$50 million gift is foundation for brain disorders research

Philanthropists Lynn and Mike Garvey establish The Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions to investigate the effects of aging, trauma and addiction.

Media Contact: Susan Gregg - sghanson@uw.edu, 206.616.6730

UW Medicine is creating the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions to develop effective new treatments for brain disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and Alzheimer’s disease. The foundational $50 million gift to establish the institute was made by local philanthropists Lynn and Mike Garvey.  

“At some point, almost every family is affected by a brain health problem such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease or addiction,” said Lynn Garvey. “These diseases are so common and so devastating, and we wanted to do something to help.”

In its first five years, the Garvey Institute will work on three flagship projects that have the potential to benefit millions of people: cognitive aging and brain wellness, the effects of physical and emotional trauma on the brain, and addiction.

The Garvey Institute will build on existing brain health research and clinical programs with a goal of enhancing diagnostic capabilities and developing fast-track treatments for patients. The gift will fund an interdisciplinary training program for students, clinicians and researchers as well as a patient and family engagement and support team. It will also fund leadership positions, provide resources for operations and help support the creation of a space to bring the institute’s collaborators together.

“Through their gift, the Garveys are showing their strong belief in UW Medicine’s ability to improve brain health and mental health for our city, for our region, and for the world,” said Dr. Jürgen Unützer, professor and chair of the Department of  Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “The new institute will bring together scientists, patients, families and our community to help those struggling with brain disorders.”

The Garveys said their gift was inspired, in part, by recent investments in behavioral health made by the Washington State Legislature.

“Lynn and I were impressed with the legislature’s commitment to funding UW Medicine’s new behavioral health teaching facility,” said Mike Garvey. “We took it as a timely sign that we should make our own contribution — helping to create a strong public-private partnership.”

”These new programs will change the future of mental health and brain health in our region and beyond,” said Unützer.

“Our previous philanthropic investments at UW Medicine have had real impact,” said Mike Garvey. “This gift may be the most important thing we can do to invest in the well-being of our community.” 

Washington State Legislature support for behavioral health at UW Medicine

The Washington State Legislature recently made a $225 million investment in the UW Medicine Behavioral Health Teaching Facility, expected to be located at Northwest Hospital & Medical Center and slated to open in 2023. The legislature has also allocated funds to support predesign work on a new UW Medicine Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center, expand UW Medicine’s psychiatry residency program, and start a statewide telepsychiatry consultation program. 

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Tags:brainpsychiatry & behavioral healthdrug addictionmental healthphilanthropyagingdepressionAlzheimer'sbrain injury

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