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July 6, 2009

Genomics News
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» First ever main session on genetics at ICN Congress

I was very pleased to be invited to speak at the ICN’s first ever main session devoted to genetics. ‘Sharing the platform’ alongside Carole Kenner from the US and Merlyn Glass from South Africa, we were pleased to see about 100 delegates at the session. There was clearly a lot of interest in genetics, particularly from the public health perspective. During the discussion that followed our talks, one delegate spoke quite passionately about the need for better educated health professionals, and that in South Africa, the focus on HIV and AIDS should not detract for example from the care that a mother and her baby with Down syndrome and cardiac defects, should also receive. As she said, ‘Every mother counts; every child counts’.

As Emma mentioned, the NHS National Genetics Education & Development Centre resources disappeared rapidly from our stall. In the first few hours, people were queuing to gain access to our booth, as the photograph demonstrates.

By lunch time on the first day, just about everything had gone. After the photograph below was taken, we went for a quick cup of coffee. On our return, we found that even the items displayed on the walls had been removed! However, we were delighted that people continued to visit our empty stall during the rest of the conference to talk to us about genetics. It seems that the ICN having a focus on genetics and genetic education was timely.

March 25, 2009

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» Phantastic: Phoenix and Philadelphia

Now the jet lag has passed (and the sleepless nights ahead of giving evidence at the House of Lords!) I thought I should blog about the conferences in Phoenix and Philadelphia.

The long flight to Phoenix culminated in a one hour wait at immigration (sorry, Homeland security) before being threatened with deportation because (horrors!) I had not removed the little green form stapled to my passport from my visit last June. I resisted the temptation to snap ‘well you invited me’ and was reluctantly allowed entry to the very warm city of Phoenix (79oF). Here I presented at the pre-conference of the American Academy of Nursing, and met Dr Tesfamicael Ghebrehiwet, Consultant in Nursing & Health Policy at the International Council of Nurses. He has invited me to speak at the ICN Congress in Durban next summer, when there will be a plenary session on genetics.

I left before the main conference, leaving Emma to present our poster on proposed collaborative work with US colleagues, on Telling Stories.

I guess the US was an interesting place to be during the presidential election, and our hotel at Grand Canyon (at the somewhat lower temperature of 29oF) was also a polling station. Things there were very subdued, but as McCain county, I suppose they would be.

On to Philadelphia, for the 21st Annual ISONG Conference. Here, Emma and I (and Colin Barker from NGEDC Birmingham) were kept busy – one pre-conference talk, two conference papers, the NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre stand, chairing a session, and four meetings! The conference was very well attended with 180 delegates, and as always, very busy. Our Centre stand attracted a great deal of interest, with virtually all of the resources that we shipped over (in two large boxes) disappearing, most during the first morning. One delegate commented that it was worth coming to the conference just for our stand. The interest and enthusiasm for Telling Stories was quite overwhelming too.

The pre-conference and conference programmes ran over four days, and included speakers from across the globe, with the closing keynote paper from Francis Collins. He is a very charismatic speaker, and captivated the audience with his tale of ‘the President’s pen’, following his attendance at the Oval office to witness the signing of GINA, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act.

All in all, a busy, interesting and informative 10 days.

ISONG - The stampede begins!

ISONG - 
Emma and a selection of the Centre's resources

September 17, 2008

Genomics News
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» GPU descends on Cambridge

The GPU was out in force at the Nurse Education Tomorrow conference, Churchill College Cambridge at the beginning of this month. Kevin McDonald and Diana De were there to present posters, Kevin reviewing the approach we took to delivering the genetics module that forms part of the MSc Professional Practice portfolio. Diana’s poster reported on her study looking at the experiences of overseas nursing students on an adaptation programme.

Emma Tonkin presented the core paper for the Flexible Learning theme session. This outlined the strategy of the NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre in relation to its nursing programme. I also presented a core paper on our Telling Stories work. Originally, this was to have been for the theme session on the Role of the User, but some last minute withdrawals saw this theme being merged with the Learning & Teaching Strategies theme. This meant we had a larger audience and I was pleased when one delegate told me she was glad to have heard the presentation as she had not planned to attend our theme! I was even more please when another delegate from New Zealand announced during her talk that as a result of our paper, she was going to go back and start using Telling Stories on her own course. Of course, I’d gladly pop over there to talk her through its use…

It was a very busy conference, with (for me) an unfamiliar approach of the themed sessions – which meant you couldn’t really dash from one theme to another, but had to stay and work within your group. I think it worked.