Fetal alcohol symposium in September

29 August 2014

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in New Zealand is the subject of a day-long seminar hosted by the University of Auckland’s Centre for Addiction Research next week.

The keynote speaker is Dr Jocelyn Cook, from Ottawa in Canada who will speak on ‘Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in NZ: A Time to Act’.  The symposium is on Friday 5 September 2014, from 9am to 5 pm in Building 730, Room 220, at the University of Auckland’s Tāmaki Campus.

The University’s School of Population Health, has teamed up with Alcohol Healthwatch and the FASD sector to shed more light on FASD and its impact.

Joining the International guest speaker will be a range of New Zealand experts involved with improving the lives of those affected by FASD. They include Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills, Auckland District and Youth Court Judge Tony FitzGerald, Neuropsychologist Dr Valerie McGinn and University of Auckland’s Associate Professor Chris Bullen.

The chair of the organisation for families living with FASD, Claire Gyde, (FASD-CAN www.fasdcan.org.nz), will also present the family/whanau viewpoint.

Key Speaker Profiles

Dr Jocelynn Cook is the Executive Director of CanFASD (Canada FASD research network) and has had significant experience across a broad range of activities related to the diagnosis and management of FASD in mainstream and indigenous populations. She was Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan where she managed a large national survey of health professional leading to the development of the Canadian guidelines for the diagnosis of FASD. She also worked with First Nations and Inuit Health Branches FASD Team developing cost-benefit analyses for FASD diagnosis and intervention programming. She is a past member of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Commission’s FASD Expert Advisory Committee, the National Institute of Health’s Expert Advisory Committee on Terminology related to FAS and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s FAS Task Force.

Dr Valerie McGinn (PhD) practices as a clinical neuropsychologist specializing in the assessment and diagnosis of FASD.  She works primarily with children and adolescents with brain impairment but also with adults who may suffer a neurological condition that was present from childhood.  Over the last seven years she has completed specialist training in the diagnosis and treatment of FASD and has been involved in projects in establishing FASD services and in the training of District Health Board teams in FASD diagnosis in NZ. She is asked to present on FASD on a regular basis at international conferences as well as within the health, child welfare, education and justice sectors and to community groups. She is a founding member and on the board of FASD-CAN.  Valerie currently works in private practice at the FASD Centre, Aotearoa in Auckland and has provided specialist reports to the Youth, District, Family, High and Appeal Courts for nine years. She holds the designation of Specialist Assessor from the Ministry of Health for the purposes of the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003.  

Dr Raimond Jacquemard is a consultant pediatrician at Taranaki District Health Board. He has both clinical and research interests in FASD and has spoken and published extensively about the need for greater awareness of the effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Associate Professor Chris Bullen is a leading researcher on addictions and public health interventions, and Director of the University of Auckland’s National Institute for Health Innovation at the Tāmaki Campus.


For more information contact:

Suzi Phillips, Media Relations Advisor, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences,

Communications, the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, University of Auckland.

Email s.phillips@auckland.ac.nz or Tel +64 9 923 7383 or Mob 021416396


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