the world. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2010.

The Barbara Dicker Brain Sciences Foundation has been established at Swinburne by former Hawthorn Football Club president and head of the Victorian Bushfires Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, Ian Dicker AM, and family to honour the memory of his late wife, Barbara.

The Foundation aims to raise awareness of applied research in brain and psychological sciences, in particular the treatment and prevention of sleep disorders, anxiety and depression, dementia and other neurological and psychological disorders.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Linda Kristjanson, said the university was proud and honoured that the Dicker Family chose Swinburne as the place for the Barbara Dicker Brain Sciences Foundation.

"Swinburne shares the Dicker family's vision of making a significant and visible impact to improve the lives of people affected by neurological and psychological disorders and is committed to research in the field of brain and psychological sciences," Professor Kristjanson said.

"The collaboration between Swinburne and the Dicker family will enable further research into sleep disorders, anxiety and depression and dementia, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure, treatment and prevention," she said.

One in two people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. At least one in five people are currently experiencing a mental health problem. In the developed world, the burden of mental health disorders is now overtaking that of physical health disorders.

The Foundation, which supports research in the areas of dementia, depression and anxiety, and sleep disorders, will be located within the Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre at Swinburne's Hawthorn campus.

Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre Director, Professor Michael Kyrios said the Foundation would compliment the work already being undertaken in the Brain and Psychological Sciences Research centre at Swinburne, and also provide funding for staff and research projects in the field of brain and psychological sciences.

"Swinburne has recently opened a world class neuro-imaging facility, with the only Magnetroencephalography (MEG) in Victoria and the only open access MEG in Australia," Professor Kyrios said.

"Swinburne has world class expertise in translating psychological knowledge into practical applications. An example is our e-Therapy group which leads the world in the development and dissemination of on-line treatments for mental health disorders," Professor Kyrios said.

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