A free online course from the AFWI

Brain Story Certification

Learn the scientific underpinnings of the Brain Story from leading experts and be eligible for credits.

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What You’ll Learn

Lifelong health is determined by more than just our genes: experiences at sensitive periods of development change the brain in ways that increase or decrease risk for later physical and mental illness, including addiction. That finding is the premise of the Brain Story, which puts scientific concepts into a narrative that is salient to both expert and non-expert audiences. The Brain Story synthesizes decades of research and reflects a body of knowledge that experts agree is useful for policy-makers and citizens to understand.

The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) has developed an online course to make Brain Story science available to professionals and the public. Brain Story Certification is designed for those seeking a deeper understanding of brain development and its consequences for lifelong health. The course is also designed for professionals seeking certification in a wide range of fields. 

Have questions about the course or would like further details? Contact us.

Brain Story Certification

A free, in-depth course for anyone who wants to learn more about the science of brain development.

  • Videos of more than 30 leading experts in neurobiology and mental health
  • Certification in Brain Story science
  • 30 hours of instruction time

Brain Story Certification is a course endorsed by our Curriculum Committee. For a detailed description of the course contents, download the course outline.

Brain Story Certification is open to anyone at no cost to the learner.


Find out how recent graduates of the Brain Story Certification course are applying this knowledge in their lives, families, and communities. Watch all 6 videos below. 

“We're going to get a better idea of what trauma in the brain really is.”

Charlton Weasel Head
Kainai High School

"We can find real, meaningful solutions for addiction and other community problems."

Roger Chaffin
Calgary Police Service

"So much could change if everybody knew about the Brain Story."

Kesa Shikaze
Government of Alberta

"It's an accessible and amazing way to learn how to become a trauma-informed care provider."

Dr. Teresa E. Killam, MD, CCFP, MEd
Riley Park Maternity Clinic

What are the prerequisites?

There are no prerequisites for the course. Learners may find the content in the What We Know section of this website to be useful background information.

Who is providing this course?

The Brain Story course is provided by the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) and its parent organization, the Palix Foundation (a private philanthropic organization based in Alberta, Canada).

Who teaches the content?

The course faculty for Brain Story Certification comprises 39 of North America's leading experts in neurobiological development and its connection to physical and mental health, including addiction. Their video lectures are excerpts from Symposia hosted in Alberta between 2010 and 2014.

When must the course be completed?

The course is offered online. Complete them at your own pace.

Is the course for me?

Brain Story Certification provides detailed science information for those seeking a deeper understanding of brain development and its consequences for lifelong health. The course is challenging but is designed to be interesting and comprehensible to ordinary intelligent people with or without a science background. This course is designed primarily for individuals seeking certification in professions such as health care, policy-making, academia, justice, education, social work, and child care. However, anyone interested in brain development, mental health, and addiction is likely to find the content interesting and is encouraged to enroll.

Is the course graded?

Learners seeking certification will need to pass multiple-choice evaluation questions at the end of each module.

To earn certification, learners must answer 100% of the questions correctly. However, numerous attempts to answer the multiple-choice evaluation questions are permitted in Brain Story Certification. Learners who are not seeking certification may choose to participate in some or all of the evaluation, or may skip the questions and focus exclusively on the learning content.