WBP at LausanneVI High-Level Meeting on Alzheimer’s
This is the transcript of the speech given by Mara Hank Moret, Honorary President of the Women’s Brain Project at the LausanneVI high-level meeting on “Preparing the Alzheimer’s Disease Ecosystem for a Timely, Accurate, and Compassionate Diagnosis” which took place on November 14, 2019.
I am honored to be here today in my capacity as honorary president of the Women’s Brain Project.
Growing up I had the privilege to be surrounded by strong, independent, and ethically conscious women. I fortunately have continued to fortify relationships with women that inspire me every day. Meryl Comer, Dr. Andrea Pfeifer, and especially my fellow collaborators and the founders of the Women’s Brain Project, Doctors Antonella Santuccione, MariaTeresa Ferretti and Annemarie Schumacher.
But if I may, today I would like to speak of an incredible man, my father-in-law Marc Moret. Some of you might have known him as the Chairman and CEO of Sandoz, who was widely regarded as the architect of the merger that created Novartis. But what many of you might not know is that he too battled Alzheimer’s in his last years.
Many things drove my father-in-law’s career, but what stood out to me the most was how important it was to him that he was helping others. His struggles with tuberculosis in his 20s and 30s highlighted for him the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ultimately, as he had been saved from an early death in those years by the arrival of antibiotics to Switzerland, he had a deep respect for the power of medicine and that might explain the empathy he felt for those who he was striving to help. Albeit the politics of the pharmaceutical world, he believed the true purpose was to make people’s lives better.
Sadly, his work that helped so many and saved lives was not able to do the same for him in later life. My father-in-law passed away with Alzheimer’s in 2006, and though great advances have been made, especially thanks to many of you here, we are still far away from a cure to what is a devastating disease.
As we all know, mental and brain diseases take so much from the patient, but also from his or her loved ones and their support system. So, I stand before you, thinking of my father-in-law’s life and vision and how I, in my own way, can humbly continue his work.
It is my honor to announce that the Women’s Brain Project (WBP) will be joining the Global Alliance on Women’s Brain Health to promote the benefits of risk reduction and brain health to women in the fight to prevent, treat, and eventually cure Alzheimer’s. WBP is excited to launch the Be Brain Powerful Campaign in Switzerland in 2020. As we have heard, the campaign strives to create brain health heroes. In doing so, brain health becomes a culturally aspirational and ascendant goal.
Unlike my father-in-law, I am not a CEO of a big company, but I am the Chief Medical Officer of my family. As Chief Medical Officers in their families, women have the power to lead the brain health movement. By being informed, we can preserve and protect our brains and those of our loved ones. The Be Brain Powerful Campaignwill build broader awareness, promote research, and energize the Women’s Brain Project goal to foster a global conversation on the role of sex and gender in brain health.
Thank you for supporting our shared goal for a better future for my generation and those to follow.
Mara Hank Moret