A public health approach to dementia could prevent up to 30 percent of the dementia cases projected around the world in the next two decades.

Norton, Matthews, Barnes, Yaffe, Brayne. Lancet Neurology, 2014

Meet the
Global Brain Health Institute


Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI)

Dementia is rapidly increasing around the world. By 2050, the number of people with dementia could triple, overwhelming economies, public health care systems and our communities. Yet, there is much we can do to prevent this. A public health approach addressing vascular risk factors, like high blood pressure and cholesterol, and lifestyle risk factors, like diet, sleep, exercise and social and intellectual engagement, could prevent up to 30 percent of dementia over the next 20 years. We need leaders who can develop new models of care and advocate for what we know can preserve cognitive ability into old age.

UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Trinity College Dublin, two leaders in brain science, offer a rich array of clinical, basic and public health expertise. These institutions partnered to create the Global Brain Health Institute to train a new generation of health leaders who will be empowered to break down disciplinary boundaries and find innovative ways to intervene on behalf of vulnerable people in their communities to prevent and limit the impact of dementia globally.

The Program

The program is designed to train leaders not just from medicine and public policy, but also social science, journalism, law, business and the arts. Trainees can work at UCSF, Trinity or both. As GBHI matures, trainees may learn at academic sites around the world. Currently, there are two core programs.

The success of GBHI’s training program depends on being able to identify outstanding applicants who possess the drive, energy and passion to change for the better how aging is experienced in their societies.

The Founding

The Atlantic Philanthropies is awarding UCSF and Trinity $177 million to create the Global Brain Health Institute. This landmark grant—the largest program grant Atlantic has ever made—embodies the commitment of Atlantic and its founder, Charles “Chuck” Feeney, to address global challenges with big, bold initiatives that will serve society for generations to come.


GBHI taps the passionate and visionary leaders at Trinity College Dublin and University of California, San Francisco.

Ian Robertson portrait

Ian Robertson, PhD, is Chair of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, Founding Director of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and Co-Director of the Neuro-Enhancement for Independent Lives (NEIL) Programme. Professor Robertson’s research on the brain’s attention systems has led to new ways of measuring how humans pay or fail to pay attention. He has developed new therapeutic methods that improve cognitive function in people with attention difficulties, and he has applied these studies in recent years to the challenges of cognitive aging and in the search for methods to delay dementia.

Bruce Miller portrait

Bruce Miller, MD, a neurologist, is the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor in Neurology at UCSF and Director of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC). Over the past 15 years, he has built the UCSF MAC into a highly integrated, collaborative and creative program with 27 full-time faculty. His research into the frontal lobes has explored the brain regions involved with altruism and prosocial behavior, while his leadership in dementia research consortia has emphasized cross-disciplinary collaboration, sharing and a sense of urgency around bringing therapies into the clinic.

Brian Lawlor portrait

Brian Lawlor, MD, is the Conolly Norman Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin and consultant psychiatrist at St. James’s Hospital. He directs the Memory Disorders Clinic at Mercer’s Institute for Research on Aging, St. James’s Hospital and is Clinical Director of the NEIL Research Program at Trinity. His research programs range from clinical trials, biomarkers, and early detection to caregiver burden, loneliness and the development of support technology and integrated care pathways for people with dementia.

Victor Valcour portrait

Victor Valcour, MD, PhD, a geriatrician who also trained in behavioral neurology, is a Professor of Geriatric Medicine with shared appointments in Neurology and Geriatric Medicine at UCSF. He leads research into brain protection and early intervention for HIV infection and serves as the Co-Director of the SEARCH-Thailand research group and Co-Director of the International NeuroHIV Cure Consortium. His programs stretch from San Francisco to Africa and Southeast Asia. At UCSF, he focuses on the care of the oldest old with cognitive disorders and on cognitive impairment in aging HIV patients.

Apply to the Global Brain Health Institute Programs

The overarching goal of GBHI is to develop and mentor outstanding individuals to become leaders and have a long-lasting impact on dementia prevention in their communities across the world. We seek individuals who want to bridge the gap between neuroscience and public health with respect to dementia prevention. This program will prepare individuals to put research knowledge into practice. All trainees will share values of dignity, equity, and opportunity. Special selection emphasis is on Latin America, the US, Ireland, and the Mediterranean region, but applicants from around the world who exhibit outstanding potential for this training will be considered.

The Fellowship Program

GBHI’s Fellowship Program has been designed to train and support individuals from diverse fields, including but not limited to clinicians and scientists (e.g., geriatricians, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, epidemiologists, health economists, neuroscientists, policy specialists) but also to include lawyers, journalists, artists, and others. Fellows will typically be early-career trainees and should demonstrate the potential to engage in interprofessional inquiry, adapt to different cultural contexts and lead change throughout their careers. Successful applicants will demonstrate excellence in past activities and strong regional support that assures successful transition back to their home country.

The curriculum for fellows will be customized for each individual's experience and leadership plan. A core curriculum of neuroscience, neurobehavior, epidemiology, statistics, leadership, communications, health economics and public policy will constitute about 15% of the experience. Opportunities to engage in the evaluation of individuals with cognitive disorders will be available. Through intensive mentoring, fellows will be guided in the development of their careers, leadership and policy change.

Fellows will have two-year appointments at either UCSF or Trinity College Dublin, and up to eight positions will be filled annually. All fellows will have:

Ideal fellowship candidates will demonstrate the following characteristics:

The Fellowship Program Application Process

The expression of interest form is currently being updated. Please check back here in two weeks for the updated link.

The Scholarship Program

GBHI’s Scholarship Program is a shorter duration program designed to train people from broad disciplines including health professions and scientists, but also the community (e.g., journalists, artists, writers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, technologists, anthropologists, ethicists, lawyers). All will be passionate advocates for elders, healthy and impaired. Scholars should demonstrate the drive to learn about aging and diseases of aging, adapt to different cultures and lead change throughout their careers.

Scholars will have 1–12-month engagements at either UCSF or Trinity, and up to 32 positions will be filled annually. All scholars will have:

Ideal scholarship candidates will demonstrate the following characteristics:

The Scholarship Program Application Process

To be considered for the GBHI Scholarship Program, please complete an Expression of Interest Form by clicking here. Suitable candidates will be invited to submit full applications.

Global Brain Health Institute Conference

Cuba libre

The inaugural Global Brain Health Institute Conference took place in Havana, Cuba December 8–11, 2015. The annual meeting provided an opportunity for faculty, staff and trainees to determine how to partner effectively and to develop innovative projects that will reduce the scale and impact of dementia internationally.

Conference Organizers

Bruce L. Miller, MD — University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
Ian Robertson, PhD — Trinity College Dublin
Pedro A. Valdés-Sosa, MD, PhD, DSc — Research Cuban Neurosciences Center

Contact GBHI

The Global Brain Health Institute welcomes collaboration with international partners that are committed to improving worldwide brain health.

If you would like to learn more, please contact us at info@gbhi.org.