The Brain Health Summit, sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology, was held on September 21, 2023, in Washington, DC. Brain health professionals across disciplines collaborated to take action on the top priorities in brain health. Sandra Swantek, MD, President-elect. represented the AAGP at the Summit, which included representatives from the American Brain Coalition, university hospitals, foundations, and pharma. Speakers included Shari M. Ling, M.D., the deputy chief medical officer of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, FAAN, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Harrison Hines, MD, MTS, a recent White House fellow in the Executive Office of the President, in addition to experts in epidemiology, health economics.
The strategic objectives of the AAN Brain Health Initiative are (1) to formalize a definition of brain health as a neurologic concept; (2) to characterize multiple components of brain health from the angle of multiple and often coexisting pathologies that may affect optimal health across an individual’s life course; (3) to assess the current scope of science supporting the broad concept of brain health and to determine knowledge gaps and future research directions; (4) to develop and disseminate neuroscience-supported preventive care guidelines for brain health; (5) to communicate the value of brain health and the role of neurologists in supporting it to patients, communities, stakeholders, research funding agencies, and other medical and allied professionals; and (6) to position the AAN and neurologists as champions of brain health in collaboration with the broad range of other brain health providers.
In spite of the neurology-centric approach, there was a clear recognition of the significance of mental health in the prevention, treatment, and management of brain disorders, including dementia-related mood and behavioral disorders.
The day’s agenda included developing an Action plan for Brain Health Research, addressing education needs in brain health, advocating for Public Policy Priorities, and crafting effective direct-to=public Messaging for Brain Health.
A position paper was published on the day of the summit. The citation is:
The Brain Health Imperative in the 21st Century-A Call to Action The AAN Brain Health Platform and Position Statement Natalia S. Rost, Joel Salinas, Justin T. Jordan, Brenda Banwell, Daniel J. Correa, Rana R. Said, Linda M. Selwa, Sarah Song, David A. Evans, for the American Academy of Neurology’s Committee on Public Engagement Neurology Sep 2023, 101 (13) 570-579; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000207739