Homelessness and the Brain

In 2017, 4177 people in Portland have no permanent home, according to the latest biennial Point in Time count of those living on the streets or in temporary shelters.  This is a 10% increase over the last count of individuals without housing, in 2015, when 3800 people in Portland had no stable place to sleep.

LEARN MORE:  2017 Point in Time Count

LEARN MORE:  Portland’s Homeless Population Is Up 10 Percent, but Fewer People Are Unsheltered

NW Noggin is working with P:ear on a public Homelessness and the Brain event this fall to address the issue of affordable housing. On Thursday, October 19, we’ll bring together graduate students from PSU, OHSU and other area institutions studying sleep, stress, anxiety, depression, emotional regulation, racial bias, methamphetamine, alcohol, adolescent brain development, and resilience, clinicians from Central City Concern, and policy makers  –  as well as data, art and testimony from valuable community members without a home, to illuminate links between homelessness and the brain…

How does not having a safe place to rest your head impact your brain? How does the lack of sleep, chronic stress, inadequate nutrition and social isolation undermine physical and mental health? What does current brain research suggest about why sleep, nutrition and social support are so critical for wellness? How should scientific discovery inform public policy around the issue of affordable housing?

Discover research on the foundational importance of a safe, secure place to call home, meet and learn from clinicians addressing these concerns, and from those with lived experience through art, testimony, and other forms of creative expression – ask questions, make connections and hold real human brains!

What steps can we take, individually and collectively, to make things better?

“There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.”  – Representative Jan Schakowsky, member of House Neuroscience caucus

We’ve already enjoyed several productive days of planning/outreach at p:ear in summer (see links below).

June 20:  Homelessness + Brain @ p:ear;
See what we did Day One:  In an old Tri-Met bus on a landfill…

June 27:  Homelessness + Brain @ p:ear
See what we did Day Two:  Sweetness, Shelter & Savants

PROPOSAL SLIDES:  Homelessness and the Brain 2017 (pdf)

For more information on NW Noggin at P:ear, click on the link below…

Noggin @ P:ear

Binyam Nardos, OHSU (brain mechanisms of implicit racial bias)
John Mootz, OHSU (methamphetamine)
Mitch Fennimore, PSU (statistics)
Brittany Alperin, OHSU (anxiety, depression, ADHD, mind-wandering)
Scott Jones, OHSU (adolescent brain development)
Katricia Stewart, PSU (homelessness and housing, community mental health)
Greg Townsley, PSU (homelessness and housing, community mental health)
Larry Martinez, PSU (workplace inclusion, diversity, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination)
Nick Smith, PSU (workplace inclusion, diversity, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination)
Eileen Torres, OHSU (stress)
Jessica Patching-Bunch, OHSU (ADHD, adolescent brain development)
Emily Weiss, PSU (sleep, school achievement)
Jacob Schoen, PSU/OHSU/ONPRC (alcohol and nicotine)
Gil Brady, PSU (PTSD)
Holly D’Andrea, WSUV
Jennifer Teachworth, PSU
Gaile Parker, PSU
Kim Engeln, OHSU
Lizzy Tremaine, PSU
Sam Carpenter, OHSU
Kris Thomason, OHSU
Elsa Gomez, PCC/WSUV
Rebekah Hough, PSU
Jennifer Jensen, PSU
Aliese Poole, PSU
Allie Clark, PSU

So who else is interested in publicly sharing their research?

We’ll be posting an online list of participating graduate students and postdocs, with short descriptions of research interests and activities, c.v.’s, and also links to labs, publications, and relevant personal and/or professional web pages.

We’d also like anyone interested to consider how you might present your work in an informal, art-filled public forum.  It will be a bit like a poster session, but with homeless youth, clinicians and policy makers present and ready to ask questions, make useful connections, and learn more..!

If you’d like to join these efforts, please RSVP to the emails below with your name, a short description of your research interests, and any links you’d want included.

We look forward to hearing from you  –  thank you for your enthusiasm for public education, outreach and community service

Bill (bgriesar@nwnoggin.org) & Jeff (aspragus@yahoo.com)

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