The Healthy Brains Global Initiative has been launched to mobilize $10 billion for brain health research.
Led by Victor Dzau, president of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and Garen Staglin, founder and co-chair of mental health nonprofit One Mind, and endorsed by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum, HBGI will work to advance the delivery of evidence-based care and brain science breakthroughs, from prevention to treatment. To be launched formally at the World Economic Forum in May 2021, the initiative has received initial funding and support from One Mind, the National Academy of Medicine, Johnson & Johnson, pharmaceutical company Otsuka, and Wellcome Trust.
Among other things, the initiative plans to support global infrastructure for rapid, iterative, and harmonized research that centers those with lived experience, with a focus on underrepresented geographies; large-scale interdisciplinary projects; and the open sharing of well-designed methods, biological samples, and data. To that end, the effort will focus on six areas with the highest disease burden and impact on human capital formation, the greatest degree of underfunding, and the greatest potential to make a difference: depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, epilepsy (particularly in low- and middle-income countries), and traumatic brain injuries.
“With global scale but local context, HBGI will drive a new mandate for rigorous designs, full sharing of methods and biological samples, and rapid open sharing of data so that scientific investments produce cumulative knowledge leading to improved brain health and mental well-being for people around the world,” said Dzau. “Because 25 percent of people worldwide experience mental illness, we all have a friend, parent, child, sibling, or loved ones with a mental illness. Through this radical partnership we will not only shine a light on this issue but create breakthroughs to stop this problem.”