Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies to Host Symposium on Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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Alzheimer's SymposiumThe Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies (HCAB) student association is organizing an interdisciplinary symposium to encourage discussion and debate among students on the complexity of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Symposium, which is open not only for students, but for anyone interested in participating, is taking place on April 18th in Cambridge, MA.

The main purpose of the upcoming symposium is to bring together people of all ages, in particular Harvard students, in a productive discussion about Alzheimer’s, as well as increase awareness about the disease within the community and the country. After the achievements of the event organized last year, the organization aims to improve the symposium this year with new features.

The event will be moderated by the host of The Meredith Vieira Show, Meredith Vieira, while the symposium will include a series of keynote addresses, interactive workshops, panels, art exhibits and musical performances. During the day, the participants will have the opportunity to actively participate in the activities, such us in the Q&A sessions or in the networking meeting.

Among the confirmed speakers at the event are the Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker, the medical director of the Alzheimer’s Unit at Briarwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Sumer Verma, and the co-director of the Center for Alzheimer’s Research & Treatment, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Dorene Rentz.

The Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies organization was created with the purpose of addressing the problems of isolation and social disengagement from patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s. The student association is focused on providing emotional connections to residents with dementia, currently at the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Roslindale, MA, during weekly visits.

The organization works around four pillars besides Alzheimer’s patients, which start with the volunteers, or buddies who make regular visits, offering their energy, smiles and care. The buddies not only help the patients, but also their families, who are able to rest during that time of interaction. Students and staff comprise the two last pillars, as the former are able to learn with the patients and the latter see the burden of caring for Alzheimer’s patients reduced by this work.

The Alzheimer’s Symposium will happen next on Saturday, April 18, at the Northwest Labs: 52 Oxford Street Cambridge, MA, between 10:00 am and 4:30 pm EDT. The event is free for students, but other participants can acquire tickets at the website of the symposium here. More information is provided at the Facebook page of the event.