Category: Social and Community Context

23 - The Development of a Community-Based Center for Brain Health: Education, Engagement and Support

Created upon four pillars of brain health – Cognitive Fitness, Emotional Wellness, Social Well Being, and Personal Health – this community-based “model” for brain health provides a comprehensive, integrated approach to helping individuals with brain health concerns, families, community members and  professionals understand, implement and improve brain health throughout Northeast Ohio and nationally. The mission of the center is to provide high-quality, innovative services and meaningful experiences to community-dwelling adults with concerns about their memory or thinking skills in a supportive environment to promote brain health and wellness.

Launched in March 2014, our organization created the first non-pharmacological, non-hospital based brain health center located on a senior living campus in the United States for people living in the community with an interest in being proactive about their personal brain health and wellness. The center emphasizes a psychosocial “model” of brain health through extensive low-cost, programming that includes: education, engagement and support for those concerned about memory and thinking skills, including those diagnosed and not diagnosed with brain health issues. To date, the center has impacted over 5,000 adults aged 32-104 and serves over 1,500 adults annually. Nearly 82% of participants are active aging adults, 15% of participants report some type of dementia diagnosis and/or brain health concern (Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, MCI, post-chemotherapy brain, and post-stroke concerns) and about 3% of participants report other mental health concerns (depression, anxiety). 

The center has been recognized by international and national organizations for its brain health programming for aging adults. This presentation will explore the innovative “model” to creating a community-based center for brain health. Participant engagement data and program evaluation surveys from the first two operational years will be reviewed along with next steps for program evaluation. Community participation has more than doubled within two years and professional education and training engagement has increased by twenty times the initial number- impacting over 4,000 individuals. By taking the center’s programs and education to a variety of organizations, the center has had success in reaching diverse, adult populations in Northeast Ohio. Qualitative outcomes indicated that participants felt engagement in the program was a benefit to their personal health and reported the brain-based educational classes were pertinent to brain health.



Krystal L. Culler

Director, Center 4 Brain Health |Senior Atlantic Fellow
Menorah Park | Global Brain Health Institute
Beachwood, Ohio

Dr. Krystal L. Culler, DBH, M.A., holds a doctorate of behavioral health degree and master’s of psychology in adult development and aging. She also holds a graduate certificate in gerontology and bachelor degrees in gerontology and sociology with a minor in developmental psychology. She is an adjunct faculty member at two state universities and the inaugural director of a community-based center for brain health. Under her leadership the center has been recognized for brain health innovation from international and national organizations. She has been recognized as a rising, young professional in Cleveland, Ohio by receiving three leadership awards and has over 35 peer-reviewed conference presentations.