Atlantic Institute Announces Winners of the Inaugural Atlantic Senior Fellows Awards

Two projects emblematic of the vision and values of the Atlantic Fellows win £50 000 each

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OXFORD, UK – The Atlantic Institute has awarded the inaugural Atlantic Senior Fellows Awards to two projects that advance its mission to create fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies.

This year’s Atlantic Senior Fellows awards, worth £50 000 each and open to Fellows who have graduated their programs, were presented to two teams for their impactful work:

• The East Mediterranean Brain Health Initiative (EMBHI)

EMBHI is a joint project of three Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health: Hany Ibrahim of Cairo, Egypt, Elaine Howard of Kilkenny, Ireland, and Stelios Zygouris of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Designed primarily to help people with dementia in underserved populations, the EMBHI promotes information and expertise sharing among participating countries. Starting with Greece and Egypt, the aim is to create a vibrant community of expertise in the East Mediterranean that will work collaboratively to implement better brain health services.

• The Development of a Health Impact Assessment Framework for the Philippines

This is a joint initiative of two Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity in Southeast Asia: Somporn Pengkam of Thailand and Beverly Lorraine Chua Ho of the Philippines.

This project successfully introduces a new way of engaging deeply with local communities in the Philippines to understand and address the health impacts of large-scale industrial projects. Both Pengkam and Ho see rich potential for sharing their experience more broadly in the Southeast Asia region.

Atlantic Institute Executive Director, Dr Penelope Brook said the inaugural Senior Fellow Awards recognise, support and celebrate impactful work that is emblematic of the vision and values of the Atlantic Fellows global community.

Four projects in all were shortlisted for the Senior Fellow Awards: other finalists were Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity, Jane Sloane for her project: Framing Equality and comedian and monologuist, Josh Kornbluth, Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health for his project: Citizen Brain. Both awards were presented at a ceremony at Rhodes House in Oxford where the Atlantic Institute is based and which was attended by more than 130 Fellows from the seven global Atlantic Fellows programs. Next year will see four Atlantic Senior Fellow Awards presented, each worth £50 000 to align with the year on year increase in the number of Fellows.

The Atlantic Fellows is supported by Atlantic Philanthropies.

About the winners:

The East Mediterranean Brain Health Initiative

• Elaine Howard, Kilkenny, Ireland: Elaine holds a master’s of science in dementia from Trinity College Dublin. Working in both the private and NGO health care sectors, her expertise lies in developing and implementing personalized care for people with dementia, facilitating changes in practice, and sharing that knowledge to enable practice and policy change across the wider sector. She also has extensive experience in operational management and service model development and implementation within the financial services sector.

• Hany Ibrahim, Cairo, Egypt: Hany is a geriatrician in the Geriatric and Gerontology Department, Ain Shams University Hospital, Cairo, Egypt. He completed his residency in both geriatric medicine and internal medicine at Ain Shams University Hospital with clinical experience in a variety of elderly care programs, such as acute, sub-acute, long term care, home care, and critical care management. He holds a master’s of science degree in late onset depression and a doctorate degree in geriatric medicine from Ain Shams University. He also holds a diploma in hospital management. Currently, Ibrahim is a lecturer in geriatric medicine and director of the Geriatric Intensive Care Unit at Ain Shams University Hospital.

• Stelios Zygouris, Thessaloniki, Greece: Stelios is a neuropsychologist focusing on computerized cognitive testing and specializing in the use of serious games for cognitive screening. He created the first serious game-based cognitive screen and participated in the design and translation into Greek of various computerized cognitive tests. He is a PhD candidate in a joint program at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Network Aging Research at the University of Heidelberg, with a scholarship from the Robert Bosch Foundation Stuttgart. His PhD project focuses on the use of longitudinal performance data on a self-administered serious game to detect mild cognitive impairment.

The Development of a Health Impact Assessment Framework for the Philippines

• Beverly Ho, Manila Philippines: Beverly is Health Research Division Chief at the Philippines Department of Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau. She works on providing the Department of Health with evidence needed to support health systems reforms to improve the health of Filipinos equitably and efficiently.

• Somporn Pengkam: Somporn is a Community Health Impact Assessment Practitioner based in Udon Thani, Thailand. She works with rights litigators and academics to facilitate community health impact assessment learning in Thailand and Myanmar.

