Atlantic Philanthropies gives $177M to establish Global Brain Health Institute to fight dementia

The Atlantic Philanthropies is awarding UCSF and Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, $177 million to create the Global Brain Health Institute, a groundbreaking venture to stem the precipitous rise in dementia by training and connecting a new generation of leaders worldwide. 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.

Co-led by UCSF’s Bruce Miller, MD, and Trinity College Dublin’s Ian Robertson, PhD, the GBHI initiative will train 600 global leaders over 15 years in the U.S., Ireland and across the world – including in Cuba and other Latin American countries, Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia, South Africa, and Australia – to carry out dementia research, deliver health care, and change policies and practices in their regions. In doing so, GBHI will be engaging with other institutions and partners around the world.

"A lot of these countries are the ones that are about to really see major shifts in their aging populations," said Kristine Yaffe, MD, one of the key faculty program leads at UCSF. "And there are very limited dementia experts, or any kind of aging brain experts."

Basic and clinical neuroscience faculty at UCSF and Trinity will provide the scientific foundation for both fellows and scholars, but the training will be multidisciplinary, integrating geriatrics, geropsychiatry, cognitive neuroscience, public policy, health economics, health law and communications. Fellows will receive hands-on experience in diagnosis, treatment and long-term management of patients with cognitive disorders, as well as elderly people who are at risk for brain health disorders. They will also be trained in how to help affected families and their caregivers.

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About UCSF

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences, as well as a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

About Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin

Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, founded in 1592, is Ireland’s oldest university and today has a vibrant community of 17,000 students. It is recognised internationally as Ireland’s premier university. Cutting edge research, technology and innovation places the university at the forefront of higher education in Ireland and globally. It encompasses all major academic disciplines, and is committed to world-class teaching and research across the range of disciplines in the arts, humanities, engineering, science, social and health sciences. Its historic campus is situated in the center of Dublin, Ireland’s capital city.

About The Atlantic Philanthropies

The Atlantic Philanthropies are 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.