The Alzheimer's Association and the Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM), a separately incorporated advocacy affiliate, relentlessly advanced critical federal and state policy priorities in FY22. Engagement with elected officials continued as a hybrid of in-person and online activities, resulting in numerous successes on Capitol Hill and nationwide thanks to the Association and AIM's network of passionate advocates.
Working with bipartisan congressional champions, tireless advocates drove a $289 million increase for Alzheimer's and dementia research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bringing annual federal funding to more than $3.5 billion. This commitment will ensure a robust Alzheimer's and dementia research budget and critical investment in the Alzheimer's public health response.
The Association and AIM were instrumental in securing $25 million to implement the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act as part of the omnibus budget bill. This investment, made possible by longtime congressional supporters including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), is an important step toward acknowledging and addressing Alzheimer's as a widespread public health crisis and will allow for the BOLD Act's continued, effective implementation.
The Association and AIM worked to develop bipartisan support for the NAPA (National Alzheimer's Project Act) Reauthorization Act. The legislation, introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), will extend the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA), signed into law in 2011 to ensure that the nation continues to prioritize addressing Alzheimer's and all other dementia.
The ongoing efforts of the Association and AIM also resulted in the introduction of the Alzheimer's Accountability and Investment Act by the same bipartisan champions in the Senate and the House. This legislation ensures that Congress hears directly from scientists on what resources they need to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease.
More than 700 advocates from all 50 states turned Capitol Hill purple as part of the 2022 Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM) Advocacy Forum — the nation's premier Alzheimer's disease advocacy event — marking their return to Washington, D.C., after over two years away due to the pandemic. After 481 successful bipartisan meetings with lawmakers, advocates gathered at the National Alzheimer's Dinner to celebrate remarkable progress in the fight against Alzheimer's and all other dementia, and to honor legislators on both sides of the aisle who have contributed to continued momentum in the cause.
Advocates also used digital platforms to connect with lawmakers regarding public policy issues, sending nearly 90,000 emails and over 23,400 tweets to congressional offices. More than 400 personalized videos were recorded to share with elected officials online.
Throughout FY22, AIM's 535 Alzheimer's Congressional Teams (ACT) — one for every member of Congress — engaged with their legislators. In total, 1,992 ACT members and 678 State Champions nationwide conducted thousands of meetings and related actions concerning matters of public policy.
The Association held more than 550 events with members of Congress, including virtual meetings, tele-town halls, Coffees with Congress and conversations at Walk to End Alzheimer's. Additionally, advocates submitted approximately 900 letters to the editor, with nearly 40% published in media outlets around the nation.
AIM conveyed to Congress its strong support for the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Accelerated Approval Pathway for treatments, as well as the importance of preserving and strengthening this critical tool for bringing therapies to individuals currently living with an unmet medical need. The Alzheimer's Association also sponsored an event with The Hill that gathered policymakers, patient advocates and experts for a conversation on expedited drug approvals.
The Association achieved important advances at the state level in FY22. Association and AIM staff and advocates took 204,844 actions targeting state officials on matters of public policy, exceeding the nationwide goal of 160,800. Several priority bills in alignment with the Association's coordinated Nationwide State Policy Priorities were signed into law following active engagement from the Association and AIM, and a number of states addressed significant challenges in long-term care settings that impact people living with dementia.
In October 2021, Alzheimer's Association Chief Strategy Officer Joanne Pike, DrPH — now the Association's president — was named to the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) Advisory Council. This public-private collaboration provides information and recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services on policy solutions to improve the health outcomes and lives of people living with Alzheimer's or another dementia and their caregivers.