For example, Brain Awareness Week, based on a global campaign and locally co-sponsored by the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS), teaches students and the community about the brain and encourages public interest and excitement about brain research and its importance for health and society. This yearly program includes faculty lectures; lab tours; hands-on demos; activities for kids; presentations by faculty, post-docs, and graduate students in local schools; and an open-house at DIBS for people from the community. A current project in the Bass Connection Brain & Society program includes a team who are developing public science education materials about epigenetics and the effects of environmental tobacco smoke on brain development and cognitive dysfunction.
Faculty members associated with the Center on Addiction and Behavior Change (CABC) also participate in outreach efforts. The center is developing interdisciplinary training programs; improving collaborations among scholars in medicine, neuroscience, psychology, and policy; and working with government policy makers and the healthcare industry.
Duke’s reach extends far beyond the US. For example, Duke’s Haiti Lab has been assessing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among survivors of the 2010 earthquake. Through their survey, which indicates that 30% of interviewees suffer from “high distress,” they hope to advocate for governmental intervention and better provision of mental healthcare services.