Texas House Committee on Higher Education – The Mental Health & Brain Research Institute of Texas
SUMMARY – On March 20, President and CEO Andy Keller, PhD, provided invited testimony before the Texas House Higher Education Committee on the importance of legislation to create the Mental Health and Brain Research Institute of Texas (MBRIT) and expedite innovations in mental health and brain health.
In invited testimony in support of HB 15/HJR 135 authored by Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Tom Craddick, Andy Keller explained that the legislation’s proposed $3 billion investment over ten years to expedite innovative research to prevent, treat, and cure mental health and brain-related diseases and disorders in Texas would position the state as the national leader in mental health and brain research.
“It’s exciting to think of what this bill represents,” Keller said. “Our mission is for Texas to be the best and being able to offer people state-of-the-art mental healthcare. This bill today, I would argue, is more important than any other piece of legislation you’ve ever looked at for making that the case.”
The establishment of MBRIT, Keller testified, would demonstrate a sustained commitment to brain health and attract world-class researchers and their teams to Texas, providing an opportunity to recruit, develop, and train leading professionals to help address our healthcare workforce crisis.
“To lead the nation and the world in mental health and brain health innovation, we must have the gravity of researchers, the gravity of research, the gravity of opportunity, the gravity of collaboration,” Keller said. “Texas has created that for cancer research with CPRIT. We can and should do the same for the brain.”
Keller’s testimony emphasized the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) as a model of success that demonstrates sustained commitment to funding world-leading research that both attracts researchers and grows the clinical workforce.