Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care and Services holds first meeting
Today was the first meeting of the Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care and Services. The Advisory Council, comprising a diverse group of stakeholders from the Alzheimer's community as well as designees from those federal agencies with Alzheimer's and dementia programs or initiatives under their purview, is charged with advising the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the development of a national strategy to address Alzheimer's disease. The council was created by the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA), which was signed into law early this year by President Obama. Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association, is a member of the Advisory Council.
"The scale of the Alzheimer's public health crisis is clear. As many as 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's today, with an economic toll on the nation of $183 billion per year," said Johns. "Our community understands the gravity of this opportunity and the importance of developing a strong strategic plan that would change the trajectory of the disease and end its devastating and heartbreaking effects on millions of families."
The morning portion of the day-long meeting began with reports from various federal agencies that have conducted assessments on the current Alzheimer's and dementia-related programs and initiatives, including inventory presentations on research, clinical care services and long-term care services and supports. The meeting also included a gap analysis presentation that outlined where opportunities exist to make greater strides in advancing progress in Alzheimer's disease.
The afternoon portion of the meeting focused on the steps needed to create a plan that is sufficient to fully address the disease. The council members delved into issues such as gaps in knowledge and information about basic and translational research, how best to attract participation in large scale Alzheimer's clinical trials, how best to improve the care service delivery system and how to enhance home and community based services and resources that support the growing number of Alzheimer's families. Advisory Council members also discussed how best to structure the national plan and what broad areas and goals should be included in the report. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will create the national plan and provide a draft to Advisory Council members by December. In January, the Advisory Council will meet to discuss the initial draft.
"Today was a very productive meeting," said Johns. "I believe we've taken an important step in this process. The information shared and the positive exchanges will bring us a closer to executing the urgent and transformational work necessary to overcome the Alzheimer's disease crisis."
The 22-member Advisory Council includes federal representation from the Surgeon General and officials from the Administration on Aging, the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Food and Drug Administration, the Indian Health Service, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.