As chair of the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum, I invite you to join us in Washington, D.C., for the 29th annual Forum. Thanks to your efforts and all those within the Alzheimer’s Association and its sister organization, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), we’ve had a year of incredible public policy successes. But you know as well as I that there’s no time to rest, and I’m hoping you’ll join me in Washington to be the voice of all those living with this terrible disease and those who so selflessly care for them.
I attended my first Forum in 1993 and have returned many times to be my “mother’s voice,” as I know she would want me to do for her in advocating on behalf of those facing Alzheimer’s. Like many of you, the inspiration for my passion was having a loved one who suffered and ultimately lost their life to the disease. My mother passed away in 1995 after having endured Alzheimer’s for 14 years. I proudly served on the Cleveland Area Chapter’s board in the early 1990’s and again recently before joining the Association’s national board.
Whether you’re a veteran or a newcomer to advocacy, you’ve seen the power of our collective efforts over the past few years. Together, we’ve accomplished some incredible milestones, from passage of the National Family Caregiver Support Program and expedited access to Social Security Disability Insurance for younger-onset individuals to the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) and the release of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease in 2012. The inclusion of the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act in 2014’s Omnibus Appropriations Bill was another major victory, as was the unprecedented $350 million increase for Alzheimer’s research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for FY2016.
Following the Forum last year, we saw bipartisan support grow for two of our leading priorities. First, support for the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act grew to 366 cosponsors in Congress, which led the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to announce it would begin paying for cognitive and functional assessments and care planning in 2017. For the first time, people living with Alzheimer’s will have access to care planning with a medical professional through Medicare. And second, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved our requested $400 million increase for FY2017. Our work to encourage Congress to increase federal funding is more important now than ever.
I’ve often said that a world without Alzheimer’s disease begins with me, but it will travel through Washington. That’s where the necessary resources exist to make that world possible. Please join me in attending the Advocacy Forum.
Thank you for all that you do.
Chair, 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum
March 27-29, 2017
Washington Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Rd NW
Washington, DC 20008