Mission

The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) works to reduce the scale and impact of dementia around the world by training and supporting a new generation of leaders to translate research evidence into effective policy and practice.

Goals

  • Build an internationally recognized, multi-disciplinary training program for global leaders in brain health
  • Attract diverse, high-quality candidates to the GBHI training programs
  • Develop a strong, robust network of mentors, colleagues, and funding opportunities to support fellows and scholars in their career ambitions and post training activities
  • Establish partnerships with a diverse set of prestigious organizations and international institutions
  • Support innovative and cross-disciplinary research and activities for trainees in a highly collaborative environment focused on developing and implementing scalable interventions

The Brain Health Problem

Dementia is rapidly increasing around the world. By 2050, the number of people with dementia could triple from 47 million to 132 million, overwhelming families, communities, public health care systems, and economies throughout the world (figure from World Alzheimer Report 2015 right). Caring for those with dementia presents profound challenges to families and society, and the growing global burden is vastly underestimated. There is currently no known prevention, cure, or effective treatment for dementia. Research shows that 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 et al. 2014). Yet, very few countries have developed a national dementia plan, and dementia is often assumed a normal part of aging.

Brain Health Spotlight

  • It is estimated that by 2050 the world population over the age of 60 will be 2 billion.
  • Dementia affects over 46.8 million individuals globally—the number of people affected is expected to double every 20 years, reaching 131.5 million in 2050.
  • The total estimated worldwide cost of dementia was $604 billion in 2010, will be $818 billion in 2016, and will be $1 trillion by 2018 and $2 trillion by 2030.
  • Between 2015 and 2050, the number of older people living in high-income countries is forecast to increase by 56% and by 239% in low-income countries.
  • By 2050, 68% of all people living with dementia will live in low and middle income countries.
  • Direct medical care costs account for roughly 20% of global dementia costs, while direct social sector costs and informal care costs each account for roughly 40%.
  • People live for many years after the onset of symptoms of dementia—with appropriate support, many can and should be enabled to continue to engage and contribute within society and have a good quality of life.
Sources:
World Alzheimer Report 2015
The Lancet Series on Ageing
“Dementia: A Public Health Priority” by WHO and Alzheimer’s Disease International
“Global Efforts” by the Alzheimer's Association
“Government Alzheimer plans” by Alzheimer's Disease International

Tackling the Problem

On November 17, 2015, the University of California, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin launched GBHI with the support of The Atlantic Philanthropies. 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 aims to contribute to the reduction in the scale and impact of dementia worldwide by developing, supporting, and empowering a new generation of global brain health leaders. The leaders will break down disciplinary boundaries to find innovative ways to intervene on behalf of vulnerable people in their communities and, in so doing, will reduce the impact of dementia globally. GBHI strives to raise dementia awareness, improve care, and train leaders who will influence local, national, and global health policy.

A public health approach to dementia that addresses risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as smoking, diet, sleep, exercise, depression, and social and intellectual engagement, could prevent a substantial proportion of new dementia cases—perhaps by as much as 30 percent. Cross-cultural, transnational, and scalable interventions that work for diverse regions are needed. A new cadre of leaders sharing skills, knowledge, and hard work can fundamentally change the trajectory of dementia, locally and globally.

GBHI’s work emphasizes the health of vulnerable populations. We value and support innovative, interprofessional research and promote activities to enhance international collaborations. We intend to create an international footprint through a strong and vibrant network of partners, collaborators, and supporters and, over time, will develop additional training sites in countries around the world to enhance and grow our efforts. GBHI believes that the world needs compassionate and effective leaders who are aware of both the rewards and challenges associated with aging.

Leadership

Executive Committee

Bruce L. Miller, MD
Co-Director, GBHI
Professor of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco

Ian Robertson, PhD
Co-Director, GBHI
Professor of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin

Brian Lawlor, MD
Deputy Co-Director, GBHI
Professor of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin

Victor Valcour, MD, PhD
Deputy Co-Director, GBHI
Professor of Geriatric Medicine in Neurology, University of California, San Francisco

Governing Board

Veronica Campbell, PhD
Bursar & Director of Strategic Innovation
Office of the Provost
Trinity College Dublin

Maria C. Carrillo, PhD
Chief Science Officer
Alzheimer's Association

Linda Clare, PhD, ScD, CPsychol, FBPsS, FAcSS
Professor of Clinical Psychology of Ageing and Dementia
School of Psychology, University of Exeter
PenCLAHRC, University of Exeter Medical School

S. Andrew Josephson, MD
Professor & Senior Executive Vice Chair
Department of Neurology
University of California, San Francisco

Christopher G. Oechsli, MA, JD
Chief Executive Officer
The Atlantic Philanthropies

The Atlantic Philanthropies

The Atlantic Philanthropies is dedicated to advancing opportunity, equity, and human dignity. Established in 1982, when Chuck Feeney quietly committed virtually all of his assets to the foundation, Atlantic has since made grants approaching $8 billion. In keeping with Mr. Feeney’s “Giving While Living,” big-bet philosophy, Atlantic invests in systemic change to accelerate improvements in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The foundation, which has operated in Australia, Bermuda, Cuba, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam, will complete all grant making in 2016 and conclude operations shortly afterward.

Trinity College Dublin

Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland and one of the older universities of Western Europe. Trinity College Dublin offers a unique educational experience across a range of disciplines in the arts and humanities, engineering and science, and social and health sciences. As Ireland’s premiere university, the pursuit of excellence through research and scholarship is at the heart of a Trinity education. Aging, as a multidisciplinary field, has been identified by Trinity College as a strategic theme with 140 academics actively involved in research across all aging related domains in a systematic way: The Mind, Body, Social Environment, and Built Environment. At present, interdisciplinary research is undertaken in areas such as brain aging, stroke and heart disease, population health, falls and syncope, mental health, geriatric oncology, end-of-life, elder abuse, health care services, technology innovations, smart cities, intergenerational transfers, pensions, financial security, and the life course. It involves experts from the fields of biology, public health, medicine, informatics, macroeconomics, finance, urban planning, engineering, technologies, globalization and migration, the law, sociology, business, and philosophy.

University of California, San Francisco

UCSF is a health science campus, providing outstanding training in all major medical disciplines, including nursing, physical therapy, dentistry, and medicine. The Memory and Aging Center (MAC) exists within the Department of Neurology in the School of Medicine and provides the highest quality of care for individuals with cognitive problems, conducts research on causes and cures for degenerative brain diseases, and educates health professionals, patients, and their families about healthy aging and neurodegenerative disease. The MAC is situated in a stimulating environment within UCSF that includes partnerships with the UCSF Weill Institute for NeurosciencesUCSF Division of GeriatricsUCSF School of NursingUCSF School of PharmacyPhilip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy StudiesUC Hastings College of LawUCSF Global Health Sciences, and others.