Productive Lives Awards

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation proudly recognizes remarkable human beings who have devoted their energy and formidable talents within their respective professions to help those living with mental illness realize their potential and live full, productive lives.


Watch videos of the 2014 Foundation Productive Lives Awardwinners.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In that role he oversees the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research.

Dr. Collins is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. He served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH from 1993-2008. Read more about Dr. Collins in the Dinner Program.

Thomas R. Insel, M.D., is Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health charged with generating the knowledge needed to understand, treat, and prevent mental disorders. His tenure at NIMH has been distinguished by groundbreaking findings in the areas of practical clinical trials, autism research, and the role of genetics in mental illnesses. Read more about Dr. Insel in the Dinner Program.

Eric R. Kandel, M.D., is University Professor and Fred Kavli Professor and Director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University and a Senior Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Kandel has conducted pioneering investigations into the molecular mechanisms of implicit memory storage, using as his research model the snail Aplysia. He and his colleagues have been investigating more complex explicit memory storage—the conscious recall of information about people, places, and objects—which they are studying in mice. Read more about Dr. Kandel in the Dinner Program.

Judy Collins has inspired audiences with sublime vocals, boldly vulnerable songwriting, personal life triumphs, and a firm commitment to social activism. In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices. Five decades later, her luminescent presence shines brightly as new generations bask in the glow of her iconic 50-album body of work, and heed inspiration from her spiritual discipline to thrive in the music industry for half a century. Read more about Judy Collins in the Dinner Program.


Past recipients of the Productive Lives Awards include:


Rodolpho Cardenuto, President of SAP Americas, the largest sales region of the world’s leading enterprise applications software company, is being honored in recognition of the company’s forward-thinking program to hire people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who “think differently and spark innovation.” SAP has launched a campaign to recruit and train people with ASD as programmers and product testers, drawing on skills that are often well developed such as close attention to detail and an ability to solve complex problems. The goal is to fill 1 per cent of the company’s 64,000 positions with such recruits by the year 2020, matching the percentage of people with ASD in the general population. Read an article from The Wall Street Journal about SAP and this innovative program.

Bruce Cohen, a film, television and theater producer, is being honored with a Productive Lives Award for his role in producing the 2012 film “Silver Linings Playbook,” nominated for eight Oscars, that directly addresses the challenges of living with mental illness. Mr. Cohen’s career has been distinguished by commercially successful productions that often address serious, even controversial social issues. In 1999 he won the Best Picture Oscar for producing “American Beauty” and he more recently produced the film “Milk,” nominated for Best Picture Oscar in 2008 that told the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office, who was assassinated in 1978.

View our 2013 Annual Awards Dinner Journal.


The Honorable Judge Steven Leifman - Video - Acceptance Speech
Alice Medalia, Ph.D. - Video - Acceptance Speech

View our 2012 Annual Awards Dinner Journal

Fountain House

View our 2011 Annual Awards Dinner Journal

Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D. - Acceptance Speech - Read More

Elyn R. Saks, Esq., Ph.D. - Acceptance Speech - Read More

Andrew Solomon - Acceptance Speech - Read More

View our 2010 Annual Awards Dinner Journal

J. Randolph Lewis, Senior Vice President, Walgreen Co.