Collaborating Centers

Healthy Brain Research Network (HBRN) Collaborating Center

Principal Investigator: Jason Karlawish

Project Coordinator: Terrence Casey and Kristin Harkins

Dates: 2014 – 2019

With a focus on translation from research to practice to policy, the Healthy Brain Research Network addressed areas critical to public health and healthy aging, with an emphasis on cognitive health and impairment.

Goals of the UPenn Healthy Brain Research Network Collaborating Center

  • Participate in the HBRN’s efforts to establish and advance a research agenda in cognitive health and healthy brain aging, and support doctoral and postdoctoral education and training
  • Collaborate with the CDC’s Healthy Brain Research Network and its CDC scientific collaborators and staff to develop, prioritize, and advance a research agenda that will educate and empower the nation about cognitive health and healthy aging, and other Network priorities
  • Develop and support training in cognitive health and healthy aging with an emphasis on mentoring, education, and training for doctoral candidates and post-doctoral fellows at UPenn and the Healthy Brain Research Network

Key Projects:

  • “Public Health Dimensions of Cognitive Aging” – a UPenn MPH course/certificate program that will be recorded and made available to HBRN
  • HBRN Scholar Program – Competitively selected doctoral and post-doctoral students will be mentored to gain research skills in the areas of cognitive health, cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s Disease, or dementia, and training which will foster skills to communicate clearly about cognitive health and impairment to a broader public
  • With the focus of SIP-003 on campaign development, we will work with HBRN members to provide training and capacity for research and evaluation in health communication message design and evaluation



Thematic Network Members

Read more about the Healthy Brain Research Network:


Stites S, Lee B, Rubright J, Harkins K, Mechanic-Hamilton D. Cognitive Complaint Types Can Correlate With Cognitive Testing, Perceived Stress, and Symptom Distress in Older Adults With Normal Cognition and Dementia. Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders ():10.1097/WAD.0000000000000595, December 21, 2023.

Stites S, Rubright JD, Harkins K, Karlawish Awareness of diagnosis predicts changes in quality of life in individuals with mild cognitive impairment and mild stage dementia. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2023 Jun; 38(6):e5939.

Stites S, Gill J, Largent E, Harkins K, Sankar P, Krieger A, Karlawish J. The relative contributions of biomarkers, disease modifying treatment, and dementia severity to Alzheimer’s stigma: A vignette-based experiment. Social Science & Medicine, Jan 2022, 292:114620.

Stites S, Largent E, Johnson R, Harkins K, Karlawish J. Effects of Self-Identification as a Caregiver on Expectations of Public Stigma of Alzheimer’s Disease. J Alzheimers Dis Rep. 2021 Jan 16;5(1):31-39.

Balbim GH, Ashley Maldonado, Early A, Steinman L, Harkins K, Marquez D. Evaluation of Public Health Messages Promoting Early Detection of Dementia Among Adult Latinos With a Living Older Adult Parental Figure. Hisp Health Care Int. 2020 Sep;18(3):163-173.

Zhong R, Sisti D, Karlawish J. A pragmatist’s guide to the assessment of decision-making capacity. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2019 Mar 21;214(4):183-185.

Karlawish J. Social Cognition and the Aging Brain. Annals of Internal Medicine, May 2019; 170:10, 726-727.

Stites S, Harkins K, Rubright J, Karlawish J. Relationships Between Cognitive Complaints and Quality of Life in Older Adults With Mild Cognitive Impairment, Mild Alzheimer Disease Dementia, and Normal Cognition. Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders 32(4):p 276-283, October–December 2018. 

Largent E, Karlawish J, Grill J. Study partners: essential collaborators in discovering treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy 10, 101 (2018).(link is external)

Hailu T, Cannuscio C, Dupuis R, Karlawish J. A Typical Day With Mild Cognitive Impairment. American Journal of Public Health. 2017 Jun 1; 107:6, pp. 927-928.