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Medical Health Aged Care, Seniors Interest

Dementia Expert Honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award

Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), UNSW Sydney 2 mins read
CHeBA Co-Director Professor Henry Brodaty AO with Graeme Samuel AC

At the 2024 Australian Dementia Research Forum, Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) Professor Henry Brodaty AO was acknowledged for his lifetime service to dementia. 

In 1982, 42 years ago, inspired by his own personal experience and what was happening in USA and UK, Henry Brodaty led a group that established the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Society or ADARDS, NSW. Similar organisations sprang up across other states, and in 1984 they formed ADARDS Australia, later rebranded as Alzheimer's Australia and now as Dementia Australia.

What Henry and his colleagues triggered was the beginning of a movement that was to transform care, support, public policy and research in Australia and internationally. This worldwide movement we know as Alzheimer's Disease International, which now has 120 national associations as members.

Gradually Henry moved into research and clinical work and later into policy, until becoming a full time psychogeriatrician in 1990. Over the last 30 years he has continued as a clinician, policy advisor and strong advocate for people living with dementia and their carers. He is the Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at UNSW Sydney, where he is Scientia Professor of Ageing and Mental Health. At CHeBA he co-leads a team of expert researchers and students to advance knowledge in the field of brain ageing.

“It's been an incredible journey and one which continues to excite me,” he says.

“People always ask what's the latest in research? The community is hungry for news. And today when for the first time Australians aged over 64 outnumber children aged under 15, more of us are worried.

“Dementia is such a superb paradigm for the complexity of health care.  Clinicians, researchers, aged care providers and policy makers need to grapple with medical, psychiatric, social, policy and economic issues.

"For people affected and their families they are grateful for the help we can give them and for the research that may ultimately benefit their lives and those of their children and grandchildren.”

Henry has published over 800 papers and book chapters and his achievements have been recognised by becoming an officer of the Order of Australia in 2000 and in June 2016 was recipient of the International Ryman Prize for the world’s best development, advancement or achievement that enhances quality of life for older people. In 2015 he was elected to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. In 2022, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia recognised him for his excellence and input in the field of social sciences, with his work having had major impacts on policy, services, research and community advocacy for older people.

He tells us that we are now at an exciting time with developments in treatments, biological markers, digital markers, understanding of risk factors, ways to benefit to help people with dementia live positively and for their families to cope better. The new National Action Plan for Dementia Care will be released imminently.

At the Australian Dementia Research Forum Henry thanked his nominators and the committee for this prestigious award and, importantly, acknowledges his many colleagues and his wife Karol for giving him the space to contribute.


Contact details:

Heidi Douglass

h.douglass@unsw.edu.au

0435 579 202

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