Courtney lives in Lexington, Kentucky and is a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Kentucky getting her PhD in Physiology doing Alzheimer’s research.
How long have you been involved with the Alzheimer’s Association?
I have been involved since 2015 so about 5 years total but 2.5 years with the KY/IN chapter.
In what way(s) do you volunteer?
I am the ambassador for Public Policy for the KY-06 district with the Association. I work with our congressman and his team to help push important legislation through the federal government to support Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. I am also a Walk team captain for the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging team and a volunteer at the Lexington Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Why do you support the Association? How has Alzheimer’s disease personally affected you?
I was a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority at Auburn University as an undergrad and the Alzheimer’s Association was our main philanthropy which we supported through fundraisers and raising awareness. Through my involvement in Sigma Kappa, I saw how many of my sisters were directly affected by this disease and in moving to graduate school, I wanted to continue supporting Alzheimer’s disease. This led me to where I am now - supporting the Association in hopes of ending Alzheimer’s through my own research. As a graduate student at the University of Kentucky, I work on genetic risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease and hope my findings can help push the field of Alzheimer’s disease forward towards finding a treatment and one day a cure for the disease.
What impact do you feel your work with the Alzheimer’s Association has on the community?
Through being an advocate for the Association, I feel that my work has a direct impact on the community. Since becoming an ambassador, my team and I have gotten our congressman to increase the federal budget for dementia research. This has had a direct impact in Lexington because this has allowed both Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and the University of Kentucky at large to continue ground-breaking Alzheimer’s research. Additionally, our congressman has fully supported BOLD and PCHETA which will both help build a better infrastructure towards Alzheimer’s disease and improve care and support for those with the disease and their caregivers. These will all be incredibly important in Kentucky but also in the United States as a whole and I cannot wait to see what else our team can accomplish with the support of our congressman!
What else are you involved in within your community (if anything)?
I am heavily involved in graduate student life at the University of Kentucky. Because of my involvement as a policy ambassador for the Association, I am a founding member and the Vice President of a new organization, Kentucky Advocates for Science Policy and Research. Through this, I am using the skills I have learned through the Association to give students experience in policy, increase awareness about the importance of science policy, and inform students about ongoing policy matters (including Alzheimer’s disease). I am also the Secretary of the Biomedical Graduate Student Organization which is a group to enhance the social, networking, professional development, and outreach experiences for the graduate students in the biomedical sciences. Additionally, I have started a mentoring program in the Women in Medicine and Science organization to pair female trainees in the college with female faculty members to increase mentoring and support throughout the college.
Why would you encourage others to support the Association?
This organization is incredible and has given me far more than I could ever express! From the staff to advocates to volunteers, it would be hard to find a more passionate group all united behind finding an end to Alzheimer’s and related dementias. I would encourage everyone, regardless if you have a familial connection or not, to consider supporting the Association. Personally, I see the work the Association does towards improving scientific discoveries. They fund high-risk projects to kickstart important projects. They also support new trials for drug discoveries to help find a treatment by 2025! The more people that support the Association, the more progress we can make towards discoveries and treatments to prevent Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
Is there anything else you would like us to include or know about you?
In addition to supporting the Association as a whole, I advocate for anyone interested in the scientific findings and discoveries made in the field to support ISTAART! ISTTART is the Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment.