The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC) will match contributions up to a total of $50,000 to support the Brain Health Initiative (BHI), announced Sharon Hillstrom, EDC president and CEO. The Board of Directors for the private, not-for-profit organization, which leads economic development efforts in Manatee County, voted unanimously to support the matching challenge. The Brain Health Initiative proposes the most extensive, long-term brain health study ever conducted.

The BHI is a collaborative effort of Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital, and the Academy for Brain Health and Performance. The initiative will launch with multiple components, including a pioneering longitudinal brain health study, beginning with a pilot, and a Brain Health Innovation Lab housed in Lakewood Ranch at CORE.

The multi-generational, community-based research program will follow Gulf Coast residents for decades to identify brain health protective and risk factors, as well as factors and interventions that promote and enhance brain health and performance across the lifespan. The BHI Lab seeks to attract global brain health innovators with state-of-the-art solutions to validate and test the feasibility of interventions to enhance brain health, as well as optimize performance across the lifespan. This work will draw talent across many disciplines from around the world, potentially building a critical mass of life sciences workforce to attract other related thought leaders and innovators.

“The Brain Health Initiative, added to the already established community assets like CORE at Lakewood Ranch and the Roskamp Institute, will be a catalyst to attract additional life sciences investments, expertise and innovation to our entire region,” Hillstrom said. “The caliber and credibility of the organizations involved in this visionary project further validates our region’s position as a prime location for life science businesses. Through the BHI, our region will become a living laboratory testing innovations to improve the brain health and optimize the brain performance of residents regionally and people throughout the world.”

The Gulf Coast living laboratory cultivated by the BHI Lab will be used by a global team of researchers, clinicians, neuro-technologists, engineers, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors to discern, develop, and implement assessment, early identification, intervention, monitoring and engagement innovations aimed at increasing brain health protective factors and optimizing brain performance across the lifespan. This collaboration will be based in the planned BHI Lab at CORE at Lakewood Ranch, and reach beyond the walls to where residents of the greater Gulf Coast live, work, learn and play. The outcomes developed by the initiative are intended to be measured, scaled and replicated globally.

“Discovering the basis of brain health may be the most important medical challenge of our time. We so appreciate and thank the Bradenton Area EDC for its leadership in committing funds. Also, for encouraging others to demonstrate a similar vision in making this region the epicenter for understanding the science of brain health and performance and commercializing brain health prevention, diagnostics and interventions related to brain health and performance,” said Dr. Stephanie Peabody, Founding Director of the BHI.

The EDC will match dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 contributions made to the BHI through 10 p.m. Friday, July 12. For more information and to contribute, please visit

About the Bradenton Area EDC

The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC) is the lead economic development organization for the Bradenton area’s nine communities located on the south side of Tampa Bay. The EDC works to diversify the local economy by attracting and retaining high-wage jobs for area residents and connecting established businesses to the resources they need to succeed. Information:

About the Brain Health Initiative

The mission of the Florida Gulf Coast Brain Health Initiative is to develop an internationally recognized brain health community impact model that can be measured and replicated so that we promote brain health, prevent brain disease, and optimize brain performance for humanity. Information: