Earlier this year (16th to 18th March 2016), with funding from the Newton Fund through the British Council and FAPESP, we organised and ran a 3-day ‘Researcher Links’ workshop in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The workshop titled “Healthy Ageing: How to get there?” brought together scientists (both early career and established), clinicians and public health practitioners from two very different global regions, the UK and Brazil
Our primary aim was to expose workshop participants from both countries to the latest research in healthy ageing and interventions to achieve healthy ageing. As the researchers came from a wide range of disciplines, ranging from brain ageing to muscle ageing, to exercise interventions, it was a great capacity-building experience and attendees learned a lot about different aspects of ageing. All those who attended had to communicate their research, either as a talk or a poster and thus they also gained experience in public speaking and getting their complex message across to a broad audience. On the final day, the young researchers held a focus group meeting and met with 3 older residents from Sao Paulo, aged 65, 75 and 91 years. With the help of local translators, this was a great opportunity to gain their opinion on what ‘healthy ageing’ is and how they got there! Whilst they had different views on exactly what healthy ageing was, it wasn’t always being disease-free; all three elders agreed that the key to a healthy old age was to stay active and staying involved in your family and community!
The workshop provided a supportive space for discussing and establishing potential collaborations between the UK and Brazil. We were able to develop links between researchers in the UK who have large cohorts of healthy elders and those in Brazil with similar groups. Future collaborations should lead to improved understanding of the factors in both countries that lead to a healthy old age.
Photos from the workshop can be viewed online