Support Us
PO Box 686, Newtown, CT 06470 [email protected]

Brainstorm Experience Series Featuring Life is Good Kids Foundation Chief Playmaker: Steve Gross

On January 4th, 2018 Steve Gross, The Life is Good Kids Foundation Chief Playmaker will kick off The Avielle Foundation’s, Brainstorm Experience Series. This year-long series will feature thought leaders, advocates, and celebrities from across society who offer… Read More

Spark Project Uses Art to Bring Brain Health to Newtown

Paula Brinkman is an important part of our tribe. Through the SPARK project, Paula leads PeaceLove classes throughout the community using art, music, and movement as a method of connection and healing. Brain health is a community wide effort… Read More

They’re Not Just Numbers…

9/11… 12/14… and thousands of other dates have transcended their place on the calendar and into the social conscience of our society.  Each date represents an event whose magnitude is so profound it can be universally recognized by the succession of two numbers and… Read More

Where Does Hate Come From?

The social climate in our country has reached a level of intensity only seen a few times in our history.  Political rhetoric has emboldened seemingly dormant hate groups to the forefront of the national dialogue. Past campaigns against hate and for… Read More

The Avielle Foundation provides Brain Health First Aid for New NPS Staff

Brain Health education is central to our mission, for the past three years, we have been honored to provide Brain Health First Aid to nearly all Newton Public Schools teachers. The ability to recognize behavioral changes is a protective factor for those… Read More

The Pareto Principal and Social Burden

Many of us have heard of some form of the 80:20, or Pareto Principal. For example 80% of a country’s wealth lies in 20% of the population; or 80% of a business’ profits are generated by 20% of… Read More

Survey results on exercise and psychological well-being

In 2000, a group of researchers from the Finnish National Public Health Institute surveyed a section of the Finnish population, searching for an association between exercise and psychological well-being. Participants answered questions regarding their exercise habits, perceived health, and fitness. In addition, the… Read More

Book Review: Psychology: Essential Thinkers, Classic Theories, and How They Inform Your World

On the one hand, Psychology: Essential Thinkers, Classic Theories,and How They Inform Your World by Dr. Andrea Bonior is a compilation of useful summaries of thought-provoking ideas and influential thinkers, and on other hand, this book is an easy-to-digest,  visually appealing,… Read More

Are some of us wired to be more resilient?

These days, there is much talk of resilience. This is not surprising, as there are ample stressors in our daily lives and in our world, and some people seem to fare better in the face of stressors than… Read More

Things we can do to help our brains help us feel good: Meditation

Ask meditation devotees and they will tell you with conviction that their meditative practice brings about positive change within them. There is a lot of research that supports these experiences; whether it be a more positive mood after… Read More

More big evidence that mindfulness keeps the doctor away

 It is hard not to observe that the concept of “mindfulness” is currently very popular. According to Miriam-Webster Dictionary, mindfulness is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or… Read More

Gratitude on the brain

Everyone seems to be talking about gratitude these days. Many who practice gratitude recognize in themselves that identifying and expressing gratitude makes them feel good. There is also a growing body of research (recently even fMRI studies) which… Read More

Exercise on the Brain

This post is a summary of a Brain Science podcast in which host Ginger Campbell, MD, interviewed psychiatrist John Ratey about the effects of exercise on the brain. Essentially, Dr. Rater argued that exercise promotes changes in chemistry in your brain which he further… Read More

Other neuroscience blogs you should check out!

As we at The Avielle Foundation began our work, we soon recognized the benefit of having a resource for linking up to and summarizing relevant neuroscience research underlying the work that we do. This is how the “Check This Out!” spotlight on research and learning… Read More

We are wired for compassion; how can we be MORE compassionate?

In this interview, psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, spoke with NPR Radio about compassion and why compassion is often absent in human behavior. After defining and describing current scientific thinking about compassion, he summarized current thought on compassion… Read More

The neuroscience of restorative justice

Daniel Reisel has spent a lot of time studying psychopaths (specifically murderers) in order to determine what neurological changes allow them to act without feeling or concern. Research indicates that psychopaths have a deficit in the amygdala, a… Read More

Why aren’t we more compassionate?

