Center for BrainHealth Gets New Chairman

Ka Cotter and Debbie Francis together at The Brain: An Owner’s Guide Lecture series in February. (Courtesy photo)

A changing of the guard has taken place at the Center for BrainHealth.

Highland Park philanthropist Debbie Francis has stepped down as chairman of the 90-person board to focus on fundraising for the brain research institute.

Preston Hollow resident and longtime board member Ka Cotter took over the helm in April.

“Debbie’s 15 years of service as our board chair has left us immeasurably grateful,” said Sandra Bond Chapman, center founder and chief director. “Her passion for brain health and thoughtful counsel have been vital to our continued growth and success.”

During the past 15 years, Francis has seen the brainchild of Chapman grow from an idea to a small luncheon to a 63,000-square-foot research facility in north Dallas. Also, during her tenure, the center quadrupled its staff and increased fundraising sevenfold. It has more than 70 on-going research projects and, in 2017, unveiled its Brain Performance Institute.

Getting Dallasites into that new center will be a top priority for Cotter.

“We focus on our heart health and all the health neck down,” Cotter said before pointing to her head, “and we really want this to be good too. If we don’t have this [our brain], how much does the rest of it matter?”

The Brain Performance Institute is home to programs that help people at all stages of life and those affected by various conditions.

Cotter emphasized that the institute isn’t just for those suffering from dementia or brain injury; it’s also for improving brain performance and health now.

The Institute helps young people focus in school, retrain the minds of those affected by military experiences or sports injuries, strengthen mental acuity among corporate leadership, and empower others to take charge of their own brains so they can have healthier, stronger, more energetic brains today and in the future, Dr. Leanne Young, executive director of the Brain Performance Institute, has said.

Cotter was part of the leadership that grew The Staubach Company from a local real estate services firm in 1980 to a $500 million multinational firm that merged with Jones Lang LaSalle in July of 2008, according to Texas Wall Street Woman. Her skills include corporate real estate, construction, sales and sales management, growth strategies for service firms, corporate governance, and corporate culture.

“We are so fortunate that Ka is stepping into this important role,” Chapman said. “We are thrilled to have someone with such extensive global business experience and commitment to community leadership as our incoming chair.”


What is a BrainHealth physical?

• A physical to establish a brain performance benchmark will allow one to observe changes in key cognitive abilities over time.
• An experienced clinician will guide one through a series of written and verbal tasks to determine the performance of critical frontal lobe processes, which are responsible for planning, judgment, decision making, problem solving, and other executive functions.
• The assessment measures your brain’s strengths as well as areas for improvement.
• The clinician offers tailored recommendations to elevate your brain performance.

Find out more at brainhealth.utdallas.edu

Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist with a background in crime and government reporting and an obsession with all things culture and arts. She serves as the Managing Editor for Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, curating content for the Living Well and Faith sections, as well as producing the Fall and Spring society sections and 20 Under 40. From luncheons to galas to exhibition openings to new Dallas restaurants, you can find her out and about on Instagram @Bianca_TBD or @peoplenewspapers. You can also reach her by email at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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