Alzheimer’s Association Webinar Tackles Care Disparities for Blacks in US

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by Mary Chapman |

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Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

Older Blacks in the U.S. are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as whites of a similar age, and they’re less likely to be diagnosed. Such a health disparity is why the Alzheimer’s Association is presenting a webinar on Feb. 18, marking Black History Month.

Called “Creating a Path Forward: Reaching Health Equity and Reducing Health Disparities in Alzheimer’s and Dementia,” the free program runs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET. Go here to register or call 800-272-3900.

The webinar will discuss the latest in dementia studies, the importance of early detection and diagnosis, and possible ways to realize equities in care. Participants can also learn to identify the warning signs of Alzheimer’s.

The presentation is part of the organization’s Virtual Brain Bus initiative, which seeks to raise awareness about dementia and Alzheimer’s.

“Research is a crucial way to move closer toward health equity,” Carl V. Hill, PhD, vice president of scientific engagement for the Alzheimer’s Association and the webinar’s keynote speaker, said in a press release. “We can pursue that goal by making sure that all communities are represented in research by including diverse perspectives from researchers in many scientific disciplines and the participation of all communities in Alzheimer’s clinical research.”

Another issue is that African-Americans are usually diagnosed when Alzheimer’s has advanced and patients’ medical needs are greater, according to the organization. A report by Us Against Alzheimer’s, an African-American network, links the disease among Blacks to health factors that include environmental, behavioral, and socioeconomic status, and heart disease.

Another report cites deep social inequalities related to education, income, food insecurity, and the physical environment in counties with the highest Alzheimer’s rates among Blacks and Latinos. These groups are expected to make up 40% of all Alzheimer’s or dementia patients in the U.S. by 2030.

“Ongoing conversations and discussions about health equity and health disparities allow diversity and inclusion to strengthen our innovative capacity,” said Keith Gibson, the Alzheimer’s Association’s program manager. “When we actively seek diverse perspectives, we unleash the full potential of our society, and that’s what we at the Alzheimer’s Association hope to accomplish with programs like this one.”

In addition to Hill, webinar speakers will include Tequesta Alston, a community educator for the organization, and U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, who represents Florida’s 5th congressional district.

The Alzheimer’s Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to patient care and support, and disease research.

This program is funded in partnership with State of Florida, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, and the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas counties.