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Brain Health Training Improves Workforce Function and Mood

A woman in a wheelchair meets with her team in a sunlit room to discuss strategy.

Center for BrainHealth

75% of participants showed gains in brain health.COVID-19 has sparked an increased awareness of the importance of worker well-being for both office and remote work. Research led by Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas investigated whether proactive brain health training within an organization would correlate with improvements in brain health and reduction of burnout. The study, Exploring how Brain Health Strategy Training Informs the Future of Work, was recently published in Frontiers in Psychology. Researchers engaged staff from leading architecture and design firm HKS to investigate the impact of brain training, individualized coaching, and practical exercises to enhance overall brain health. Over a six-month period, 193 HKS participants across the country – with varying job responsibilities, education levels and ages – learned and practiced daily, self-paced online brain health strategies; participated in two individualized coaching sessions; and completed practical exercises related to work and personal life. Brain health was measured using the evidence-based BrainHealth Index, a proprietary, holistic measure derived from 22 established assessments. Burnout was measured separately, using the Maslach Burnout Inventory Human Services Survey, which determines burnout by levels of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment.By getting Index scores at the beginning and end of the study, the team was able to track change over the six months. Post training, 75% of participants showed improvements on their BrainHealth Index. Moreover, improvements in factors related to connectedness and emotional balance were associated with a reduction in burnout. Those who were in the office more demonstrated stronger connectedness and emotional balance; those who worked remotely more showed improved clarity over the six months.


Lead author Jennifer Zientz, MS, CCC-SLP, director of programs and head of clinical services at Center for BrainHealth, stated, “These results validate the importance of proactive, capacity-building training on brain health and mood. Notably, this improvement was achieved during the uncertainty of post-COVID work practices. Organization-wide trainings that benefit an individual’s growth and capacity-building may become a standard practice in the workplace of the future.”
“It’s time to change the narrative around how we work and fully leverage our brain capital. And it starts with the actions we take internally, with our own people, to help them emotionally, socially, and cognitively thrive,” added Dan Noble, president and CEO of HKS.Insights from this work-related study and others are helping shape and refine the center’s BrainHealthy Workplace programming, which is available to organizations of all sizes.ABOUT CENTER FOR BRAINHEALTHCenter for BrainHealth®, part of The University of Texas at Dallas, is a translational research institute committed to enhancing, preserving, and restoring brain health across the lifespan. Major research areas include the use of functional and structural neuroimaging techniques to better understand the neurobiology supporting cognition and emotion in health and disease. This leading-edge scientific exploration is translated quickly into practical innovations to improve how people think, work and live, empowering people of all ages to unlock their brain potential. Translational innovations build on Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Tactics (SMART™), a proprietary methodology developed and tested by BrainHealth researchers and other teams over three decades.

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Jennifer Zientz, MS, CCC-SLP

Director of Programs and Head of Clinical Services Center for BrainHealth

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