In this TED talk, Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence, discusses our natural propensity for compassion. He explains how we have “mirror neurons” which automatically allow us to feel “with” someone and make compassionate choices. However,… Read More

The Resilience Portfolio Model

The Resilience Portfolio Model examines the protective factors and processes that promote resilience in children and adults who have been exposed to violence. There is a large body of research revealing common themes that have allowed people to… Read More

Meditation’s benefits for your brain

Many people who practice meditation strongly stand behind their practice, noting the many benefits that they notice within themselves from meditating. What happens inside of the brain when a person meditates? Neuroscientists in many labs have sought to better… Read More

Neuroscience informing educational approaches in school

We wanted to highlight several videos in which the applications of neuroscience to education are presented in a clear, user-friendly way, both by Lori Desautels. The webinar focuses on trauma-informed education. She specifically describes the role of trauma in childhood and adolescence… Read More

The neuroscience of the adolescent brain

Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore highlights the period of life when the brain is rapidly developing and quite malleable, known as adolescence, in this TED Talk. She describes her research in which she uses neuroimaging to compare the adolescent’s… Read More

Empathy and compassion training changes both behavior and brain

Watch Olga Klimecki’s presentation on the Neuroscience Of Empathy and Compassion at the 2012 Empathy and Compassion in Society conference to learn about the effects of empathy and compassion training. Her primary point, demonstrating the plasticity of the brain,… Read More

Kelly McGonigal TED Talk- How to make stress your friend

Dr. Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk about the effects of stress on your mind and body represents a powerful perspective change on how we think about stress. Rather than trying to eliminate stress from your life (which is not… Read More

Carol Dweck TED talk: The power of believing that you can improve

Carol Dweck is a revolutionary researcher interested in motivation and how we can foster success. In this talk, she discusses how changing your mindset can enable success. According to Dr. Dweck, two primary mindsets operate when starting a challenge…. Read More

Thomas Insel TED talk: Toward a new understanding of mental illness

In this TED talk,Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, reflects on how significant strides in brain health can be made. Though we have had significant progress over the last few decades in our knowledge and… Read More

Nadine Burke Harris TED talk: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

In this compelling TED talk, pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris demonstrates how a single exposure that, in high doses, affects brain development, the immune system, hormonal systems, and even gene expression. In high doses, it can lead to an increased… Read More

The Avielle Foundation’s viewing of ‘Inside Out’

This week, members of the TAF team went to see the Disney Pixar movie Inside Out. Everyone loved the movie and agreed with the film’s lessons about social and emotional learning. The movie tells the story of a… Read More

compassion and empathy in the brain: not the same (research study)

Empathy and compassion are similar, of course, but not the same. Empathy is “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes,” such as feeling pain or sadness in response to someone else’s suffering. Compassion, however, is translating this experience of… Read More

Gary Slutkin TED talk: Let’s treat violence like a contagious disease

In Dr. Gary Slutkin’s TED talk, he proposes that we treat violence the same way we treat any other contagious disease. Dr. Slutkin founded Cure Violence in 2000, following a decade of overseas work as an epidemiologist whose goal… Read More

Newtown Pumpkin Festival

Halloween has been one of Jenn, Avielle, and my favorite holidays.  Here in New England, it brings with it the Fall and the most amazing beauty (to be fair, the last two years it brought some really scary… Read More

Rock On Temple of the Dad!

Come and check out Temple of the Dad playing the night before Avielle’s Carnival!  Their shows are a blast, Humphreys Backstage is an ideal place to have fun on a Saturday night, and it is for a great… Read More

Avielle’s Carnival

We are excited to have our fantastic San Diego crew putting their amazing minds together to help the Avielle Foundation prevent violence through community engagement and education.  You may have seen it on our Events page (, we… Read More

Denver Brainstorming 5K – Thanks!

The Avielle Foundation’s first ever and first annual Brainstorming 5K was successfully held on August 25th, 2013. Approximately 350 people ran, walked, and rallied for brain health and collectively, we raised awareness and over $15,000 in funds. The… Read More

Newtown Parade

We march for Avielle We march for Brain Health We march for Community We march for our Children We march to Heal We march to Remember     Thanks to all for marching with us!

