In order to effectively deliver on our mission, the Alzheimer's Association works to increase public concern about Alzheimer's and all other dementia and increase the visibility of our organization as a resource. Levels of concern and awareness among historically underserved and underrepresented populations are not proportionate to the disease's impact on these communities.
The 2021 Alzheimer's Association Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report revealed that concern about developing Alzheimer's is low among Native Americans (25%), Black Americans (35%) and Hispanic Americans (41%), especially when compared with White Americans (48%). This may be due to a number of environmental and sociocultural factors that force some communities to prioritize concern for survival, coping and general well-being.
To address these challenges and improve our reach in underserved communities, we are cultivating strategic relationships with trusted national and local organizations, public figures and media outlets, and are generating inclusive awareness campaigns available in multiple languages. Among our growing roster of partners, the Association forged an alliance with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which has been working to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people for more than four decades. With over 3 million HRC members nationwide and an even greater digital reach, this collaboration will seek to maximize support for LGBTQ+ people and their communities affected by Alzheimer's or another dementia by providing tailored outreach, information and resources.
We also partner with more than 300 Alzheimer's Association Celebrity Champions — public figures who expand our access to people worldwide through their combined social media following of more than 100 million. Over a third of our Celebrity Champions represent diverse audiences, sharing Association information and inspiring action in more than 10 languages.
In 2022, the Association teamed with multiplatinum-selling musical artist Luis Fonsi to raise awareness of the significant impact Alzheimer's has on the Hispanic community. Fonsi recorded a powerful rendition of his song "Girasoles" for Alzheimer's Association Music Moments, a digital storytelling series that touches on the emotional connection between music and the moments in life that we never want to lose. As the first bilingual Latino artist to join Music Moments, Fonsi's videos, released in both English and Spanish, drove a 52% increase in video views and a 94% jump in engagements compared to other episodes — reaching nearly 6 million people.
Other notable Celebrity Champions used their voices to elevate the cause among diverse audiences in 2022, including Korean-American journalist Amara Walker, comedian Chris Garcia, "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Crystal Kung Minkoff, actor and longtime supporter Percy Daggs III, and "Bachelor" franchise alum Rachel Lindsay Abasolo.
To ensure that those facing the disease can obtain a diagnosis as early as possible, the Association has created a number of multilingual ad campaigns. "Know Where Alzheimer's Hides" is intended to educate the public, especially in underserved communities, on the ways that Alzheimer's and all other dementia can often hide in plain sight. Ads feature Hispanic, Black and Asian individuals, and are available in Spanish as well as Chinese.
In partnership with the Ad Council, the Association launched "Hopeful Together," built around real stories of people living with the disease and their caregivers, sharing the first warning signs they noticed and how they initiated conversations with family. Representation and inclusion were embedded into the campaign from its inception to ensure accurate cultural depictions, and PSAs are available in English and Spanish.
Our annual Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report serves as a vital awareness tool, offering an opportunity for the Association to share national statistics and information on the impact of the disease. To ensure the report reaches the broadest possible audience, we offer key statistics as shareable infographics and videos in Spanish and Chinese.
In 2022, Association Chief Science Officer Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., was interviewed on Univision after the release of Facts and Figures, generating awareness of mild cognitive impairment among Spanish speakers. During Hispanic Heritage Month, the Association secured placements in both Spanish-speaking outlets and general consumer media, educating the public on the increased risk of Alzheimer's for Hispanic Americans and sharing caregiver stories and resources. Placements included BBC Mundo, People Español and Everyday Health.
Working with our chapter network, we have expanded our efforts to reach key populations in specific areas of the country and to expand our reach nationwide. In 2022, we secured multiple media placements in publications such as World Journal, the largest Chinese-language newspaper in the United States, and Sing Tao Daily, the second-largest Chinese-language newspaper, which covered findings from the Alzheimer's Association International Conference® (AAIC®).
Gdavis Productions and Films, LLC
To raise awareness of Alzheimer's and all other dementia and help increase representation in clinical trials, the Alzheimer's Association partnered with award-winning playwright Garrett Davis, founder and CEO of Gdavis Productions and Films, LLC, on "Unforgettable," a play that moves and entertains audiences while highlighting Alzheimer's resources and education.
Through the experience of one family, "Unforgettable" portrays how underserved people disproportionately affected by Alzheimer's and all other dementia are impacted, and encourages them to be proactive in addressing the disease. Among other points, audiences learn that volunteering for a research study not only may benefit them or a loved one but can also help researchers discover a new treatment.
"I wrote 'Unforgettable' to focus on the family members who are caring for a person living with Alzheimer's disease. I wanted to clearly discuss and inspire those who are caregivers by showing a piece on stage that dealt with how Alzheimer's affects the family," said Davis, whose grandmother died from Alzheimer's and whose mother is living with the disease. "We let them see what a family is going through and inspire them to take action. I would hate for a cure for Alzheimer's to become available and it doesn't work for [African Americans] because we didn't participate in studies."
Response to "Unforgettable" has been overwhelmingly positive, with at-capacity performances taking place in Atlanta; Bowie, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Dallas; Greensboro, North Carolina; Houston; Kenosha, Wisconsin; Las Vegas; and Los Angeles. In these markets, the play is helping to build community arelationships via local Association chapters as well as momentum for outreach that will continue in underrepresented populations.
"When you walk into the lobby, it's a festive atmosphere with music and 360-degree photo booths where you can take pictures with your family," Davis said. "I want us to be happy and create those unforgettable moments while we still can."
Building on the success of "Unforgettable," the Association plans to continue using the arts to provide a platform for education and the utilization of resources. Receiving information in this fashion can increase the likelihood that people in underserved communities will take action and obtain necessary resources to support people living with dementia and their caregiving needs.
"There's a lack of culturally appropriate and tailored programming that resonates with disproportionately affected and underserved audiences as it relates to Alzheimer's care and support," says Alzheimer's Association Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Carl V. Hill, Ph.D., MPH.
"[Initiatives like ‘Unforgettable'] give us the opportunity to deliver important disease-related information to the community in a fun and entertaining way — what we call ‘edutainment.' We want audiences to come away with a better understanding of Alzheimer's and all other dementia, and of the resources and support that are available from the Alzheimer's Association to help affected families."