of the brain
a chapter of the brain story
coming to life
It was 2 a.m. on a hot August night in
2012 and I woke in a sweat that had
nothing to do with the temperature. My
first thought was: “I am about to do the
most important work of my career.”
For the past seven months, I’d been
working with the Palix Foundation and
the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative on
Apple’s first-ever issue on the brain.
Our team of contributors had
interviewed dozens of people. Together
with the Frame Works Institute in
Washington, D.C., we translated the
language of science and social policy
into the language of everyday people.
We wrote and endlessly rewrote 72
pages of content to get our messages
More than getting every fact straight,
Our articles needed to be easy to
understand, a huge task given that the
brain is one of the most complex systems
in the universe.
We needed to do more than give
people information––we needed to tell
stories with meaning and “stickiness.”
Our messages had to stick with readers.
And most of all, we needed to give
people the confidence and language to
talk about the brain with their families
It was one of the largest learning
curves I’d ever faced. And the
knowledge we were attempting to share
with readers challenged me daily to
reassess what I thought I knew about
early childhood development, mental
health and addiction. It was both
exhilarating and terrifying.
My learning curve continued to
arc by being part of the symposia the
AFWI and the Palix Foundation held to
broaden their reach with the brain story.
A community of understanding emerged
In the nearly six years since, not a
single day goes by without a chapter
of the brain story coming to life in my
experiences and memories.
When I play peekaboo with a toddler
on my C-Train commute, I know this
serve and return interplay is a dab
of mortar that builds a child’s brain
architecture. When I think of my late
brother Randy and his 25-year battle
with addiction, I understand that his
By sharing the story of the brain with Albertans, we can help them better
understand the roots of health.
WRITTEN BY TERRY BULLICK