West Palm Beach, Fla.– Nearly four hundred guests were awed by the students, researchers and community leaders who took to the stage to share how they are contributing to a movement in brain health advancement across Palm Beach County during the Palm Health Foundation Better Brain Health Luncheon on January 16, 2020 at the Kravis Center, Cohen Pavilion in West Palm Beach. Speakers delivered their insights as “Brain Bytes”—rapid-fire, bite-sized presentations—and included cutting-edge researchers, Palm Beach County high school students interning at the FAU Biomedical Sciences Academy, and leaders in workplace and community wellness, including Denise Bober from The Breakers Palm Beach and Jeanette Marshall of Healthier Neighbors. Frances and Jeffrey Fisher served as presenting sponsors, joined by luncheon supporter Julie Fisher Cummings and sponsors Blue Ocean Capital, Baptist Health South Florida and Valley National Bank.
Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit Palm Health Foundation’s Brain Health Innovation Fund, designed to propel Palm Beach County into being a national leader in brain health innovation. The foundation’s goal is to raise and invest $1 million in projects that advance brain health innovation in the community by the end of 2020. The fund will support projects such as: a community based research project on mitigating the effects of toxic stress; the development of a computational neuroscience program using artificial intelligence; and the application of a mindfulness-based attention training for First Responders.
In 2019, the Brain Health Innovation Fund expanded Mental Health First Aid training across Palm Beach County in multiple languages, helped launch a countywide behavioral health movement called BeWellPBC, and helped connect people with opioid use disorder to appropriate services, including medication assisted treatment.
Denise Bober, senior vice president of human resources at The Breakers Palm Beach and chair of the board of trustees at Palm Health Foundation opened the program by talking about the importance of creating a culture of wellbeing—in the workplace as well as the community—that includes brain health. “The Breakers and Palm Health Foundation share a common interest in shining a spotlight on the importance of good brain health, so my passion for my work at The Breakers and with the foundation is perfectly synchronized.”
Patrick McNamara, president and CEO of Palm Health Foundation was grateful to see the outpouring of support for local brain health advancement. “Our speakers demonstrated the unique partnerships and innovative networks we have inspired among brain science, community members, education and care settings,” said McNamara.
McNamara also recognized the county’s leading assets for advancing brain health, including the Max Planck Institute, the Scripps Research Institute, the FAU Brain Institute and the South Florida Science Center. “We seek to unleash our community’s potential by strengthening the ties between our assets in scientific brain research, community well-being, and improved care of the whole person. We see our role as nothing less than to make Palm Beach County a national leader in promoting brain health by establishing a local hub of innovation,” he said.
Luncheon guests included Frances Fisher, Julie Fisher Cummings, Jill and Jessica Merrell of The Merrell Family Foundation, Joyce and Dusty Sang of the The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation, Pete and Patty Cooke, Jack and Peter Lansing, Mark and Susan Elhilow, Clarence and Ethel Williams, Bill Bone, Margaret Donnelly, George Elmore and Marti LaTour, Greg and Julie Quattlebaum, West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James, Palm Beach County Comissioner Robert Weinroth, City of West Palm Beach Commissioner Kelly Shoaf, Erica Whitfield with the School Board of Palm Beach County, Jupiter Medical Center CEO Amit Rastogi, Children’s Service’s Council CEO Lisa Williams-Taylor and executive director of FAU’s Brain Institute Randy Blakely.
About Palm Health Foundation
Palm Health Foundation is Palm Beach County’s community foundation for health. With the support of donors and a focus on results, the foundation builds strong community partnerships, respects diverse opinions, advocates for its most vulnerable neighbors and inspires innovative solutions to lead change for better health now and for generations to come. The foundation supports health equity for Palm Beach County residents of all backgrounds, heritage, education, incomes and states of well-being. Palm Health Foundation has invested more than $83 million in Palm Beach County health since 2001. For more information about Palm Health Foundation, visit palmhealthfoundation.org or call (561) 833-6333.