Participation Dates: September 30, 2014 – September 29, 2019

The University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center (UW HPRC) served as the coordinating center for the Healthy Brain Research Network (HBRN) after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created the network to focus on two growing public health challenges — promoting cognitive health and addressing the needs of increasing numbers of older Americans living with cognitive impairment.

The network’s legacy includes a cadre of scholars and researchers, an expanded network of community organizations and academic centers, scholarly publications, and research-based resources that can continue to support communities’ efforts toward better cognitive health.

Our Impact

During its existence, the network led and engaged experts from across the country in developing a consensus-based research agenda about public health in relation to cognitive health, cognitive aging, and cognitive impairment.

The network evaluated public messaging around promoting early detection of dementia in diverse populations across the country, working with regional, state, and national partners to test messages with African American, Asian American, Latino, and LGBTQ communities. Research shows culturally relevant messages have the potential to increase early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Based on findings from local focus groups, and working with key partners, the network developed service provider and policy action guides about dementia that were specifically aimed at supporting Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. One of these guides, “Connecting with AAPIs About Dementia: An Action Guide for Service Providers” earned the 2018 APEX Grand Award for Publication Excellence. In a period of six months, the action guide was distributed nationwide and presented in-person to more than 800 area providers representing more than 45 organizations.


During the network’s lifetime, investigators produced 12 publications and 38 scientific presentations.

The network trained 11 scholars across multiple disciplines, some of whom have been the recipients of merit-based awards such as the HBRN Scholar Travel Funds from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Network investigators and scholars also conducted reviews of scientific literature and informed the field by analyzing national data from sources that included the CDC and its Prevention Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Learn More

Read about the network’s goals, member centers, and scholars program, as well as watch recorded webinars.


The network extended the goals of the CDC Healthy Brain Initiative and had its own goals.

  • Establish and advance a public health research, translation, and dissemination agenda that promotes cognitive health and healthy aging, addresses cognitive impairment, and helps meet the needs of care partners.
  • Build a strong evidence base for policies, communications, and programmatic interventions.
  • Collaborate with public health agencies and their partners to accelerate effective practices in states and communities.
  • Build the capacity of public health professionals through training opportunities.
  • Engage academic expertise and community partnerships across the network to advance our goals.

Centers & Affiliates

The UW Health Promotion Research Center was the coordinating center of the network. HBRN consisted of five additional CDC Prevention Research Centers and two affiliates:

We conducted our work with a cadre of dedicated HBRN scholars and trainees from the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging and from other schools of study in the University of Washington.

Scholars Program

The network developed an innovative, multisite Scholars Program. Read about these scholars in the Scholar Spotlights.
Scholar Spotlights (PDFs)


HRBN webinars focused on state of the science and skill building topics, while featuring experts from across the country.

Professional Development: April 2019

Edline Francois, HBRN Scholar with Oregon Health & Science University, moderated this webinar with panelists Jeff Harris, University of Washington; Heather Brandt, University of South Carolina; and Jane Mohler, University of Arizona.

Innovative and Interdisciplinary Careers in Aging: March 2019

Andre Pruitt, HBRN Scholar with Oregon Health & Science University, moderated this webinar with panelists Cameron Camp, Center for Applied Research in Dementia; Teresa Arnold, AARP; and Lisbeth Nielsen, National Institute on Aging in the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Currently Used Measures of Cognitive Impairment: April 2018

Valerie Edwards, CDC Research Psychologist, moderated this webinar with panelists Laura Vitkus and Hossein Ehsani of the University of Arizona Center on Aging.

How to Get Your Research Published: May 2017

Lisa McGuire, of the CDC Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging Program, moderated this webinar with panelists Joseph E. Gaugler, Editor of ”Journal of Applied Gerontology;” Rebecca S. Allen, Editor of “Aging and Mental Health;” and Rachel Pruchno, Editor-in-Chief of “The Gerontologist.”

Interactive Learning Session on Cognitive Aging: June 2016

This webinar featured Jason Karlawish, University of Pennsylvania; Daniela Friedman, University of South Carolina; and Andre Pruitt, Raina Croff, and Linda Boise of Oregon Health & Science University.