On Oct. 14, the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas breaks ground on its Brain Performance Institute in Dallas’ growing Medical District. Slated to open its doors in the spring of 2017, the iconically designed 62,000-square-foot facility will make available to the public scientifically validated programs and assessments that enhance individual brain performance and health.
“Many people don’t think about their brain until it is injured, diseased or aging. But just like physical health, almost everyone can improve brain health,” said Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., Center for BrainHealth founder and chief director. “The Brain Performance Institute will be the first facility of its kind – not an acute treatment center, but a place where healthy people as well as people who have sustained a brain injury or disease have the opportunity to help their brain become healthier, more efficient and less stressed.”
Although construction is just beginning, the Institute has served more than 40,000 people in the last two years from inside the walls of the Center for BrainHealth and via mobile training teams. Clients range from professional athletes and executives to military veterans and teens. Some programs are covered by private philanthropy and are offered at no cost to military service members, veterans, and military spouses and caregivers, as well as students in more than 100 middle schools across the country.
“This facility will house state-of-the-art imaging, stimulating learning platforms and community-focused events featuring experts from around the world,” said Eric Bennett, Brain Performance Institute executive director. “Having our own facility will allow us to reach so many more people. Initial offerings will include BrainHealth Physicals, virtual reality training for teens and adults on the autism spectrum, as well an array high performance brain training programs.”
Page, a leading international architecture and engineering firm based in Dallas, drew inspiration for the building’s design from human brain anatomy, specifically the part of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking, the brain’s frontal lobes. Brain training rooms, event spaces and other clinical offerings will be housed in an elliptical, three-story, glass structure connected to a more traditional rectangular building filled with administrative offices.
“Bringing the latest in new brain research adds a whole new dimension to health care,” said UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven. “The Center for BrainHealth with its Brain Performance Institute is on a trajectory to make significant advancements in the way we care for our brain health as individuals nationally and globally. We are proud to be able to showcase this translational research model as another defining asset to the UT System.”
The Brain Performance Institute was established in 2013 as a delivery system for the programs and resources developed and tested by the team of neuroscientists, clinicians and medical doctors at the Center for BrainHealth. Center for BrainHealth has more than 75 funded, ongoing research studies ranging from healthy aging and teen reasoning to autism, Alzheimer’s and bipolar disorder, as well as concussions, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction.
“It is exciting to know that this is just the beginning. Advancements in brain health are growing rapidly,” said Debbie Francis, Center for BrainHealth advisory board chair. “We cannot even imagine the types of treatments and programs that will be offered 10 years, even five years, from now.”
The groundbreaking occurs with more than $55 million raised towards an $82 million campaign that supports the building, programs and an endowment. More than 50 individuals, foundations and corporations have pledged gifts that range from $100,000 to upwards of $1 million. Generous supporters include Lyda Hill, whose $2 million contribution jump-started the first Brain Performance Institute warrior program, Debbie and John Tolleson of Tolleson Wealth Management; The Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr., Foundation; Hamon Charitable Foundation; The Simmons Family Foundation; The Rees-Jones Foundation; Kathryn “Kim” Hiett Jordan; Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge; Linda and Joel Robuck; Jane and Bud Smith; the late Joel Williams, Jr., and Linda Evans in honor of Betty Lu Williams; Highland Capital Management; The Hoglund Foundation;RGK Foundation; Hillcrest Foundation; The Rouse Family Foundation; Rowling Foundation; PlainsCapital Bank; The Dallas Foundation;Communities Foundation of Texas; The Eugene McDermott Foundation; Lucy and Henry Billingsley; and Ray W. Washburne.
“We must continue to be transformative as incremental or minimal gains are no longer acceptable,” Chapman said. “We will engage the best minds across the globe and continue to work relentlessly toward the noble goal of better brain health for all.”