Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Names Special Olympics International Recipient of 2023 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health and Awards Honorary Pardes Prize to Henry Jarecki, M.D

Posted: October 4, 2023

Honorees Chosen for Addressing Challenges Faced by People with Mental Illness and Intellectual Disabilities, Advancing the Understanding of Mental Health, and Fostering Academic Freedom.

NEW YORK (October 4, 2023) -- The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation today announced that Special Olympics International is the recipient of the 2023 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health. It is recognized for its lasting humanitarian impact around the world through sports training and athletic competition for adults and children with intellectual disabilities.

An Honorary Pardes Prize Recipient was also announced for 2023 Henry Jarecki, M.D – for his important contributions to the field of psychiatry and his unique work to preserve academic and scientific freedom.

“Special Olympics International is being honored as a beacon of light and equality for its decades of service to adults and children with intellectual disabilities,” said Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. “We also salute Dr. Jarecki for his contributions to the field of psychiatry and his humanitarian efforts to protect scholars and scientists living under regimes that oppress people for their religious or ethnic backgrounds.”

2023 Pardes Prize Recipient Special Olympics International

Special Olympics International has had a profound and lasting humanitarian impact around the world through its dedication to providing year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It is recognized for its global presence in making sports activities available to 5 million children and adults across 201 countries.

Special Olympics International is a leading advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities and a powerful force in the efforts to reduce stigma and raise awareness about the mental health needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Since its founding in 1968, Special Olympics International has understood that participation in sports training and competition can have impacts well beyond the physical health of athletes and can drive improvements in mental and emotional health. As a result, the Special Olympics movement has continued to grow, evolve, and expand, using the medium of sport to address the myriad of challenges faced by people with intellectual disabilities.

The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health, which carries an honorarium of $150,000, is awarded annually to recognize an individual or organization whose contributions have made a profound and lasting impact in advancing the understanding of mental health, and improving the lives of people who are living with mental illness. It focuses public attention on the burden mental illness places on individuals and society and the urgent need to expand mental health services globally. Established in 2014, the Pardes Prize is named in honor of Herbert Pardes, M.D., the internationally renowned psychiatrist, outspoken advocate for the mentally ill, and the award’s first recipient.

2023 Honorary Pardes Humanitarian Prize Recipient Henry Jarecki, M.D.

Under Dr. Jarecki’s leadership as Foundation Chairman, the Scholar Rescue Fund of the Institute of International Education (IIE) identifies scholars and scientists living in countries where their religious or ethnic background or their medical, scientific, or public activities have led to government reprisal. The organization relocates these individuals to settings where they are safe and can continue their important work. Dr. Jarecki’s lifelong commitment to social justice is an outgrowth of his personal experience growing up in a German Jewish family that fled Nazism first to England and then to the United States. He first alleviated suffering through an illustrious career in psychiatry, and he then broadened his focus to lead and support humanitarian and scientific initiatives around the world.

“The 2023 Pardes Prize recipients inspire us all to use our knowledge, passion and resources for the greater good of humanity,” said Herbert Pardes, M.D., President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. “We applaud their work, which will impact lives for decades to come.”

About Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards research grants to develop improved treatments, cures, and methods of prevention for mental illness. These illnesses include addiction, ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, OCD, PTSD, and schizophrenia, as well as research on suicide prevention. Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $450 million to fund more than 5,400 leading scientists around the world. 100% of every dollar donated for research is invested in research. BBRF operating expenses are covered by separate foundation grants. BBRF is the producer of the Emmy® nominated public television series Healthy Minds with Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, which aims to remove the stigma of mental illness and demonstrate that with help, there is hope.


Brain & Behavior Research Foundation


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