On September 24-25, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s held their third annual National Alzheimer’s Summit titled Uniting Communities for a Cure in Washington, DC. It brought together people living with AD, researchers, pharmaceutical companies, community-based organizations, technological companies, caregivers, politicians, in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Without ANY ONE of these groups we will not defeat this horrific disease.
LA CARE member, David X Marquez, PhD was part of the Promoting Brain Health Equity across the Lifespan panel. A panel that reframed the AD disparities in the Latino and African American community as a social justice issue (African Americans are twice and Latinos are 1.5 times as likely as whites to get AD).
Stress and discrimination were discussed as part of the root causes of the disparities in AD. For example, stress literally takes years off a person’s life in terms of brain function.. Another panel included a discussion about how unconscious bias impacts community- and patient-centered AD research and treatment. What does that mean? Basically that you might be treated differently, or a certain way, because you are Latino, speak Spanish, are a woman, etc. It is called “unconscious” because the researcher or doctor does not try to be mean or inconsiderate. Rather, they do it without even realizing it!
Another session of the Summit focused on highlighting strategies for building a diverse research, medical, and care workforce to address the growing needs of older adults of color and to increase the participation of minorities in aging research. A potential solution is to diversify the research workforce and medical care. The more Latinos are represented in research and medical teams, the more likely we are to participate in research!
If you and your family are facing AD, you should know that there are MANY people out there trying to make the world a better place, free of AD. If you Latino/a and are a caregiver, person with AD, or concerned about a loved one, please see our Resource Guide for Spanish-speaking resources.