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Local Volunteer Named Alzheimer’s Association 2022 ‘Advocate of the Year’
A Delaware Valley Chapter volunteer received this prestigious National honor, given to one advocate each year for her leadership and passion in advocating on behalf of all who are impacted by Alzheimer’s
PHILADELPHIA, May 18, 2022 — The Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) have named Michele Castro, of the Lehigh Valley, the 2022 Advocate of the Year. Castro was recognized during the 2022 AIM Advocacy Forum
, the nation’s premier Alzheimer's disease advocacy event, for her more than six years of involvement and leadership with the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter.
“Receiving this award is truly an honor, as this cause is so significantly important to me and my family,” said Castro. “My mother was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s, as was my brother and two of my aunts–all of whom have since passed away from the disease. I have seen firsthand the devastating impact that Alzheimer’s disease can have on a person, and on a family. And, I now know that because of my genetic makeup, I am at high risk for developing the disease. If I can dedicate even a small bit of my own time to help advocate and raise awareness for policy change that can improve the lives of those impacted, I am happy to do so for as long as I am able.”
Castro began her advocacy work with the Delaware Valley Chapter in 2015, and over the years she has become an advocate leader, and has become an Ambassador specifically for Congresswoman Wild (PA-07). In fact, through Castro’s hard work, passion and persistence, Congresswoman Wild has supported every piece of Alzheimer’s legislation that has been shared with her for consideration and support.
“Michele is incredibly committed to advocacy, and she is truly an amazing and passionate leader,” said Katie Macklin, Senior Director of Advocacy, Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter. “This is a very well-deserved recognition for Michele, as she brings another level of creativity, thoughtfulness, and first-hand experience to her role as an advocate. I am so proud of the work that Michele has done within our local area with Congresswoman Wild, and with advancing our national policy priorities at the highest level. Without the commitment of volunteers like Michele, we would not be able to move our missions forward as effectively.”
Not only does Castro volunteer her time as an advocate, but she is also a supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs. And, she invests time in raising awareness for the disease and for the Alzheimer’s Association mission, events and resources by telling her story in the press and on social media.michl
This week, Castro, alongside more than 600 volunteer advocates, took to Capitol Hill to make the case to federal policymakers to advance policies to improve the lives of all individuals affected by Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association policy priorities include:
National Alzheimer's Plan Act (NAPA)
Reauthorization Act: This would extend NAPA through 2035, ensuring the work of the National Plan continues; adds new federal representatives to the Advisory Council; address health disparities among underrepresented populations; and promote healthy aging and risk reduction for Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's Accountability and Investment Act
: This would make permanent the requirement that the scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) continue to submit Professional Judgment Budgets (PJBs) directly to Congress – ultimately this could continue the momentum in Alzheimer's and dementia research, care and support.
Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act
: This calls on Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to implement a dementia care management model to test effectiveness of comprehensive care management services. The model is designed to reach as many Medicare beneficiaries as possible — especially rural, medically underserved, and diverse communities.
Equity in Neuroscience and Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials (ENACT) Act
: This would expand access and increase outreach to underserved communities; enhance diversity of the clinical trial staff; and reduce participation burden.
: Support an additional $226 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 for Alzheimer’s research activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $30 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 for implementation of the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act
at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Each of these priorities has a goal of advancing research, extending support and increasing access to resources for all of those impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Macklin said. “Support and investment from our elected officials is critical in ensuring the public health crisis of Alzhimer’s disease is addressed from every angle.”
To learn more about the policy priorities of the Alzheimer’s Association, visit https://alzimpact.org/
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.