BrainTalks is a forum for academics and community members to dialogue about the rapidly expanding information in neuroscience. The goal is for neuroscientists, neurologists, neuroradiologists, psychiatrists, and people from affiliated fields to meet and dialogue monthly. Affiliated fields include, but are not restricted to: computer science, psychology, software design and computer engineering, and data visualization. The general public is also welcome to attend, as the dissemination of knowledge is an important goal of the series. The structure is a casual environment with brief presentations by local experts that challenge and inspire dialogue. Discussions focus on current knowledge about the mind and our understanding of how the mind works.
BrainTalks is now part of the programming for the University of Birtish Columbia’s Department of Psychiatry, a position it has held for one year. The two Departments of Education, and Continuing Professional Development, include BrainTalks at UBC as part of their goal to enhance public knowledge of psychiatry, enhance clinician knowledge in areas that may affect psychiatric practice, and disseminate recent research in brain science to the public.
The BrainTalks series, was inspired in part by the popularity of the TED Talks series. Founded by Dr. Maia Love, the interest was to create a forum for recent discoveries in brain science to be shared with a diverse array of related professionals, in the hopes of promoting excellence in research, facilitating research and clinician connections and discussion, and disseminating knowledge to the general public. Additionally, the hope to reduce stigma associated with mental illness, and promote compassion for those suffering with brain illnesses, be they called neurologic or psychiatric, was part of the reason to create the series. Discussions with various UBC Psychiatry Faculty members, support from Dr. Jonathan Fleming, and, in particular, recommendations from Dr. Trevor Young, led to a complete monthly series for the first year of BrainTalks, which started in October of 2010. The format includes both formal and casual aspects, with lectures and a panel discussion, followed by informal discussion over a wine and cheese reception after the lectures.