Leading researchers and community leaders convene in Tempe, Ariz. on Feb. 8-9
CHICAGO, January 24, 2023
— The Alzheimer’s Association is joining leading brain health and dementia researchers and community leaders for the second annual Black Men’s Brain Health Conference scheduled for Feb. 8-9 in Tempe, Ariz.
The two-day conference will examine how various risk factors contribute to Black men’s higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other brain disorders. The conference will also explore how resilience — the brain’s ability to adapt to significant sources of stress — affects Black men’s cognitive health.
“Black Americans and other underrepresented and underserved communities face unique challenges in achieving optimal cognitive health,” said Dr. Carl V. Hill, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Alzheimer’s Association. “Black men are disproportionately impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia, and yet are less likely to be diagnosed; less likely to be recruited to participate in research; less likely to have access to care and support services; and they face racial discrimination when seeking assessment and treatment for dementia care. This conference provides an opportunity for community leaders and researchers to identify strategies to address the barriers and challenges that Black men face in their cognitive health.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2022 Facts and Figures
report, Black Americans are about twice as likely as White Americans to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias. There is also evidence that missed diagnoses of Alzheimer’s and other dementias are more common among older Black Americans than among older Whites. In addition, chronic health conditions associated with higher dementia risk, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, disproportionately affect Black Americans.
“There’s a myriad of factors that contribute to poorer cognitive health outcomes for Black men in this country,” said conference presenter Robert W. Turner II, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Research and Leadership at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences. “The good news is some of these factors can be controlled. An important aim of the conference is identifying and implementing strategies to better manage controllable risk factors to help Black men improve their cognitive health, mental fitness and overall wellness.”
The conference will offer six sessions examining various risk factors adversely affecting Black men’s cognitive health and strategies for addressing them, including:
- Cognitive aging and dementia.
- Risk and resilience factors in older minority populations.
- Spotlight on the Black American community in brain health research.
- Tools and perspectives to advance resilience research in Black American population.
- Incarceration/judicial system within a risk and resilience framework.
- The institution of sport as a risk and resilience factor in brain health across the lifespan.
In addition to identifying strategies to reduce cognitive health disparities among Black men, the conference seeks to identify strategies for increasing Black men’s participation in dementia research and clinical trials. Currently, Black Americans make up 5% or less of all clinical trial participants. A 2021 Alzheimer’s Association survey found that nearly two-thirds of Black Americans (62%) believe that medical research is biased against people of color.
"Black communities have passed-down memories of the heinous Tuskegee syphilis trial, forced sterilizations, and Baltimore's 1930s redlining initiative, the latter of which impacted health care access and outcomes for generations," Dr. Hill said. "We have lots of history to mourn, but it’s critical that we find ways to build trust with Black Americans because our participation in clinical trials is essential if we are to assure public health and develop future treatments that are effective widely across all communities, particularly those disproportionately affected like Black Americans.”
Joining the Alzheimer’s Association as partners for this year’s conference are:
- Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University.
- Berkeley Social Welfare.
- Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University.
- NFL Alumni Association.
- Player Networking Event.
- Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
Currently, there are more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. Among Black Americans age 70 or older, more than 1 in 5 (21%) are living with Alzheimer’s.
Conference registration is free and is available for in-person or virtual attendance. Interested media, researchers, community leaders and members of the public can register at: www.mensbrainhealth.org/conference
About the Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to lead 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®. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.