Press Release Headlines

Marking Its 40-Year Anniversary, American Health Assistance Foundation Announces Name Change to BrightFocus Foundation to Better Reflect Its Mission to Save Mind and Sight

Nonprofit continues its cutting-edge research and education programs on Alzheimer's Disease, Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma

CLARKSBURG, Md., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Marking its 40th anniversary year, the nonprofit American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF) announced today that it has changed its name to BrightFocus Foundation, effective February 1, 2013.

The Maryland-based organization funds cutting-edge, early-stage research and provides public education to help eradicate Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

"The name 'BrightFocus' was selected to communicate our dedication—and our urgency—to save mind and sight," said BrightFocus President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller. "We believe this name better reflects our vision of a world where everyone experiences life fully and with clarity."

Since its founding in 1973, the organization has awarded more than $120 million in research funding through 1,010 grants worldwide. Grant recipients include the top scientists in the field of brain and eye disease. The foundation was among the first to fund the early research of Nobel Prize recipients Stanley B. Prusiner, M.D., and Paul Greengard, Ph.D. Esteemed scientific review committees help select proposals for foundation funding, on topics including genetic markers, disease mechanisms, early detection, prevention, and potential treatments for these diseases.

Today BrightFocus is also announcing the results of a survey of 170 top brain and eye disease scientists from around the world who have received foundation grants. Asked for their views on barriers to ending brain and eye diseases, respondents expressed near consensus that a shortage of government funding is slowing research discoveries. This, in turn, is causing the exodus of a generation of scientists. See

Later in February, BrightFocus will announce results of a public opinion survey on cognitive and visual health. A new public service campaign, Now is the Moment, will urge people to learn more about Alzheimer's disease.

The renamed nonprofit will continue its three disease programs:

"The name change to BrightFocus gives us greater meaning for what we are striving to do each day at the foundation," noted Haller.

BrightFocus Foundation,, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing brain and eye health, by funding research worldwide on Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. BrightFocus also provides the public with information about these diseases, including risk factors, preventative lifestyles, current treatments, and coping strategies.

Stay connected to ground-breaking research news by signing up for BrightFocus eAlerts at To join us on social media, visit


Melissa May, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
BrightFocus Foundation
Phone: (301) 556-9370; Email: Email

Alice L. Kirkman, Marketing and Communications Manager
BrightFocus Foundation
Phone: (301) 556-9349; Email: Email