Healthy Brain Initiative Releases New HBI Road Map

June 29, 2023

Science Updates, Care & Treatment , News

A UW partner press release from the Healthy Brain Initiative

Today, the fourth edition of the Healthy Brain Initiative (HBI) Road Map was released. Healthy Brain Initiative: State and Local Road Map for Public Health, 2023-2027 provides public health officials throughout the nation with a set of strategies to promote brain health and improve the quality of life for people living with dementia and their caregivers. The MBWC's Barak Gaster, MD, FACP, a professor of medicine at University of Washington and director of the Cognition in Primary Care Program, served as a member of Leadership Committee to help develop this new edition of the HBI Road Map. The Alzheimer’s Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have jointly led efforts to develop the evolving Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map Series for over 15 years.

Bringing his expertise in designing training for primary care providers, Gaster also served in the HBI workgroup on timely detection, diagnosis and management of cognitive impairment."Early detection leads to better care, and primary care is the entryway to make that happen," he said.

Gaster joined with over 100 experts working in health departments, nonprofits, academic institutions, health systems and the private sector to give feedback and guidance during the development of the HBI Road Map. In this new edition, the HBI Road Map includes 24 actions to promote brain health, improve diagnoses, and maximize care, with a larger focus on partnerships, evaluation and health equity. These actions are grouped into four domains:

  • Strengthening partnerships and policies
  • Measuring, evaluating, and utilizing data
  • Building a diverse and skilled workforce
  • Engaging and educating the public

“After working with such a knowledgeable group of experts from across the field to develop this new edition of the HBI Road Map, we are confident it will serve as a valuable resource for the thousands of public health practitioners working to improve brain health in their communities,” said Kristen Clifford, chief program officer, Alzheimer’s Association and co-chair of the Leadership Committee. “Thank you to all those who participated for your commitment to addressing this devastating disease. We remain dedicated and look forward to working with public health practitioners to address the Alzheimer’s crisis in their communities."

As written in the Where Are We Now? Washington State, Five Years Later section of the HBI Roadmap (page 53): 'The work of Washington State’s Dementia Action Collaborative (DAC) was featured in the previous HBI Road Map. Since then, DAC has continued and advanced several efforts to increase brain health among people who are African American, Asian, Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino. The partnership between Aging & Disability Services of King County and Center for MultiCultural Health (CMCH), initiated in 2018, continued promoting culturally tailored hand fans with brain health messages in its Memory Sunday project with African American churches. The number of participating churches increased from a handful to 22 in 2021, reaching around 2,000 individuals during that year.'

Data and examples are included throughout to help state and local health departments achieve outcomes both individually and collectively. This Road Map advances equity by fully integrating brain health and caregiving into state and local public health practice and addressing social determinants of health that impact brain health across the life course. The Road Map provides public health practitioners with opportunities to reach diverse communities and reduce health disparities.

The overarching vision of the HBI is that everyone deserves a life with the healthiest brain possible. Since the HBI was formed in 2005, HBI partners have worked together to implement public health strategies that promote this vision and support people living with dementia and their caregivers. The HBI Road Map Series guides this effort by creating a framework for public health action across the life course.

Each year, Alzheimer’s and other dementia increasingly impact millions of Americans, their families, and communities. Today, an estimated 6.7 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and more than 11 million are providing unpaid care for someone with the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association® 2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures. These numbers are expected to rise as our nation ages and, more than ever, public health has a critical role to play in changing the course of dementia.

The Alzheimer’s disease continuum spans decades, providing opportunities for public health to change outcomes in communities across the nation. Just as with other chronic and degenerative conditions, public health efforts can work across the life course to reduce risk, expand early detection and diagnosis, improve safety and quality of care for people living with cognitive impairment, advance health equity, and attend to caregivers’ health and well-being. 

For more information and to read the new HBI Road Map, visit

The Healthy Brain Initiative and the development and dissemination of the HBI Road Map is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $3,045,933 with 100 percent funding by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.