In November, MS Research Australia led a workshop for several not-for-profit organisations working in immunological diseases. The idea behind the workshop was that working together as a group, we would be able to better fight for common goals, learn from each other’s experiences and bring about more rapid change for the people we represent.
The workshop generated a great deal of positive discussion about the common aims across the different organisations, how different organisations had achieved success in the past, as well as challenges that had been faced and the strategies used to overcome them.
Ten different organisations attended the workshop, representing people with a range of diseases, all underpinned by immunological mechanisms. Representatives from JDRF Australia, Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia, Arthritis Australia, Australasian Society for Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Asthma Australia, Coeliac Society Australia, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia, Lung Foundation Australia and Lupus support groups all attended the workshop.
The idea for the Immunological Alliance was born out of the great success MS Research Australia has experienced working with JDRF Australia on a year long research project looking at the common risk factors and genetics of MS and type 1 diabetes.
This joint MS Research Australia-JDRF Australia fellowship, as well as having some great early scientific findings brought both research organisations together to work cohesively to ensure the best possible outcomes for this project. This spurred MS Research Australia and JDRF Australia to discuss the idea further with senior leaders at Macquarie Group Foundation and broaden this idea to include other organisations working with related diseases. It is hoped that around 12 -15 organisations will take part in future workshops.
The fellowship and the workshop were both generously supported by the Macquarie Group Foundation and we would like to thank them for their encouragement and championing of this initiative. It is hoped that this workshop will be the start of great things to come. Dr Matthew Miles, Chief Executive Officer of MS Research Australia, who chaired the inaugural event, said ‘This workshop represents just the beginning of a relationship between these organisations that will foster better outcomes for people with immunological diseases around Australia.’