American Health Assistance Foundation Announces Name Change and Survey Results

CLARKSBURG, Md.—The American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF), a nonprofit organization that funds research and provides public education in brain and eye disease, has announced a change in name to BrightFocus to reflect its mission to save mind and sight. The organization has been operating under the new name as of Feb.1, 2013.

BrightFocus has provided over 1,000 grants to top brain and eye disease scientists since its inception in 1973. Now in its 40th anniversary year, the organization has awarded over $120 million to early research in Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and glaucoma, including that of Nobel Prize recipients Stanley B. Prusiner, MD and Paul Greengard, PhD. Topics for funding include genetic markers, disease mechanisms, early detection, prevention and potential treatments, and proposals for funding are reviewed by scientific review committees.

"The name 'BrightFocus' was selected to communicate our dedication—and our urgency—to save mind and sight," said BrightFocus president and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller. "We believe this name better reflects our vision of a world where everyone experiences life fully and with clarity."

BrightFocus is also taking steps to reach the public with its new campaign, ‘ Now is the Moment,' which urges awareness of Alzheimer’s prevention. The online campaign includes information, resources and a petition on fighting Alzheimer’s disease.

The foundation also announced the results of its international survey given to 170 scientists whose research has been funded by BrightFocus. The survey, prompting scientists’ views on issues that are slowing the eradication of brain and eye diseases, yielded a shared response that a lack of government funding is preventing research discoveries in this area. Later this month, the organization will also be announcing results of a public opinion survey on cognitive and visual health.