New UsAgainstAlzheimer's Center for Brain Health Equity to Address Disparate Impact of Dementia on Black and Latino Communities
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Receives $1.5 million CDC Cooperative Agreement to Fund the Development of Data-Based Strategies to Promote Brain Health Equity with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, National Black Nurses Association, and Alzheimer’s Los Angeles.
Washington, D.C. (August 13, 2020) – UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) today announced the creation of the Center for Brain Health Equity in partnership with prominent national Black and Latino health provider associations, the latest step in the organization’s ongoing work to address the disparate impact of Alzheimer’s and related dementias on communities of color and women.
Addressing inequities in brain health is vital for families, communities and the nation. By 2030, nearly 40 percent of all Americans living with Alzheimer’s will be Black or Latino. Black Americans are twice as likely as non-Hispanic Whites to develop Alzheimer’s; Latinos are 1.5 times as likely.
“We can make progress against deeply entrenched health disparities if we are purposeful and vigilant in our pursuit of equity,” said Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and former director of the CDC, who serves on the board of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and who will serve on the Center’s expert advisory board. “The Center will be critical to driving the coordinated and persistent efforts we need to deliver better brain health outcomes for all communities.”
The Center is led by UsA2 in collaboration with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, the National Black Nurses Association and Alzheimer’s Los Angeles. Its work will be supported by a five-year, $1.5 million cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Healthy Brain Initiative.
“Advancing social justice in the race to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s is core to our mission at UsAgainstAlzheimer’s,” said George Vradenburg, Co-Founder and Chairman of UsA2. “Our Black, Latino and women-serving networks assure that all of our work — in advocacy, research, clinical trials, prevention and drug development — addresses the disparate social, biological and genetic determinants of brain health in our American community.”
The Center will collaborate with nursing professionals and community-based organizations to develop effective and tailored public health strategies for African American and Latino communities, which are disproportionately impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
“We must address systemic brain health disparities through the advancement of nurse education,” said Alana Cueto, MSN, RN, CNL, President of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN). “NAHN is thrilled to partner with UsAgainstAlzheimer's and the CDC to empower the nurse workforce with culturally tailored brain health messages and public health strategies to support the communities where our members live and work.”
“This partnership will be critical to ensuring Black nurses are armed with the tools and messages they need to respond to dementia in communities across the country,” said Patricia Lane, MBA, RN, FAAN, Chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Brain Health of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA). “Our work with UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and the CDC is an important step in building a brain healthy future for the communities 308,000 Black nurses represent.”
Additionally, the Center will serve as a hub for community-level data on dementia disparities and will highlight the intersections of dementia prevalence and social determinants of health, such as lagging educational attainment, exposure to air pollution, and income inequality.
“Communities of color are at the center of our nation’s Alzheimer’s public health crisis, and there is an urgent need for health equity in our national response,” said Jason Resendez of UsA2, who will serve as director of the new Center. “Without equity-centered and data-driven strategies that take into account the social determinants of health, millions of families will be left out of advances in promoting brain health.”
The Center’s analysis will map the impact of dementia at the county and zip-code levels to better understand and address entrenched health inequities in disproportionately impacted communities. This work will be powered by the National Alzheimer’s Disease Index™, a new tool under development by UsA2 that enables healthcare providers, public health professionals, researchers, and government leaders to analyze Alzheimer’s health statistics by geography and demographics.
Growing evidence suggests that dementia risk can be modified by brain healthy behaviors, including effective management of hypertension, diabetes and obesity. In fact, the Lancet Commission released new research showing that managing certain risk factors could prevent or delay approximately 40 percent of worldwide dementia cases. Under-resourced communities are at a disadvantage in managing these risk factors, however, due to deep inequities in education, access to exercise opportunities, and access to nutritious food.
“Alzheimer’s Los Angeles is pleased to partner with UsAgainstAlzheimer’s to establish this first-of-its-kind Center,” said Heather Cooper Ortner, President and CEO of Alzheimer’s Los Angeles. “We are committed to improving health equity and to sharing the many lessons we’ve learned serving one of the most diverse communities in the country.”
UsA2 will contribute to the efforts of other recipients of CDC’s Healthy Brain Initiative funding, including the International Association for Indigenous Aging, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Alzheimer’s Association.
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) is a disruptive advocacy and research-focused organization that is pushing for expanding treatments and accelerating towards a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. UsA2’s transformative programming is laser-focused on proactive brain health across the lifespan and understanding what matters most across the lived experiences of those affected by Alzheimer’s in the service of preventing, treating and curing this disease. We are working to ensure that all communities have their voices heard and get a chance to be brain healthy from the earliest years while building resistance against possible cognitive decline.