About the Atlantic Fellows

There are currently almost 400 Atlantic Fellows from 61 countries and that number is expected to rise to almost 3000 over the next decade.

About the Atlantic Institute

The Atlantic Institute, based at Rhodes House, University of Oxford, supports the global network of Atlantic Fellows to learn and work across programs, borders and disciplines to advance fairer, healthier more inclusive societies. It supports a lifelong community of action among Atlantic Fellows by providing them with access to long-term resources, wider networks and opportunities to connect, learn and collaborate to tackle inequities.

About Atlantic Philanthropies

The Atlantic Philanthropies have committed over $660M, alongside other partner organizations and governments, to support the work of a global network of thousands of Atlantic Fellows over the next two decades, and beyond.

This investment – in both the Atlantic Fellows and the institutions that will support and nurture them – is the foundation’s biggest bet ever. It is the culmination of Atlantic’s long history of investing in people and in their vision, opportunity and ability to realize a better world.

For more information about the Atlantic Senior Fellows Awards and Programs:



Fionnuala Sweeney, Director of Communications, Atlantic Institute

For pictures of the winners:

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:

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

- Ministry of Health

- Government of Chile:

Read the full report from Andrea Slachevsky here.

GBHI Neurologists Call for Action as Health and Socioeconomic Disparities Compromise Brain Health

By Camellia Rodriguez-SackByrne

Socioeconomic and health disparities compromise a person’s well-being, with specific risks for their brain health, writes Elisa de Paula França Resende, MD, Jorge Jesus Llibre Guerra, MD, MS and Bruce Miller, MD, of the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI). In a recent article in Jama Neurology, the authors emphasize how these disparities influence dementia prevalence in communities across the globe.

“A reasonable proportion of risks are attributable to conditions that can be changed across an individual’s life span,” the authors say.

Can is the operative word. With risk factors for dementia such as access to quality education, healthy diet, treatments for ongoing health conditions, and protection against head injuries not equally available across countries, widespread and timely access to these basic resources is crucial. Access also requires will – both political and economic – to create change.

The statistics they cite are sobering. Dementia is more prevalent and occurs 10 years earlier in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. Further, low educational attainment is associated with higher risk of developing symptoms and earlier symptom onset. Equally concerning is the limited access to affordable and healthy food as well as the increased cognitive risk of highly stressful situations on vulnerable individuals.

The authors make recommendations on how to advance equity:

  1. Increase funding for research on dementia prevention.

  2. Advance policies that address socioeconomic and health inequities related to dementia and having dementia plans prioritize actions to reduce inequities in prevention and care.

  3. Seek additional measures to define neurogenerative disease internationally since biomarkers are not accessible in many parts of the world.

  4. Increase widespread awareness of health and socioeconomic inequities that put people at risk for dementia.

Two of the authors, Resende and Llibre Guerra, are Senior Fellows from the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program at GBHI, a training program based at University of California, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin that aims to address inequities in brain health.

“The rigorous training of new leaders in brain health around the world gives societies everywhere a chance to transform how they view and care for their elders,” says Miller, co-director of GBHI.

The authors also highlight the important role of nonprofit organizations such as Alzheimer’s Disease International and the Alzheimer’s Association. With partnerships on the ground, these groups generate information such as comprehensive global dementia reports and provide funding for training programs and research.

Since the article’s publication, the authors have received positive feedback.

“My colleagues from Brazil thank me for addressing such an important issue for our country and for the world,” says Resende. “This Viewpoint article allowed us to spread worldwide the GBHI core message: we need to address inequities if we want a world without dementia and brain diseases in the future.”  

Their call to action is timely, with the prevalence of dementia expected to increase in the years ahead and the sharpest increases expected in the low- and middle-income countries.

The neurologist trio strikes a chord of hope as representatives of a larger global network of seven Atlantic Fellows programs. The Atlantic Fellows program at GBHI and its sister programs work to advance fairer, healthier, more inclusive societies. With a cadre of leaders completing intensive training and gaining connections with peers around the globe, fellows return to their communities upon completion of their training to use newly-honed skills to be change makers and champions for equity.

“I am excited about the Atlantic Fellows program,” says Llibre Guerra. “It’s unique in our focus on equity, vulnerable populations, a global approach, and a powerful mix of disciplines. As a result, the Atlantic Fellows will help to translate research evidence and innovation into more informed and effective policies targeting vulnerable populations and shaping a recipe for global equity.”