Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is an international initiative begun by the Society of Neuroscience and the Dana Alliance in 1996 to further the public's understanding of Neuroscience. The Brain Awareness Week program is a collaborative effort between private schools, research institutions and health organizations across the country.
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities and The University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth have been active partners in this effort since 1996 and have developed one of the most visible programs in the country. Neuroscience Faculty, Students from the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, U of MN affiliated staff and faculty and staff from Macalester College in St. Paul volunteer their time to make this event happen.
The focus in Minnesota has been on reaching fifth and sixth grade school children in the Seven County Metro area and greater Minnesota and teaching them about the brain and the nervous system. Since 1996, BAW presentations have been given to over 130,000 students. Each year, different school districts are targeted (School Schedule).
In addition to elementary school children, the BAW program is proud to sponsor the Brain Bee, a neuroscience based competition for high-school aged students (ninth thru twelfth) each year.