Welcome from CEO NHMRC: Prof Warwick Anderson
Opening message: The Honourable Tanya Plibersek
Welcome to Country Speaker: Uncle Lewis O’Brien
Chair – Prof James Best
Prof Andrew Biankin
Genetics and Personalised Medicine
Prof Steven Nicholls
Prof David James
Diabetes and Obesity
Prof Helen Christensen
Prof Sandra Eades
Prof John Hopwood
All would agree that good health is our most important asset and that engagement in life and its enjoyment depend on the state of our health. The areas of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, and mental ill health are very important health challenges for the Australian population, that reduce both the quality and length of life. But the burden from these illnesses is not evenly spread through the population. Indigenous Australians are affected disproportionately, raising the broader issue of the social determinants of health and providing a challenge that includes but is not limited to the healthcare system. Understanding through health and medical research the basis of human illness, from a molecular to a societal level, is the first step to improved prevention and treatment.
The conditions of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity and mental ill health are now well known to overlap in their clinical manifestations and in their aetiology. Based on extensive basic and clinical research, discoveries in recent years have demonstrated efficacy in preventive and therapeutic measures. How to take full advantage of those discoveries by translating them into effective treatment at the population level remains a research challenge. How to target treatments to those most at risk and most likely to benefit, is also an important research question. I am sure that this opening session of the meeting will answer many of these questions but will raise even more.