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'Tell Me About' Public Lecture Series 2017-2018

The Cuban Health System: our legacy from Che Guevara and Fidel Castro

Date: Thursday 26 October 2017 5.15pm-6.15pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 2.57, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, 24 D’Olier Street, Dublin 2

Title: The Cuban Health System: our legacy from Che Guevara and Fidel Castro

Speaker: Dr Una Lynch, Sonrisa Solutions Limited

On January 1st 1959 a young lawyer (Fidel Castro) and doctor (Ernesto Che Guevara) entered government in Cuba and laid the foundations for a system of governance that has continued unabated to the present day. The creation of a health system ‘For All’ was central to the vision of the fledgling ‘revolutionary’ government in 1959. October 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Che’s death in the Bolivian mountains and November 2017 the first anniversary of Fidel’s death.

This lecture reflects on their legacy by analysing the evolution, development and emergence of the Cuban health system as a world renowned model of excellence. It will highlight the strong parallels with the development of the NHS and use comparative statistics to illuminate the fact that excellent health outcomes are effective use of resources.

“Cuba provides solid evidence that factors other than national wealth can produce health outcomes that rival that in the richest nations.” (Dr Margaret Chan, Director General World Health Organisation, 2009)

Cuba is currently spending about $1,800 person on health; spending in Ireland is around $3,800 and our neighbours in the USA spend over $9,000. Nevertheless all three countries have very comparable health indicators including life expectancy and infant mortality rates.

Dr Una Lynch is midwife and public health nurse. She has worked in academia, practice and policy across the island of Ireland, Latin America, Africa and with the WHO in Copenhagen. Her primary areas of interest are ageing with dignity across the life course. She has led a number of EU and international research projects including a systematic review of social accountability and inclusive service delivery for Australia Aid. Her interest in Che Guevara started in the 1990s when she worked for two years as a volunteer in Bolivia with a Jesuit run radio station. The quest for learning about the Cuban health system started a few later during her MSc in Community Health at Trinity College Dublin. Her doctoral thesis “Public Health: why are the Cubans so successful?” was completed in 2007 and for the last ten years her work with Cuba has focused primarily on healthy ageing.

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Mental Health in the world and the environment, as distinct from in the person

Date: Monday 20 November 2017 5.15pm-6.15pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 2.57, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, 24 D’Olier Street, Dublin 2

Title: Mental Health in the world and the environment, as distinct from in the person

Speaker: Professor Richard Bentall, Professor of Psychology, University of Sheffield

In this presentation, Professor Bentall will focus on why social risk factors (for example childhood adversities such as poverty, abuse, and bullying) provoke the cognitive and emotional changes that lead to the development of the symptoms of mental distress.

Richard Bentall is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Sheffield and has previously held chairs at Liverpool University, Manchester University and Bangor University. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the British Academy.

He graduated with a BSc and then a PhD in experimental psychology at the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University) and then completed his clinical training at Liverpool University. He also holds an MA in philosophy applied to health care awarded by University College Swansea (now Swansea University). His research interests have mainly focused on psychosis. He has studied the cognitive and emotional mechanisms involved in psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoid delusions and manic states, using methods ranging from psychological experiments, and experience sampling to functional magnetic resonance imaging. Most recently, his research has focused on why social risk factors (for example childhood adversities such as poverty, abuse, and bullying) provoke the cognitive and emotional changes that lead to these symptoms. In collaboration with colleagues at Manchester and elsewhere he has also conducted large scale randomized controlled trials of psychological interventions for people diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and prodromal psychosis. He has published over 250 peer-review papers and a number of books, including Madness explained: Psychosis and human nature (Penguin, 2003) and Doctoring the mind: Why psychiatric treatments fail (Penguin, 2009).

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Social Entrepreneurs - the panacea for the poorest on our planet

Due to Unforeseen Circumstances it has been necessary to Cancel event we apologise for any inconvenience.

Speaker: John O' Shea, Founder and former CEO of GOAL

Date: Thursday 30 November 2017, 5.15pm-6.15pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 2.57, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, 24 D’Olier Street, Dublin 2

A single individual, blessed with passion, integrity of purpose, a fierce determination to succeed and persuasive powers can, I am convinced, make a meaningful contribution in the on-going battle against abject poverty and deprivation in the Forgotten World.

History is littered with stories of the Herculean achievements of individuals who would not take no for an answer in their relentless quest to ensure that the principle of human rights for all was a reality and not simply an aspiration. Are we not all inspired today by the heroic actions and extraordinary courage of teenage Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai

That the international community has failed miserably in its moral obligation to care for and love the poorest, the most neglected and needy people on our planet, is not in dispute. The downtrodden, the rejected, the hungry - those deprived of the very basic necessities of life - have been treated by their fellow man in a brutal and indifferent fashion, since records were first established.

Thankfully, a small army of individuals from diverse backgrounds, were not prepared to sit back and allow the unwanted and the forgotten to be totally ignored. In a variety of innovative measures these remarkable people saw it as their mission to ensure that as many as possible of the millions who are denied the chance to live their lives to the fullest, get that opportunity.

Victor Hugo famously said that there was one thing more powerful than the strongest army on the planet… an idea whose time has arrived.

The time for social entrepreneurs to assert themselves is NOW.

John O'Shea: In 1977, sports journalist John O’Shea interrupted a successful media career to turn his attention to helping the group of people, referred to by Saint Teresa of Calcutta as the “Poorest of the Poor” and found that he had a talent for this endeavour. Now after a 35 year stint and having helped raise in excess of $1 billion, he believes the time is opportune to share his motivational stories with others, in the hope of inspiring another generation to take up the challenge of alleviating the suffering of the forgotten on our planet

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The Stress Test


Speaker: Ian H Robertson PhD: Co-Director Global Brain Health Institute and Professor Emeritus Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience

Date: Thursday 25 January 2018, 5.15pm-6.15pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 2.57, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, 24 D’Olier Street, Dublin 2

Stress can make you emotionally stronger and mentally sharper. We have all heard the expression “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger” and the remarkable fact is that this is true, within limits. This talk explains what these limits are and comes up with a dizzying conclusion about emotional resilience – too little stress can be as bad for you as too much stress. Stress acts like a drug that changes the chemistry of our brains, but like many drugs, it only works at the right dose – too little or too much, disrupts the brain. There is a ‘sweet spot’ of stress that “ups our game” not only emotionally, but also in terms of memory and focus. Older people who suffer certain types of stress, for instance, end up mentally sharper than those who don’t experience stress and children and teenagers who face moderate adversity in their lives end up much more emotionally robust than those who do not. But using stress for positive ends hangs on how we think about it and this books unravels the fascinating scientific and personal tale of how our minds can harness pressure to make us stronger and sharper.

Ian H Robertson: as an eminent cognitive neuroscientist and a trained clinical psychologist, Ian has a unique ability to bridge the gap between brain science, human psychology and the personal challenges that every single person on the planet faces from time to time. His multiply-translated popular books include The Stress Test, Mind Sculpture, The Mind’s Eye, Stay Sharp and The Winner Effect, which have been reviewed, excerpted or covered across the world from CBS News to The Times of India and The Washington Times to the Guardian. Ian Robertson is co-director of the Global Brain Health Institute (www.gbhi.org) and is a Visiting Professor at University College London. He is an international expert on mind-brain links in emotional and brain disorders. He also has held senior appointments at, Columbia, Cambridge, and Toronto universities.

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