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A Better Understanding of Mental Health
John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation

August 2015
John W. Brick is the inspiration for a new foundation launched to better understand mental health.

John W. Brick is the inspiration for a new foundation launched to better understand mental health.

Victor and Lynne Brick, of Brick Bodies Fitness Services, Inc., recently inaugurated the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation — a foundation that will support research and education in mental health. Brick Bodies Fitness Services, Inc. is a chain of both coed and women-only health clubs, and with this foundation, they honor Victor’s late brother, John, who suffered from schizophrenia and succumbed to complications from a lack of integrated health care. Through a program of studies and the application of the results, the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation will strive to advance research toward a more comprehensive understanding of how exercise, diet, relationships and health care fit together to benefit mental health.

Brick Bodies brought on Dr. Allen Tien as Chief Science Officer of the John W. Brick Foundation, where he will lead a team to implement an approach of research that provides state-of-the-art framework for the processes of health science, which then will be translated into practice. A Board Certified psychiatrist, Dr. Allen Tien’s knowledge and experience encompasses biostatistics, psychiatric epidemiology, clinical research, developmental neuroscience, public mental health research, computer science, and software engineering. After a decade of work in the Johns Hopkins Department of Mental Health, Dr. Tien and have developed an enterprise-scale proprietary web and mobile technology platform. This platform will make it possible for doctors from universities far and wide to log on with their own unique username and password and gain access to other research studies being done and what the results are. Patients will be able to do the same thing with the mdlogix platform: sign on and view other research studies, which they can then become a part of.

This technology is also pivotal in what it will do for translation. Translation, or moving scientific results into practice, is currently a slow, grueling process. According to Dr. Tien, “there was an report published 10 or 12 years ago by the Institute of Medicine…that said the median time is 17 years to move research into practice, from bench to bedside.” With the mdlogix technology, though, studies will happen quicker and it will be easier for researchers to collaborate and work with the participants.

One of the crucial objectives of the John W. Brick Foundation is increasing the knowledge around mental health and to make it less of a stigma. Mental health problems are very common, yet our health care system is not yet doing a good job taking care of them. In fact, illustrating a key gap in how our health care system does not yet integrate behavioral health care, there is a concept from China, where Dr. Tien says, “they think of psychological status as one of the vital signs — you know, body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, blood pressure. If a doctor doesn’t check for all of these signs, they aren’t doing a good job.” However, we are not routinely checking for mental health status in America. The John W. Brick Foundation wants this to change, even if it starts just by recognizing mental health as a crucial component of any person.

To celebrate 30 years in business, the Bricks are hosting a Bull & Oyster Roast on November 7, 2015 at the Timonium Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall. It is projected to have over 1,500 guests, with all proceeds going towards benefiting the Foundation. The 30th Anniversary Celebration will also launch a series of events to benefit the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation.

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