Building a Healthy Brain

Judy Cameron

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Judy Cameron presents: Building a Healthy Brain: The Foundation of Lifetime Health & Well-Being

Dr. Cameron will discuss the basic process by which childhood experiences shape brain development, including the formation of brain circuits and gene expression within the brain. She will explain how adverse childhood experiences change brain function leading to long-term consequences in terms of behavior regulation, cognitive function, mental health and physical health. She will focus much of her presentation on how caring adults in the community can work with children to increase their resilience to life stresses and introduce activities and games that adults can do with children to set them on a positive developmental trajectory.

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Judy Cameron

Judy Cameron, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychiatry and the Clinical Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. For10 years she was a member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Early Experience and Brain Development and she is currently a member of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the Scientific Council of the Child Mind Institute. Research areas in Dr. Cameron’s lab include the interaction between genetic factors and early life experiences on shaping behavioral development, identification of factors that lead to stress sensitivity versus stress resilience, and the interactions between physical health and mental health. Dr. Cameron’s newest research initiative is Working for Kids: Building SkillsTM (, which is a novel community-based program that teaches the fundamentals of brain development to those who work with children at a community level that includes games such as The First Pathways Game ( which is freely available and provides activities that parents and children can play together to strengthen brain development. This initiative provides a community training program and is evaluating the effect of this intervention on child development as well as health. Working For Kids has won several innovation awards in Pittsburgh, as well as from the National Science Foundation.