The Brain Health Scholar program provides education and training for Scholars across 4 terms. It includes opportunities to serve the community that a Scholar is engaged with at an advanced level as a Brain Health Community Educator and through different special interest tracks (e.g., Early Childhood Brain Health Promotion, Youth Mental Health, Brain Healthy Lifestyle-Public and Community Health, Arts and Culture, Dementia Risk-Reduction, Brain Healthy Nutrition). View a video about the program.
Nomination and Application Process
The Brain Health Scholar program is a competitive appointment open to nominated honors students, thought leaders, action takers, and recent graduates from collaborating high schools, youth development programs, universities, graduate training programs, and medical schools.
An authorized representative of a collaborating organization may nominate identified student leader(s).
The qualified candidate(s) should be interested in life science, medicine, health and human services, community or public health, and/or education. Brain Health Scholars can refuse the nomination and withdraw from participation at any time during the project. Apply.
If you want to nominate one or more thought leaders to become a Brain Health Scholar, please click this link. Please see the following pages for additional information about the Brain Health Initiative and the Brain Health Scholar Program. For questions or requests for more information, please contact the BHSP student liaison, Alex Velez, at email@example.com.
About the Program
Scholars worldwide work in a hybrid model with the BHI scientists and clinicians to promote and protect brain health, fight brain illness, and improve brain performance for all ages. Scholars have the opportunity to learn from lectures from Harvard scientists and world-renowned subject matter experts, learn basic brain health science, and then translate that science into action.
Specifically, Scholars help carry out the community engagement, research, and innovation agenda with the Brain Health Initiative to better understand and take action on brain health and well-being concerns, values, priorities, and attitudes of both youth and adults.
“The Scholars learn how to translate science into action to impact themselves and those they care about. This program is also strategically planned to support Scholars personally and those they interact with through the stressful period of life transitions, to normalize and destigmatize their lived brain health and illness experiences, and to share the science of brain health and performance, and our plan has worked,” said BHI Executive Director Dr. Stephanie Peabody.
This program supports Life Sciences and the communities and university systems where our Scholars are or become students or recent graduates. Future chapter programs continue to be established. The Brain Health Initiative has recently launched the Brain Health Scholar Program Affiliate Development Committee. It has tasked itself with dismantling the ever-present brain health crisis globally on college, graduate, medical school, and high school campuses. The Brain Health Scholars Program (BHSP) has demonstrated its effectiveness in disseminating information and positively impacting the brain illness crisis; therefore, we aim to further succeed in expanding the reach and impact of the BHSP with additional college and high school campuses. Currently, the Brain Health Scholar Program Affiliate Development Committee is developing the framework of BHSP’s implementation on Harvard College’s campus, hoping to utilize it as a model applicable to other campuses. Other participating universities include the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Spalding University, the University of South Florida, the University of Florida, and the University of Michigan.
“This program is designed to give students a leg up in the college, internship, graduate and medical school, fellowship, and scholarship application process. Through the introductions made and the experiences gained, the Scholars are differentiated from many other applicants, and we consider that as value-added but most definitely not the focus of our work together,” Dr. Peabody said. “We hope to inspire these Scholars to continue to be engaged with the work of the Brain Health Initiative and to pursue future careers in Health Science as clinicians, scholars, advocates, innovators, educators, or in other related capacities.”
All participants receive a certificate documenting their service to the global research, education, training, and impact initiative facilitated by the Brain Health Initiative. Read a recent press release about the program.
In its inaugural program in 2020, more than 69 student leaders representing 19 schools and universities were appointed Brain Health Scholars and completed six months working with BHI clinicians and researchers, learning about brain health in general and how to increase protective and address risk factors through lifestyle behaviors.
In the summer of 2022, 43 student leaders made up the second cohort of the Brain Health Scholars Program, with an additional eight inaugural Scholars who returned to continue their work as Senior Scholars.
The Brain Health Scholar program included nominated honors students, thought leaders, action takers, recent graduates from collaborating high schools, youth development programs, universities, graduate training programs, and medical schools.
Beginning this Fall, the current scholars will welcome the third cohort of the Brain Health Scholars.
All Scholars participated in didactic training related to the science of brain health and the scientific process of community-based research.
Upon completion of training, Scholars choose a Special Interest Track and participate in further training, research, and engagement programs.
Brain Health Scholar Cohorts
The potential of this program to boost brain health protective factors in Scholars and those with whom they associate while allowing Scholars to explore potential academic and career paths is enormous. Below are some quotes, and attached is a portfolio from the inaugural class of Scholars about their experience in the program:
“I didn’t expect that my mental health, my physical health
and even my grades would improve…. but they did.”
“I turn my phone and all other screens off about a half hour
before bed and meditate, this simply helps me sleep better.”
“The more I learned, the more I realized how
pertinent brain health is to my own community.”
“The program taught me multiple important aspects that go into
maintaining one’s brain health, as well as the extent to which brain illness is present in society today – more so now than ever before.”
“I was able to learn how social media, physical exercise, and even
the foods you eat can affect the way your brain grows throughout your lifetime.”
Superintendents from Manatee and Sarasota Counties have requested we offer the Brain Health Scholars program to students from every high school in the region. And more than two dozen College Admissions offices, having learned about the program through student college applications, are requesting the BHI resources to help establish Brain Health Scholar Chapters on their campuses.
This single program provides a compelling example of how individuals can learn to be brain healthy. It also equips participants with the tools to help lead the BHI’s brain health movement and campaign for families and communities to change how we care for our brains and transform how we promote optimal performance and approach brain illness.