UW Medicine gets $50 million donation to establish brain institute

SEATTLE -- UW Medicine in Seattle is creating a brain institute for researching how to treat common brain disorders like depression and Alzheimer's thanks to a $50 million gift from local philanthropists Lynn and Mike Garvey of Bellevue.

“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.”

Mike and Lynn Garvey

In its first five years, the Garvey Institute for Brain Health will work on three flagship projects: cognitive aging and brain wellness, the effects of physical and emotional trauma on the brain, and addiction, according to a news release from UW Medicine.

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, chair 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.”