Researchers have found that African-Americans have a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias and in fact, are twice as likely as white Americans to be so impacted. The reasons for these health disparities are varied but potential solutions all boil down to the need for research and specifically for volunteers from within this community to take part in clinical trials.
The Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter is organizing a special five-part webinar series, “Facing Dementia in the Black/African-American Community” that will not only address these disparities, but offer experts from the national Alzheimer’s Association and the Buffalo area who will speak about the issue, local resources and how to get involved in finding solutions.
Among the speakers will be Dr. Carl Hill, vice president of Scientific Engagement for the Alzheimer’s Association, whose impressive background includes six years at the National Institute on Aging where he led the development of the Health Disparities Research Framework, which stimulates studies focused on health disparities related to aging. “We know that African-Americans are disproportionately affected and are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other dementia than white Americans, so it’s crucial that we understand the many factors that might be involved,“ said Dr. Hill in a recent interview. His presentation will focus on how to overcome health disparities with participation in critical research trials.
The series will be offered live via the Zoom application every Thursday evening at 6 p.m. from Sept. 3 through Oct. 1, with these presenters:
Sept. 3: Arthena Caston was diagnosed with a younger-onset dementia at age 51. Arthena will discuss breaking the stigma of Alzheimer’s and dementia in the African American community.
Sept. 10: Carl V. Hill, Ph.D., M.P.H, Alzheimer’s Association, vice president of Scientific Engagement and Rev. George F. Nicholas, MDiv. Dr. Hill oversees efforts to create global awareness of the Association’s research program and Pastor Nicholas of Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church in Buffalo chairs the Buffalo Center for Health Equity and is the Convener of the African-American Health Equity Task Force. Both gentlemen will cover the need for diversity in research and what steps individuals can take to overcome health disparities.
Sept. 17: Karl Shallowhorn, M.S., CASAC, is the founder and president at Shallowhorn Consulting in Buffalo. He will discuss caregiver stress and how to overcome it, as well as potential warning signs of mental health difficulties for dementia caregivers.
Sept. 24: Three Buffalo-area religious leaders, who also have personal experience with dementia caregiving, will take part in a panel discussion: The Role of Faith in Dementia Caregiving. Pastor Angela Stewart leads Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Ms. Brenda Favor is from Friendship Baptist Church and Pastor Betty Williams heads Elim Christian Fellowship.
Oct. 1: Dementia care consultants and volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Association WNY Chapter will discuss tips for healthy living and aging as well as local resources.
The conference is free but registration is required to access the Zoom link. To register for all sessions or individual classes, visit bit.ly/Dementia Webinar, or call the Association’s toll-free 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.