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Achieving resilience in the face of uncertainty. Learn More


We're not finished our work in Alberta — and the Brain Story has exciting possibilities internationally. Two new reports detail how learning communities are coalescing around the Brain Story, and how those partnerships can transform policy and practice at home and around the world.

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Learn the science and significance of brain development from leading experts. Enroll now for free.


The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) facilitates research and shares knowledge about the science of brain development to support positive lifelong health outcomes for everyone.

Brain Story Toolkit

We've gathered all our most popular learning resources in one place: the Brain Story Toolkit.

What We Know

Science tells us that the experiences we have in the earliest years of our lives actually change our brain architecture in lasting ways. That has consequences – positive and negative – across the lifespan for our physical and mental health.

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What We Do

The AFWI mobilizes knowledge about early brain development and its connection to lifelong physical and mental health. We form the bridge between the latest scientific knowledge about brain development and what is actually done in policy and practice.

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Who We Are

The AFWI is an initiative of the Palix Foundation. We operate and develop resources under the expert oversight of a cross-disciplinary group of advisors who comprise the AFWI Advisory Council and the Curriculum Committee.

Judy Cameron PhD 2016 – Present
David A. Dodge OC 2010 – Present
George F. Koob PhD 2015 – Present
Dr. Shoo K. Lee MBBS, PhD, FRCPC 2012 – 2019
A. Thomas McLellan PhD 2011 – 2018
Anthony Phillips PhD 2010 – Present
Christine Chambers PhD 2019 – Present
Glenda M. MacQueen PhD, MD, FRCPC 2015 – 2020
Barbara J. Sahakian DSc, FMedSci 2019 – Present
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University of Oxford

The University of Oxford, in paid partnership with the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative is working to share knowledge about the science of brain development for families and professionals.

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Brain Story Feedback Report

In 2017 the AFWI developed the Brain Story Certification Course, the first learning program of its kind. Since then, we’ve gathered ongoing feedback about the structure, content and impact of the course to create a new resource: the Brain Story Impact Report. The report includes everything you and your organization need to know about the role this resource plays in driving systemic change, and how you can participate.

News And Reports

December 2018 • News

Understanding Motivation: Building the Brain Architecture That Supports Learning, Health, and Community Participation

This Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains the science behind motivation–the “wanting” system and the “liking” system–as well as how those systems develop, and how that development can be disrupted. It also dives into the implications of the science for parents, caregivers, and teachers, as well as policy and public systems.