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Brain Story Certification

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

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Oxford brain story

The University of Oxford, in partnership with the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, is working to share knowledge about the science of brain development for families and professionals. This is important information for everybody to understand how our earliest experiences can affect our long-term mental and physical health.

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Welcome to the new Brain Story Certification Course – we improved the learning experience based on your feedback. The new course has been streamlined and is more concise, but continues to provide a deeper understanding of brain development and its connection to addiction and mental health. The course now includes a new bibliography, a new glossary, an improved navigation system, updated videos and reflective questions in each module.

Participants asked for a French-language version of the course, and now that's available too. Thanks to the generous support of the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), the entire course has been translated, so you can opt to learn in either English or French.

Are you a Brain Story Certification Course graduate? Congratulations, and thank you for your invaluable feedback! Please note that these updates have no effect on the certification status of course graduates. 

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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.

The Course

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Brain story certification


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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
  • 19 modules self-paced 

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

Looking for more detailed information? Find our Feedback Report here. 

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Course for Me?

Brain Story Certification provides detailed scientific 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 many 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.

Who teaches the content?

The course faculty for Brain Story Certification comprises 39 of North America's and Europe’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. 

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).

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.

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.

What kind of time commitment is required?

Each module includes videotaped lectures from our expert faculty, some reading and completion of a quiz.  The time it takes to complete the course varies from participant to participant.