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GREAT MINDS GALA CHAMPIONS MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

UCLA CHANCELLOR, KENNEDY, HOMELAND PRODUCERS HONORED AT UCLA'S FRIENDS OF THE SEMEL INSTITUTE BENEFIT SUPPORTING YOUNG RESEARCHERS

LOS ANGELES, April 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The Friends of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA held its Great Minds Gala last night at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.  UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, The Honorable Patrick Kennedy (Rhode Island) and Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, producers of the popular television show "Homeland," were honored for their contributions to reducing stigma surrounding illnesses of the mind and brain. 

PHOTO- http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150420/199725

Comedian Paula Poundstone emceed and the legendary Judy Collins performed.  Nearly a dozen UCLA Schools attended along with many of the UCLA family of alumni and supporters including Jane and Terry Semel, Tony and Jeanne Pritzker, Garen and Shari Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyard, Sherry Lansing, and 2013 honorees Renee and Meyer Luskin, as well as community leaders and entertainment executives from FX Networks, Showtime and HBO.

Dr. Nancy Glaser, Founding President, Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital Board of Directors, presented Gordon and Gansa with this year's Artistic Award of Courage. They received the award for their brave portrayal of bipolar disorder on network television, through Homeland's protagonist Carrie Mathison, played by Emmy and Golden Globe winner Claire Danes.  Glaser challenged the entertainment community to continue its work in creating characters that spotlight disorders of the mind and brain, while helping to eliminate stigma associated with these illnesses.

"Right from the start, Claire took seriously the responsibility of playing a character with bipolar disorder," said Gordon.   "And the response to Carrie has been remarkable, especially from people with bipolar disorder. Carrie Mathison's story has allowed other people to share their stories."  Gordon went on to thank the Friends of the Semel Institute for recognizing that "Carrie's has been a story worth telling."

Chancellor Block was presented with this year's Visionary Award by Sherry Lansing, for his ongoing leadership at the helm of one of the world's preeminent research universities.  Cousins Maria and Bobby Shriver presented Mr. Kennedy with the Humanitarian Award for his continued commitment to mental health issues as the founder of the non-profit organization One Mind.

Chancellor Block congratulated the Friends of the Semel Institute for "…raising awareness about mental health issues and solutions" through its programs including the Open Mind Series and the Friends' Scholar Program. "It is impossible to overstate the importance of the ground-breaking and mind-opening work being done under the auspices of the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior," said Block.

"Our four honorees all epitomize the spirit of living a life dedicated to helping improve the lives of others," said Vicky Goodman, Founder and President of The Friends of the Semel Institute. "Sadly, we live in a society that still discriminates against and stigmatizes those with mental illness… Only by supporting innovative research will we begin to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by illnesses of the mind and brain."

The Great Minds Gala proceeds benefit The Friends of the Semel Institute's Scholar Program which supports the research of young scientists working to develop innovative treatments for mental and neurological disorders. 

ABOUT FRIENDS OF THE SEMEL INSTITUTE

The Friends of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA is a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting and enhancing state of the art research and treatment for illnesses of the mind and brain including bipolar disorder, depression, autism, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

For more information about The Friends of the Semel Institute, please visit  www.friendsofthesemelinstitute.org

Media Contact: Karen Gaspin, The Friends of the Semel Institute, 8185186570, [email protected]

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SOURCE The Friends of the Semel Institute

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