Creating the First Brain Healthy Community
Creating brain healthy communities is at the core of the Brain Health Initiative’s (BHI) mission. Community engagement is one of three ways the BHI helps Suncoast residents promote and protect their brain health, optimize their brain performance, and prevent brain illness. The other two components include actively involving the community in the full research and innovation process.
The Be Brain Healthy movement is the community engagement component of the BHI. It was created to mobilize every sector of Florida’s Suncoast—government and public policy, health and wellness, early childhood development, PK–12 and higher education, business, arts and cultural, and religious sectors, as well as the general population—with the awareness that brain illness can be prevented, delayed, or mitigated by taking action to become informed and educated.
The BHI is launching the Be Brain Healthy: Be Brain Powerful campaign to leverage the community’s understanding, emotion, and opinions into actions to begin to change the narrative on brain health and brain illness. With research as its foundation, the Be Brain Healthy: Be Brain Powerful movement and campaign aim to:
- Promote and protect lifelong brain health and optimal performance at the individual and community level.
- Elevate the subject of brain health to encourage action-oriented and meaningful conversations.
- Encourage behavior change that science shows us can help improve brain health and optimize brain performance across the lifespan.
The impact of the BHI’s community-based work is designed to be felt across all sectors and across the lifespan of residents. In the 18 months that it has been in existence, the BHI has developed and launched, or is preparing to launch, a number of programs and activities that bring brain healthy programs to the Suncoast community, including the Brain Health Matters! lecture series, the Brain Health Scholars Program, Brain Health BOOSTS! blog posts, the Brain Health Community Educator program, and the BHI Mindful Triathlon.
Earlier this year, the BHI also launched its first community study: the Lakewood Ranch Brain Health pilot study. In this community, we collected data specifically about how residents function mentally, socially, cognitively, and biologically. This study will extend into other regions of the Suncoast. Community participation is a critical component of the BHI’s brain health studies, as the results help to inform the science that is essential to building a brain healthy community—one that promotes and protects brain health and fights brain illness.
The Brain Health Initiative’s dedicated focus on brain health aims to bring individuals and communities together to promote brain health protective factors and a continuum of care, while increasing brain health literacy, decreasing risk factors, and increasing outcomes. For more information about the Brain Health Initiative or to learn more about how you can become involved in brain health programming or live a brain healthy lifestyle, please visit brainhealthinitiative.org.
The Brain Health Initiative (BHI) is a cutting-edge approach to protecting brain health, promoting brain performance, and fighting brain illness across the lifespan. The BHI is creating brain healthy communities, cultures that foster brain health protective factors and address risk factors, thereby improving brain health and optimizing brain performance outcomes for the Florida Suncoast region and beyond. Join the BE BRAIN HEALTHY movement, because brain health matters, and lifestyle makes a difference.