Edward Rover was elected by the Board of Directors as chairman of the Dana Foundation. The following is a brief interview with the new chairman about Dana’s direction.
Q: What is your vision for the Foundation?
A: Our commitment to the mission of both the Dana Foundation and the Dana Alliances is unwavering. Our influence, both in philosophy and in dollars during the past twenty years has been evidenced by leveraging our grants programs with our public outreach. We are dedicated, and will remain so, to funding brain research. And through our free publications, our Web, and the News office, we will make validated information available to the general public. We will continue to work to destigmatize brain-related problems, including those surrounding mental health problems. We will emphasize the importance of brain research and how brain-related issues are part of almost every family’s life. These are all critical and will remain our primary mission.
Q: What changes do you see?
A: I see the focus now as the continued strengthening of our mission to support brain research. For instance, in our Immunology program, we will now concentrate solely on neuroimmunology. In brain research there is still so much that needs to be uncovered. We believe that we can make a difference funding grants that will help scientists begin to unravel the answers about how the brain functions in health and in disease. This requires building on what we already know, turning to the new technologies, and relying on our network of premier science advisors, to provide funding guidance. We are true to our tradition—finding the best neuroscientists, including young investigators who have a workable hypothesis, and giving them an opportunity to take that first leap. That’s the exciting part of research—the possibility of moving it from the laboratory to the potential for a treatment for those in need.
Q: You said the Foundation would be continuing its outreach. Can you explain?
A: We have successfully employed a variety of outreach activities to provide information to the general public. Namely, our free publications, such as Brain in the News and Cerebrum online; our Web site, which provides up-to-date news and features on the brain and validated portals for information about brain diseases and disorders, science education activities, and sites especially for older adults.
Our trade book division has been very successful. Alliance members and other prominent neuroscientists have written about the brain for the general reader in their specific areas of expertise, including development, disease and disorders, and ethics. Now, as more publishers are entering the field, we are re-focusing our trade book program. We will be helping young neuroscientists develop their manuscripts to a point where we can assist them in securing agents or publishers for their work.
We are the international coordinator for Brain Awareness Week. We also rely heavily on our Alliance members, our international network of neuroscientists, for much of the material in our publications, for participating in our panels, forums, and in Brain Awareness Week.
With the various changes in our programs, we are consolidating our operations and closing all of our offices other than our New York office.