A Healthier Wisconsin

Building the Black American Neurodegenerative Discovery-Together Initiative to Improve Healthy Minds

Tackling inequities in aging Black American healthcare, health behavior, and Alzheimer's disease and related dementias research

Full Project Name:Building the Black American Neurodegenerative Discovery-Together Initiative to Improve Healthy MindsPrincipal Investigator:Laura Umfleet, PsyD, NeurologyCo-Investigator:Malgorzata Franczak, MD, Neurology; Staci Young, PhD, Family MedicineAward Amount:$200,000
Award Date
Project Duration:24 months

Project Description Narrative:

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of neurodegenerative dementia and is a major public health problem expected to reach epidemic proportions. Black Americans are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, possibly partly related to the higher presence of comorbidities (e.g., vascular health issues) and associated health disparities in this population. Wisconsin is home to over 360,000 Black Americans who are 65+. Milwaukee's population is nearly 40% Black. Black Americans are greatly underrepresented in Alzheimer's disease research, and no current efforts exist at Froedtert Hospital & the Medical College of Wisconsin (FH/MCW) to engage Black American elders and their caregivers. This underrepresentation means data are lacking on whether Alzheimer's disease and related dementias unfold in the same way or differently across racial and ethnic groups.

This project will begin to address this critical gap in Alzheimer's disease and related dementia care and research at FH/MCW. In line with the National Institutes on Aging initiative to improve the engagement of minority communities in Alzheimer's disease healthcare and research, the researchers seek to build the foundation to establish a community-informed and jointly led initiative, which they will call the Black American Neurodegenerative Discovery (BAND)-Together initiative. One primary long-term goal of BAND-Together is to unite members of the Black American community with FH/MCW providers to improve health equity and the science of inclusion for Black American older adults.

Project Updates:

  • Hosted multiple informational sessions on Alzheimer's disease, completed four focus groups, and identified community key stakeholders
  • Enrolled 43 community members in the BAND-Together listserv
  • Established the BAND-Together community advisory board (CAB), which, to date, is comprised of four African American women from professional backgrounds, including social services, legal, ADRD community-based research, and surgery

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