25th Annual Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Healthcare Symposium “Genomics in Health and Disease”
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is my great pleasure to join you for the 25th annual Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Healthcare Symposium.
I at once, with respect to Elders, acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbul and Jagera peoples.
It is a signal of the high regard for the research and clinical practice conducted at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital that this symposium has gathered so many of Queensland’s leading specialists and clinicians, as well as from further afield.
As Governor and as Patron of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation, I am delighted to welcome you all to this symposium.
And I extend the warmest of Queensland welcomes to those who have joined us from interstate and overseas.
As this is the 25th Healthcare Symposium hosted by the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, it is timely to reflect on the advances in health care that have been made in the past quarter-century.
The five year survival rate for cancer has improved from 51 per cent to 67 per cent.
Queensland researchers and clinicians have been at the forefront of these and many other advances in human health and the treatment of disease.
More than 100,000 Queenslanders are admitted each year to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
They benefit from the huge strides in clinical service delivery made over the past two and a half decades.
It is in this context of advancement – of improvement in the identification and treatment of disease – that the 25th Healthcare Symposium is to be conducted, this year focused on the topic of “Genomics in health and disease”.
It may surprise you to learn that the word ‘genomics’ itself only came into being in 1986.
It was invented over a beer at a bar.
The relatively recent etymology of this word ‘genomics’ – and its move from novelty to ubiquity in only three decades – is just one manifestation of the rapid development of genetic science and its transformation of our understanding of biological processes.
The potential of genomics is demonstrated by the broad span of specialties represented at this symposium, including pathology, hepatology, psychiatry, cardiology, gastroenterology, dietetics and oncology.
I acknowledge with respect and gratitude that many here present are responsible for the rapid development of this science.
But I also acknowledge that the speed of discovery and consequent application poses a challenge for the law and for society.
Therefore, it is appropriate that this symposium will also hear from sociologists, ethicists, policy experts and lawyers.
This interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach, bringing together researchers, clinicians and experts from different fields, is one of the great strengths of this symposium.
It is still the case that despite the advances made over the past twenty-five years, far too many Queenslanders die before their time, or are crippled by diseases whose origin lies in their genetic makeup.
It is to be sincerely hoped that in the stimulus of discussion and exchange of knowledge at this symposium, ideas are generated that may evolve into treatments, and even cures.
I commend the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital for its unswerving commitment to excellence in clinical service, educational leadership and leading research.
And I congratulate the Hospital on 25 years of Healthcare Symposia and acknowledge the valuable service of this forum to medical science and clinical practice.
I wish you all a most enjoyable and productive Conference, and it is now my privilege to formally declare the 25th Annual Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Healthcare Symposium officially open.