Garvey Institute gives $1.3 million to advance brain health

Second round of funding focuses on technology-driven solutions to relieve burdens of cognitive aging, trauma and addiction.

Media Contact: Susan Gregg - 206.616.6730,

In its second round of funding, the UW Medicine Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions is awarding $1.3 million for technology-driven solutions that aim to improve brain health.

The technology focus was driven by the need to develop novel approaches to treat large numbers of people affected by brain disorders, as well the depth of innovation and expertise found locally. Among the winning projects: using deep learning to predict Alzheimer’s progression and using computerized algorithms to reduce the risk of suicide.

The institute was founded last October with a $50 million donation by local philanthropists Lynn and Mike Garvey. Their goal is to fast-track treatments for patients with mental health, addiction and other brain health problems. The new awards join 11 projects already underway to reduce the burden of cognitive aging, trauma and addictions.

“We now have a portfolio of 24 exciting projects that have the potential to make a significant difference in brain health over the next five years,” said Dr. Jürgen Unützer, director of the institute and professor and chair of the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “These projects are significant investments in new ideas and collaborations to improve the lives of individuals and families living with mental health and brain health problems.”

13 newly funded ideas:

  • Using neuro-computational modeling to track memory decline - Project lead: Andrea Stocco (Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences; Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences)
  • Testing online platforms to identify patients with persistent post-COVID symptoms - Project leads: Rebecca Hendrickson (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine; VA Puget Sound Healthcare System); John Oakley (Department of Neurology, School of Medicine)
  • Improving diagnostic imaging to guide treatment of neuro-inflammation - Project lead: Caleb Stokes (Pediatrics, School of Medicine)
  • Quantifying socio-cognitive deficits to optimize schizophrenia treatment - Project lead: Trevor Cohen (Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, School of Medicine)
  • Leveraging artificial intelligence to improve digital mental health interventions - Project lead: Trevor Cohen (Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, School of Medicine)
  • Improving patient-focused, population-informed care in clinical neurosciences - Project lead: Sean Mooney (Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, School of Medicine)
  • Leveraging peer mentor texting to support caregiver wellbeing in pediatric settings - Project lead: Amritha Bhat (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine)
  • Using technology to scale Caring Contacts and reduce suicide -  Project lead: Kate Comtois (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine)
  • Harnessing the ECHO Model to help Washingtonians with traumatic brain injury - Project lead: Jennifer Erickson (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine)
  • Developing a digital platform to deliver family intervention for psychosis - Project leads: Chieh Cheng (Nursing and Healthcare Leadership, School of Nursing, Tacoma); Sarah Kopelovich (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine)
  • Deploying a texting intervention for psychosis; from research to real-world practice - Project lead: Dror Ben-Zeev (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine)
  • Using deep learning to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and predict its progression - Project lead: Linda Shapiro (Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering)
  • Improving conversational best practices in online mental health support - Project lead: Tim Althoff (Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, College of Engineering)

Faculty and staff involved in the 24 active Innovation Grants represent nine UW schools and colleges, 20 departments and divisions, and all three UW campuses. The work is taking place in multiple locations including the VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, Harborview Medical Center and UW Medical Center.

Find a full list of projects and descriptions.  A list of partners and collaborators shows the Garvey Institute’s commitment to advance brain health locally, regionally and nationally.

For details about UW Medicine, please visit

Tags:brainsuicidemental healthAlzheimer'sschizophreniabrain injuryAI (artificial intelligence)

UW Medicine