High-profile Cambridge events bring noncommunicable diseases into focus in January


Events held by the Humanitarian Centre, the Cambridge Institute of Public Health, and One Nucleus present a unique opportunity to inspire the Cambridge health care community to take a fresh look at the noncommunicable disease (NCD) epidemic and to direct future research, development, policy and practice.

As unwieldy as they are, the words “noncommunicable diseases” are on the tip of everyone’s tongues—at least, everyone in health care—and rightly so. The “four main” noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes) kill three in five people worldwide, and cause serious socioeconomic harm within all countries, particularly developing nations.  

This past September, the biggest names in health gathered in New York for the UN Summit on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). The achievements and disappointments of this meeting have triggered a tidal wave of interest and opinions on the future of a global NCD agenda.

Cambridge, drawing on its long-term strengths in NCD research and practice (because isn’t Cambridge always at the forefront of these international trends?), is riding the wave with three high-profile events, within just six days of one another this month (January 2012).

Such a concentrated burst of NCD activity presents a unique opportunity to inspire the Cambridge healthcare community to take a fresh look at the NCD epidemic, and take action to direct future research, development, policy and practice.

Friday 20 January: The Cambridge Post-UN Summit Conference on NCDs and Mental Health in Developing Countries’ will be held at Clare College, University of Cambridge. It will capitalise on the energy the UN Summit created around noncommunicable diseases, and focus it on the UK’s potential to alleviate the harm these diseases cause in developing countries. The Conference includes presentations from world-renowned experts in NCD research, policy and practice --including Richard Smith and Ann Keeling. The outcomes of the Conference will be translated into key messages and brought to the attention of MPs, Parliamentarians, civil servants, and policy-makers at a reception in the House of Commons on the 31st of January, 2012. This event is hosted by The Humanitarian Centre, a Cambridge-based NGO, in partnership with the Cambridge Institute of Public Health and the Centre for Science and Policy.

Monday 23 January: ‘The Nutrition Transition’ will focus on under-reported issues in nutrition. Big changes in eating behaviours are occurring: our food supply is seeing the emergence of hundreds of thousands of new processed foods, at the same time that there is a marked change in how and when we eat. Professor Barry Popkin, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, founder of the Division of Nutrition Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina—and author of The World is Fat—will be flying in to Cambridge, to give his insights into some of the options we face as we attempt to reconcile our biology with modern food systems, and create an overall healthier diet. This event is hosted by CEDAR (centre for diet and activity research), part of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health in Cambridge, and will take place at the Cambridge Research Institute.

Thursday 26 January :
‘CNS and Ageing’ will bring neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, motor neurone diseases and multiple sclerosis, to the fore. The event is hosted by One Nucleus, a membership organisation for international life science and healthcare companies, and is part of their Life Sciences Leadership Series. The set of outstanding speakers it will bring together should invoke a vibrant, sophisticated discussion around a set of diseases that affects vast numbers of people in the UK and beyond. This event will also take place at Clare College, University of Cambridge.



Please contact Anne Radl, Project Manager of the Cambridge Global Health Year at the Humanitarian Centre, for more information.

E: anne.radl@humanitariancentre.org 

T: +44 (0) 1223 760 885


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