Defining Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) – How does Australia’s most prevalent brain affliction remain invisible to meaningful intervention?
March 7, 2017 - Presented by Dr Janet Hammill, hosted by THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND
Date / Time
12:45 pm 07/03/2017 -
1:45 pm 07/03/2017
Seminar 201, Level 2 - Cycad Building #1018, Long Pocket
The University of Queensland, Saint Lucia QLD, Australia
Despite more than four decades of evidence and awareness strategies from North American research, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders remain an ongoing, yet preventable, disability among Australian born children. Its effects are significant, involving brain-based disabilities such as behavioural problems, poor executive functioning, inability to learn from experiences; physical disabilities including cardiac, renal, skeletal, dental, visual and aural defects; and lifelong negative consequences of these disabilities such as repeated involvement with the criminal justice system, and major mental health problems. Moreover, the effects of FASD are compounded transgenerationally through the absence of early diagnosis and interventions that otherwise could prevent secondary disabilities in consecutive generations.
These lifelong disabilities remain invisible to early intervention, likely due to Australia’s wide social acceptance of alcohol and insufficient awareness or concern about its effects during pregnancy, together with a lack of legislated stewardship by alcohol manufacturers. Dr Janet Hammill, a medical ethnographer, joins the Life Course Centre to share her research into transgenerational FASD in vulnerable populations.
Dr Janet Hammill coordinates the Collaboration for Alcohol Related Developmental Disorders (CARDD), formerly the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Research Network. Jan is an ethnographer who weaves narratives of family history of health and life experiences into a biological framework that better illustrates the epigenetic and developmental
burden placed on families. Of particular interest is the neurobiology of stress and teratogenic exposures that have influenced negative trajectories for Indigenous families and their children. Those exposed to alcohol in utero represent the most vulnerable individuals in Australia and the effects are being seen transgenerationally. Jan’s interests are to raise awareness, especially among policy makers, to alcohol and substance abuse harm and to develop and implement effective cross-disciplinary, evidence-based interventions.