Bidding for Brain Health

The Avielle Foundation Online Auction Starts Today! Durham, NH – With support from generous donors, the Avielle Foundation auction taking place through BiddingForGood will begin today. The outpouring of donations has been incredible! There are many priceless and… Read More

The Avielle Foundation Profiled in the Wall Street Journal

Today’s Wall Street Journal features an article on The Avielle Foundation, and touches upon our efforts to reduce future incidences of violence through brain health research: “Dr. Richman, 43 years old, is a neuropharmacologist and senior fellow at Boehringer… Read More

Breasts, Meet Brains – The New Kid on the Block

By Anneliese Dickman                                                                      … Read More

Newtown Runner Honors Avielle’s Memory

Lindsay Knauf is a resident of Newtown, Connecticut.  Like so many of us, she was heartbroken by the events of December 14, and wanted to do something to help.  She decided to commit to running in 26 events… Read More

The Avielle Foundation on All Things Considered

Yesterday, an interview with Jennifer and Jeremy was broadcast on WSHU’s All Things Considered with Craig LeMoult.  They took the opportunity to discuss their approach to brain health research and how their work with the foundation has been… Read More

Avielle Foundation on Good Day NY

Today is the 6-month anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  This morning, Avielle’s parents Jennifer and Jeremy appeared on Good Day New York for an extensive interview.  Thanks for Fox New York and everyone at… Read More

Make the Invisible Visible

The Avielle Foundation is meeting with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) today, June 4th, 2103. As scientists, we frequently ask ourselves “blue sky” questions – trying to assess what an ideal world or situation would… Read More

Science + Technology = The Health Informatics Megatrend

Our champions in Silicon Valley, the SV Angels, have their sights set on the next big thing. They call it Health Informatics. And they happen to believe that it’s people like us — like the Avielle Foundation —… Read More

The Avielle Foundation makes international news!

This morning, the Avielle Foundation was profiled in an Associated Press article.  At this moment, over 1700 newspapers and 5000 television and radio broadcasts have permission to publish the article, and many have already chosen to do so…. Read More

Avielle Foundation Introduces Scientific Advisory Board That Will Guide, Prioritize Funding of Brain Health Research to Identify Underpinnings of Violence

Sandy Hook Organization Focused on Two-Pronged Approach to Reducing Violence NEWTOWN, Conn., April 15, 2013 – The Avielle Foundation, formed in January with a goal of preventing violence through brain health research and the fostering of community initiatives, today… Read More

The Conway Family Donates $50,000 to the Avielle Foundation

By Jennifer Hensel & Jeremy Richman In March, we had an interesting and inspiring experience over dinner with a gentleman, his wife, and their friend and acquaintances. As we broke bread, we told them about our daughter, Avielle,… Read More

Benefit Dinner for the Avielle Foundation

On May 3rd, a benefit dinner for the Avielle Foundation will take place at the Beach Grass Cafe in Solana Beach, CA.  This event is being organized by Kim Fultz, a friend to the Richman-Hensel family and one… Read More

Brain Health – TAF in San Francisco

by Jeremy Richman Between March 14th and March 17th, Jennifer, Mike, and I were able to represent the Avielle Foundation in San Francisco to meet with innovative thinkers, brain researchers, and philanthropists. We headed to the West Coast to focus… Read More

Arena Pharmaceuticals Helping TAF

Last Valentines day, the two month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders, Erin, one of my old colleagues at Arena Pharmaceuticals and one of my very favorite people, went to bat to help the Avielle Foundation…. Read More

Update on White Dragon’s Seminar for Avielle

As many of you have already seen, White Dragon Martial Arts of San Diego held a very successful fundraising event this past weekend.  Initial estimates were that over $10,000 had been raised for The Avielle Foundation.  Unfortunately, it… Read More

White Dragon Martial Arts of San Diego Raises over $10k $15k for The Avielle Foundation

As many of you know, the Richman-Hensel family lived in San Diego from 2001-2011.  Shortly after their arrival, Jeremy and Jennifer began training in Kung Fu and Tai Chi at White Dragon Martial Arts.  From her birth in… Read More