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We Need Stronger Brain Health

Two hands cradling a virtual brain, with a network of connections fanning out over a luminous city skyline.

Dallas Morning News

Sandra Bond Chapman, Harris Eyre, William H. McRaven and Carol Graham

Economy, civil society depend on healthy brains, which must be at center of U.S. policy.


The authors of this opinion piece urge that policymaking to focus on protecting and advancing our most valuable asset – our brain. Over fifty years after Robert Kennedy noted that “GDP measures everything except that which is worthwhile,” measures to elevate economic health still fall short in building a critical component – brain health.Productivity shows an intricate link to brain health. Soft skills associated with brain health, like analytical thinking, innovation and active learning, have become new additions among the World Economic Forum’s top 10 skills for 2025. Also new to the list are traits of better brain health, like resilience, stress tolerance and mental flexibility. Over the last three years, obstacles to brain health have been on the rise, including depression and substance abuse, effects of long-haul COVID and challenges for students, teachers, caregivers and people with disabilities. These authors suggest the establishment of a White House Brain Capital Council can provide a human-centered narrative of progress to help policymakers measure and build the brain health needed for a healthy economy. Read the column at the Dallas Morning NewsSandra Bond Chapman is founder and chief director of Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.Harris Eyre is a fellow in brain health at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and senior fellow in brain capital at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.Adm. William H. McRaven is former head of Joint Special Operations Command, senior adviser to Lazard and national spokesperson for The BrainHealth Project.Carol Graham is a senior fellow with The Brookings Institution and a senior fellow with Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.

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Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

Chief Director Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project

Adm. William H. McRaven (Ret.)

Four-Star Admiral (retd.) U.S. Navy

Move Over Data, Brain Capital Is the New Oil

These interdisciplinary researchers conceptualize a future of possibility, arguing that by focusing on brain capital, leaders can prioritize people and help equip them with the resources necessary to develop their full potential and a synergistic cycle of well-being to elevate economies and societies.