Brian Lawlor Presents a Dementia Policy Paper to the Chilean National Congress

GBHI Deputy Executive Director Brian Lawlor was invited to Santiago, Chile, June 19-21, 2019, as part of the presentation of a Policy Paper about the Chilean National Plan of Dementia.

By Andrea Slachevsky

The Chilean National Plan of Dementia started in 2017 and in 2018 has been implemented as a Pilot in three regions across the country. The policy paper is a multi-professional effort created by clinicals, academics and patients’ organizations to emphasize and create awareness in the Chilean policy makers and politicians about dementia, inviting them to put dementia as a relevant issue in the political scene. It proposes the need to keep supporting the National Plan and expand it nationwide.

Prof. Lawlor visited one of the three Chilean memory units in the Hospital del Salvador. He was able to experience first-hand the multidisciplinary work that is done there and share his valuable knowledge. He exalted the unit’s members to not just keep up the good work, but also to start evaluating the progress and creating evidence that could help to change the Chilean political mentality. He also noted the importance of the teaching role of the memory unit, generating more trainees in dementia (both medical and non-medical professionals), and helping to mitigate the gap of knowledge between experts and primary care.

Prof. Lawlor also participated in the launch of the policy paper, giving the main lecture of the morning to a crowded and multidisciplinary audience that included patients, caregivers, clinicians, academics, senators, government personalities, and even the Chilean ministry of health.

The wonderful talk of Prof. Lawlor emphasized the importance of hope and humanity in all the process of dementia care, from prevention, diagnosis, treatment and caregiver’s care. He also showed the significant role of GBHI in developing the generation of leaders in Brain Health worldwide, and shared the interest of GBHI to work with Chileans to create new leaders that could drive the change. The first two Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health at GBHI from Chile will start later this year, and perhaps many more to come.

Dr. Lawlor’s speech was greeted with a standing ovation and generated an immediate impact in the public and in dementia care in Chile. Just a few hours after the presentation of Prof. Lawlor, the Chilean Ministry of Health announced via the government website his intention to prioritize Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias in the agenda, trying to ensure access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment to every Chilean, no matter their socioeconomic status.

The visit of Brian Lawlor was cover by the University of Chile:

http://www.uchile.cl/noticias/154951/experto-en-demencias-conocio-el-trabajo-de-unidad-de-memoria

The impact of the policy paper was reported by several media report and the web page of

- Ministry of Health

https://www.minsal.cl/gobierno-evalua-nuevas-enfermedades-para-incorporar-en-el-auge/

- Government of Chile:

https://www.gob.cl/noticias/gobierno-evalua-nuevas-enfermedades-para-incorporar-en-el-auge/

Read the full report from Andrea Slachevsky here.