From the President: Fulfilling Our Mission

Vladimir Hachinski

Vladimir Hachinski

Our mission is “to foster quality  neurology and brain health  worldwide.” That is a broad and challenging mandate. We are addressing it by involving individuals, organizations and alliances. The individual initiatives come through the Grants-in-Aid competition, open to all members of the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) and its member societies. The organizational approach is accomplished through the enhanced and expanded Committees and Initiatives. In addition, the WFN has successfully pursued alliances, which magnify the impact of our initiatives and that of our colleagues.


We held a second competition this year. The difference from last year was that we asked the participation of the leaders of other brain-related organizations, as I reported in my June 2012 column. We are happy to announce the following winners:

Dr. Aisha Umar

Proposal for training grant for neuroimaging training for neurology trainees and neurologists in West Africa, $23,000

Dr. Chongtin Tan

Visiting professor in Africa, $5,000

Dr. Godwin Mamutse

Neurology teaching in Zimbabwe, $14,450

Dr. Marco Medina

WFN Pan American regional proposal, $2,000

Dr. Juriaan Peters

BlazeEEG: A web-based EEG platform, $12,000

Dr. Lionel Carmant

Development of mobile clinic for neurological care in Haiti, $17,000

Dr. Richard Walker

Parkinson’s disease nurse specialist (jointly funded with the Movement Disorders Society), $22,080

Professor Werner Poewe

Movement Disorder Society Europe section and WFN fellowship program for unserviced countries in Africa (jointly funded with the Movement Disorder Society), $11,107

Dr. Roberto Cilia

Neurology training for non-neurologists in Ghana (jointly funded with the Movement Disorder Society), $20,000

Dr. Cheryl Bushnell and Gabrielle DeVeber

International maternal newborn stroke registry (jointly funded with the World Stroke Organization), $20,000

A new competition will take place in 2013, probably with enhanced funding and again in alliance with our partners. The amount that will be available will depend in part on how much money will be devoted to the priorities of the WFN Committees and Initiatives. We expect to also invest in the infrastructure to support the function of our Committees and Initiatives. We want to also invest in increasing our profile, which has been considerably enhanced in the recent past.

We are aware that most of the individuals applying for grants are not used to the process so we are pleased to offer for the 2013 competition the help of the hairs of the Continental Initiatives to assign someone to make the grants more competitive. The chairs of the Initiatives are:

  • Vladimir Hachinski, Africa Initiative
  • Ryuji Kaji, Asia Initiative
  • Gustavo Roman, Latin-America Initiative

You may contact these chairs through Rebecca Clarke at

Committees and Initiatives

At the moment, the Committees and Initiatives have access to organizing conference calls to communicate with its members. We are trying to make this easier and more efficient. The central office of the WFN will arrange for a minimum of meetings twice annually of all the Committees and Initiatives. This will be arranged by the central office so that the logistics of getting in touch with the participants will be conducted by the staff and not as in the past by the chair of the committee.

We will strive to have a standard method of recording minutes so this can be the basis of ongoing reports of the different Committees and Initiatives and available to the members of the respective committees and also to all the trustees. The idea is that the basis of this Committee and Initiatives report will provide the president for his newly planned communication with the trustees that will have a dedicated site on our website so that documents can be placed and be available for perusal at any time.

Additional issues will be posed to the delegates asking for their comments and opinions, and at times, a vote in principle. This is again something that will be organized by the central office. We are also exploring the viability of having virtual meetings in between the annual face-to-face meetings to make sure that all 114 representatives of our member societies can participate and have more involvement by the delegates.

Please let me know if you think that we should have electronic voting on issues as required, e.g. every six months, once virtually and once face-to-face. Please contact with your comments.

We will continue to work assiduously to put the brain on the world agenda. I was asked to contribute an article for the G8 meeting in Chicago. There were also articles contributed by U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, policymakers and academics.


One of the greatest satisfactions of this administration has been the willingness of other international and specialty organizations to work with us. We led the formation of the World Brain Alliance as reported in my June 2011 President’s column. The Brain Alliance involves all of the major brain-related organizations, including the International Brain Research Organization, the WFN and eight others.

The World Brain Alliance agenda includes advocacy. I represented the World Brain Alliance at a high-level ministerial meeting in April 2012 in Moscow and at two United Nations meetings, including the one that adopted the non-communicable diseases resolution in September 2011.

We will continue to work assiduously to put the brain on the world agenda. I was asked to contribute an article for the G8 meeting in Chicago. There were also articles contributed by U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, policymakers and academics. If you are interested, write to me at, and I will send you a copy of the article.

Vice President Werner Hacke has been working on the implementation of a network of brain neurospecialty organizations, and Donna Bergen, co-chair of the Applied Research Committee with Werner Poewe (Austria) and co-chair of the Scientific Program committee of the World Congress of Neurology to be held Sept. 21-26, 2013, in Vienna, has organized several sessions to be co-sponsored by our partners, including the World Psychiatry Association, the International League Against Epilepsy, the International Child Neurology Association, the Movement Disorder Society, the World Federation of  Neurosurgical Societies and the World Stroke Organization.

From the individual initiatives to the Committees and Initiatives, societies and the larger brain organizations, we strive to accomplish our mission at every level, so that ultimately we can make a big difference to our patients, and more importantly, to prevent many more individuals from ever becoming neurological patients at all.