Systemic racial and social injustice permeate all aspects of society and are intertwined with the causes of health disparities, including the disproportionate prevalence of Alzheimer’s among Black, Hispanic and other diverse communities. In FY21, the Association deepened its commitment to addressing these inequities in the fight against Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.
The Association joined the Values Partnership and the Ad Council for a conference call and Q&A discussion to engage and mobilize faith leaders in supporting families facing Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. The call emphasized the importance of early conversations, detection and diagnosis. Faith leaders from the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and others participated in the call, which featured remarks from actress Yvette Nicole Brown and Values Partnership CEO Joshua DuBois.
The Association strengthened its three-year national partnership with the AME Church, which aims to educate and engage the church’s more than 2 million U.S.-based members in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The Association joined the AME’s International Health Commission to host the webinar “Bioethics and Clinical Research,” which focused on core concepts of clinical research with a special emphasis on bioethics.
On March 21, the Association and AME hosted a virtual Purple Sunday event for members of AME congregations. The event provided insight about Alzheimer’s and all other dementia, including the impact on their community, recognizing signs of the disease and the importance of early detection, as well as information on the Association’s care and support services. AME leader Bishop Harry L. Seawright delivered a call to action for every AME Church to host a Purple Sunday, outreach that will be instrumental in growing the Association’s reach and impact in African American communities.
In honor of Pride Month in June, the Association teamed up with Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) to present the webinar, “Alzheimer’s and Dementia Research in the LGBTQ Community.” The webinar highlighted recent Alzheimer’s and dementia research in the LGBTQ community and the need for more understanding of the unique needs of individuals and their care partners.
During National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the Association engaged in online and media outreach to recognize the impact of dementia on Hispanic communities and to celebrate the extraordinary individuals who champion the cause. This outreach included highlighting new research on Latino cognitive aging presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2020 (AAIC).
In June, the Association and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) hosted Promoting Diverse Perspectives: Addressing Health Disparities Related to Alzheimer’s and All Dementias, the first of two meetings held in partnership with the NIA. The conference convened researchers from more than 40 countries to drive collaboration across the dementia science field and support vital health equity in Alzheimer’s research.
The Association took part in a year-long innovation pilot group to form partnerships with American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities across the country. AI/AN individuals report subjective cognitive decline at rates higher than that of the general population. Using the Healthy Brain Initiative (HBI) Road Map for Indian Country, the Association strengthened engagement efforts within these communities through active listening, foregrounding community priorities and supporting health fairs and community events. Learnings from the pilot group will be used to inform updates to a toolkit on building partnerships with underserved communities.
Association staff presented the bilingual webinar, “COVID-19 & Caregiving: Tips from the Alzheimer’s Association,” hosted by the Mexican Consulate. The program was presented to consulate staff who work on the Ventanilla de Salud program and public outreach initiatives throughout the United States and Mexico.
The Association partnered with the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) to increase concern and awareness of Alzheimer’s and all other dementia in Hispanic/Latino communities. Hispanics are 1.5 times as likely to develop dementia than their White counterparts, and according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures special report, nearly 40% of Hispanic Americans believe their race makes it harder for them to get excellent care for Alzheimer’s or other dementias. The partnership aims to provide vital culturally informed care and support programming and webinars, volunteer engagement, training, support services, research collaboration, and active participation in key events like AAIC, the Latinos and Alzheimer’s Symposium, and the National Hispanic Health Conference.