Optimizing health for the U.S. population requires eliminating disparities and addressing social determinants of health. Major strides in improving the nation’s health can best occur by focusing on communities at greatest risk and eliminating barriers to quality healthcare services. Cognitive health is no exception. Alzheimer’s and other dementias disproportionately impact African Americans, Hispanics and women.

Primed for implementation: HBI Road Map

Action E-2 — Integrate the best available evidence about brain health and cognitive decline risk factors into existing health communications that promote health and chronic condition management for people across the life span.

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  • Older African Americans are about two times more likely than older whites to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
  • Older Hispanic Americans are about one and one-half times more likely than their white peers to have dementias.
  • Almost two-thirds of older Americans with Alzheimer’s dementia are women.
  • At age 65, women without Alzheimer’s have more than a one in five chance of developing Alzheimer’s dementia during the remainder of their lives, compared with a one in nine chance for men.

Eliminating disparities is an integral part of public health, particularly among disease prevention and health promotion activities. An important strategy is concentrating resources on populations who are underserved, are more vulnerable or suffer a disproportionate burden of disease. Additionally, public health practitioners are uniquely situated to implement dementia-specific strategies that are culturally, linguistically and age appropriate for people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

State-specific action you can take

Communities are taking public health action against Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Find out how the disease impacts your state and what you can do to make Alzheimer's the next public health success story.

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Featured Resources

Penn Memory Center Alzheimer’s Disease And Dementia PSA Database
Stanford Geriatric Education Center Webinar Series: Ethnicity and the Dementias

 
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State University of New York-Plattsburgh To support caregivers in the St. Regis Mohawk Nation, an Alzheimer's Navigator delivers education and coordinates support groups throughout the area. Additional services (including respite, transportation assistance, and caregiving training) are offered.
AZ Banner Alzheimer's Institute The Banner Native American Outreach program increases awareness of Alzheimer's and other dementias among Arizona's American Indian communities, and works to establish better connections among tribal health organizations and urban Indian communities.
AZ Maricopa County Public Health Department Maricopa County Public Health Dept.—with the regional chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, Banner Health Institute, and potentially other organizations—held a community educational event that raised African Americans’ awareness of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive health issues.
CA Los Angeles County Department. of Public Health Los Angeles County Department of Public Health—with the regional chapter of the National Black Nurses Association and potentially other organizations—held a community educational event that raised African Americans’ awareness of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive health issues.
GA City of Atlanta Created ministerial alliance on Alzheimer’s and other dementias to work with state government to promote awareness in the African-American community through faith-based organizations.
LA East New Orleans Health District East New Orleans Health District--—with the regional chapter of the National Black Nurses Association and potentially other organizations—held a community educational event that raised African Americans’ awareness of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive health issues.
MA Department of Public Health Massachusetts Department of Public Health—with the regional chapter of the National Black Nurses Association and potentially other organizations—held a community educational event that raised African Americans’ awareness of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive health issues.
ME Department of Health and Human Services Developed GLBT-inclusive messaging for public awareness campaigns.
MN Minnesota Department of Health Educated community health workers on the oral health needs of people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias by developing a curriculum and partnering with institutions that train these workers.
MN Department of Health With legislative support, Minnesota Department of Health created new program focused on providing outreach and dementia education to African-Americans, African-born residents, and Asian and Hispanic populations.
MO Missouri Department of Health and Social Services Enhanced public awareness of cognitive health and dementia among African Americans in the southeast region of Missouri by conducting a multi-faceted social marketing campaign that provides culturally appropriate messaging and information on risks, early diagnosis, treatment, and community resources.
MO Missouri Department of Health and Social Services Promoted cognitive assessments and early diagnosis in partnership with Washington University and the existing Community Health Worker Advisory Body through incorporation of these topics into existing community health worker programs for diabetes, cardiovascular health, and women’s health.
NV Southern Nevada Health District The Southern Nevada Health District with the regional chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, and potentially other organizations to host a community educational event that raised African Americans’ awareness of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive health issues.
NY State Department of Health To address disparities, the New York State Department of Health funded a two-year referral and outreach demonstration project that primarily serves African-American and Hispanic communities
OR Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Oregon To promote early detection of Alzheimer’s disease among Hispanic populations, the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Oregon adapted an English-language fotonovela -- an educational tool with photos and a story narrative -- for Spanish-language communities. Involvement of promotoras enhanced cultural relevance. The Alzheimer's Association, Oregon Chapter, the Oregon Health Authority, and many other partners now promote and distribute the fotonovela to Spanish-speaking communities, in part through public health networks.
OR Oregon Health Authority Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon published ¡Unidos Podemos! Enfrentando la pérdida de memoria en familia, a fotonovela for Spanish-speaking community members on caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. The Oregon Department of Human Services, Alzheimer's Association Oregon Chapter, and Oregon Health Authority now promote and distribute the fotonovela to Spanish-speaking communities and public health networks.
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control worked with the Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter to distribute 48,000 of the association’s Know the 10 Signs brochures through its regional offices to raise awareness, especially among African Americans.
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control Worked with leaders in underserved communities to conduct culturally appropriate workshops on the differences between normal, age-related cognitive changes and the warning signs of dementia or other health conditions.
TX City of San Antonio Published a column on Alzheimer’s disease in the local Spanish-language paper, with an emphasis on increasing awareness and promoting early detection and diagnosis.
VA Petersburg/Crater Health District The district—with the regional chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, Virginia Commonwealth University, and potentially other organizations—held a community educational event that raised African Americans’ awareness of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive health issues.
WA State Department of Health With the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, the Washington State Department of Health tested University of Pennsylvania media messages with Asian American adults who may have concerns about changes in their aging parents’ memory or cognition.