Sheree Cairney

ShereeTedX St Kilda 2016 12

Associate Professor
Sheree Cairney

Cognitive Neuroscientist (Aboriginal health), Flinders University

EMPOWERING ABORIGINAL WORLD VIEWS

Sheree has spent her adult life working in remote Australia, deep in sacred Aboriginal country, where the sky is blue and the earth burnt-orange. She has a deep respect for the Aboriginal communities who live within that landscape, and her current research hopes to answer some profoundly human questions – How do we define success? What makes us happy? And what can we learn from our ancient brothers and sisters.

BIOGRAPHY

Creating a unique nexus between drugs, culture and the brain, Sheree Cairney has worked as a Neuroscientist in remote Aboriginal communities for 17 years. Her research has shed light on the transformation of brain and behaviour that happens-with petrol sniffing, alcohol and other drugs-and led to ground-breaking clinical evidence the brain can repair itself if substance abuse stops early enough. She established culturally relevant assessments of brain function, mental health and wellbeing among Aboriginal people, and her research has been translated into interactive multimedia tools that communicate health and education messages to diverse demographics. These include the ‘Brain Stories’ suite of flipcharts and animations and the highly successful ‘No Smokes’ multimedia campaign. She now leads a national longitudinal study on wellbeing in remote Aboriginal communities, ‘The Interplay Project’. A dedicated change-maker, Sheree is passionate about using knowledge, innovation, humour and empowerment strategies to impact policy, culture and humanity. She is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Remote Health, Flinders University in Alice Springs, and a Principle Research Leader at Ninti One Ltd.