Mount Sinai Makes Brain Health And Research Engaging for Schoolchildren and the Public

Mount Sinai Makes Brain Health And Research Engaging for Schoolchildren and the Public

FOR THE TENTH year, the Mount Sinai neuroscience community celebrated Brain Awareness Week in March, joining a global campaign to share advances made in brain health and research with the public.

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It is a highly popular venue that includes a Brain Fair that typically attracts 500 elementary, middle, and high school students, their parents, and other interested participants to Mount Sinai for hands-on educational activities.

And while Brain Awareness Week was held virtually for the second consecutive year to observe COVID-19 protocols, there were daily opportunities from Monday, March 14 to Friday, March 18, to learn about brain science through:

  • The annual Brain Fair conducted by Zoom for students at Patrick Henry Preparatory PS/IS 171 and the School of the Blessed Sacrament—recorded videos on brain dissection and neuroanatomy, and sessions on brain signaling and reward circuitry, for example

  • Brain Facts/Myths, a series of 10 infographics that were released on social media that covered topics such as neurons, memory, and brain evolution

  • Blog posts from Mount Sinai neuroscience PhD students at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences on 10 topics, including the Gut-Brain Connection & Mental Health, and How the Parts of the Brain Communicate

  • Podcasts by leading Mount Sinai researchers Scott Russo, PhD, and Denise Cai, PhD, who revealed surprising insights into their neuroscience journeys.

  • Art of the Brain—a virtual, gallery-style exhibition of photographs and medical illustrations by Mount Sinai scientists and staff that celebrate the beauty of the brain and showcase the latest technological advances that help researchers to better understand brain function. (See separate story here.)

Leading the effort was Mentoring in Neuroscience Discovery at Sinai (MiNDS), an organization led by graduate students in Mount Sinai’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences committed to making neuroscience more engaging and accessible to the public. MiNDS oversees the activities with support from The Friedman Brain Institute
and the Center for Excellence in Youth Education within the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Brain Awareness Week was established by The Dana Alliance for Brain

MiNDS leaders, neuroscience PhD candidates Joe Simon IV, Kelsey Lucerne, Michael B. Fernando, and Brittany Hemmer, have a passion for educating students and the public about brain health and research.

“We were thrilled that we reached not only our East Harlem, New York, community, but others, too, through our virtual programming,” they said in a statement following the event. “More than 20 faculty, students, and staff volunteered to create an engaging one-week program that was fun—and educational.”