(RUTHERFORD, CA – October 12, 2020) – Building on 26 years of success in launching America’s leading mental health and brain research non-profit One Mind, Garen Staglin has assumed additional responsibilities as Co-Chair of the Healthy Brains Global Initiative (HBGI), a new multi-billion dollar global organization to address neurological conditions and mental illness. Dr. Victor Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine, is co-chair of the $10 billion global financing mechanism with Staglin, founder of the new initiative.
Over the last two years, Staglin has worked with Dzau and over 60 of the world’s leading brain scientists and finance experts to create the framework and foundation for HBGI. Four working groups focused on the finance structure, use of proceeds, pay-for metrics, and governance have built the structure for the new organization, following the best practices and models established during the creation of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Endorsed by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, World Bank, and the World Economic Forum, HBGI will officially launch as part of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in 2021.
“My family has been running toward the problem of brain health since our son, Brandon was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the early 1990s. Since then, we have pushed for a world where all facing brain health challenges can build healthy, productive lives,” Staglin said. “Mental, neurological, and substance use disorders account for 11 percent of the total disease burden worldwide, affect more than 1 billion people, and are the single largest cause of years lost to disability. In low-and middle-income countries, up to 85 percent of people with mental health conditions receive no treatment. This is unacceptable and with the successful launch of HBGI we intend to address the world’s biggest unmet medical need.”
The fund’s initial focus will be on young people ages 11 – 24, as research has shown that 70 percent of mental illnesses emerge in that age range. Early projects will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of young people.
Unique to HBGI is a focus on putting people with lived experience at the center of the work. The ‘Lived Experience Council’ will guide HBGI’s work to ensure that the combination of funding for basic, translational, and implementation science will have an immediate and direct impact on those affected by mental illness and neurological conditions. Staglin’s own experience supporting his son’s diagnosis with schizophrenia informs his perspective on the importance of involving people who can speak firsthand to the experiences of living with brain health conditions.
Staglin and Dzau are chairing a board of directors comprised of 14 leading global mental health experts, which appointed former Global Fund leader Brad Herbert as the organization’s first interim CEO.
In addition to One Mind and the National Academy of Medicine, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka, and Wellcome Trust are key early supporters of the fund. Discussions are underway with philanthropists, sovereign funds, and governments to join this unprecedented effort for global brain health to bend the projected $6 Trillion annual global burden of brain health disease
For more information on HBGI, visit hbgi.org.
Jan Wootten, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-506-0606
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