Brain Health Scholars Program Paves the Way for Young, Healthy Minds

Todays News

Continuing to pave the way for brain healthy communities is Lakewood Ranch's Brain Health Initative (BHI). With mental wellness at its core, BHI has garnered local and national recognition for its research and promotion of developing brain healthy communities. In a collaborative effort with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), BHI launched a new Pilot program known as Brain Health Scholars, which includes student leaders from Sarasota County Schools, School District of Manatee County, as well as schools across the state and country. The Pilot program is the first step in a long-term strategic plan to provide positive impact to brain and mental health for the region at large, as well as support Lifesciences, student leaders, and the additional communities and college/university systems where chapter programs will be established over the years. 

"Scholars are informed about basic brain health science, participate in aspects of research, and acquire the skills to translate that science into usable knowledge and action," says Dr. Stephanie Peabody, PSYD, HSPP, neuropsychologist and executive director of BHI. 

“The program heightened my awareness on the global health crisis related to brain illness and taught me that brain health is more than just being free of disease; brain health is an integral part to our overall well-being,” said one of the inaugrial students of the 2021 Scholars.

Strategically planned to personally support these youth thought leaders, and those they interact with through the stressful period of adolescent and young adult development, BHS aims to normalize and destigmatize their lived brain health and illness experiences and to share the science of brain health and performance. “Being a Scholar has enhanced my ability to work in teams, discuss sensitive issues among others, collect data as a researcher and conduct surveys for those in my community," said another student. "Through this program I have learned more about myself with respect to my own personal mental health, and the various perspectives of those around me.”

Further, BHS is designed to give students a leg up in the college and scholarship application process. Peabody goes on to say, the progam ultimately hopes to inspire these Scholars to continue to pursue future careers in Health Science such as clinicians, scholars, advocates, innovators, educators or in other related capacities. "We have had many requests to expand this program and to create Brain Health Scholar chapters in other cities," she says, "and to create partnership with multiple esteemed college and universities which will serve as great paths for the students entering and developing Life Science careers."

In addition, the Scholars learn how to translate the science into action to impact themselves and those they care about. "And our plan has worked," says Peabody. "Many Scholars from the Pilot not only integrated the science into their own lifestyle but influenced the thoughts and behaviors of their peers and family members related to protecting their own brain health, and preventing and fighting brain illness."

Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation is the main sponsor of the Brain Health Scholar Program.

Learn more about BHI's Brain Health Scholars here

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