January 23, 2014

(San Francisco, CA) The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, in collaboration with the Center on Aging at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is opening South Florida’s first Brain Fitness Pavilion.

Located at the Center on Aging on the third floor of the Mental Health Hospital Center at 1695 N.W. 9th Avenue, the Pavilion offers state-of-the-art, comprehensive cognitive programs, including neuropsychological assessments, assessments of everyday living skills, and a customized brain fitness training program.

Using BrainHQ, an online brain training program designed by Posit Science and the only cognitive remediation intervention being considered by the FDA for clearance as a medical device, the Pavilion’s brain fitness training program will help patients improve memory, concentration, attention, and mental speed. These important tasks of everyday living, says Pavilion Director Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D., can be affected by a variety of psychological conditions and generally decline as people age.

“Cognitive remediation therapy has the potential to benefit a number of different groups of people in South Florida,” said Harvey, who is also Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Division of Psychology and a member of the Center on Aging. “These range from healthy older people, of which our area has the highest concentration in the country, to people with traumatic brain injuries, for which there are no approved pharmacological treatments, to those with identified conditions such as mild cognitive impairment. We also plan to serve people with various psychiatric conditions, where the disability associated with these conditions has been shown to be reduced by cognitive remediation treatments.”

Administered by a trained and certified healthcare professional, the personalized program, which involves performing structured exercises such as remembering words and sorting objects, includes two 45-minute sessions a week at the Pavilion, as well as home exercises. Research has shown that people experience improvements in performance after as few as 20 training sessions.

Co-directed by Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Scientific Director of the Center on Aging, the Pavilion will be an integrated part of the clinical services offered by the Department of Psychiatry and Center on Aging. Anyone can join, and those who enroll also will have access to other clinical services and can participate in research programs.

“We are delighted and honored to partner with the Miller School and Drs. Harvey and Czaja on this ground-breaking approach to cognitive wellness,” said Henry Mahncke, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Posit Science. “The Pavilion sets the highest standard for innovative cognitive assessment and care in a welcoming and rich environment. We applaud the Program’s person-centric approach and know that its success will be emulated by other Centers of Excellence committed to providing scientifically validated cognitive care.”

Established by a generous gift from the Gaddis Family Foundation of Fort Lauderdale, the Brain Fitness Pavilion will begin offering services January 21.