Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Community Brain Health in African American Faith-Based Organizations

Dean Sherzai, MD, PhD | Healthy Minds Initiative
Competition Sponsor: US National Academy of Medicine
Award year: 2021

Alzheimer’s disease is the fastest growing epidemic in the United States. Though the disease has affected every family, certain communities are disproportionately affected. The black community and women are at twice the risk of developing the disease. To date we have no treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, but there is now consensus that Lifestyle intervention is very effective in preventing the disease. In the black population, given that poor environmental and lifestyle factors are main contributors to the greater risk, promulgation of appropriate information and implementation of lifestyle changes will have profound effect, but as extant literature has revealed, only when using the traditional venues of care such as the faith community and circumventing the usual limitations of access through use of novel technology and tele-communication can we make meaningful lifestyle changes that can reduce the burden of this terrible disease, and create sustainable structures. Our approach is based on a three-pronged process based on use of traditional community structures (faith communities), community women trainers, and technology and telecommunication to circumvent the usual impediments to change and adherence and create opportunities for sustained change with women at the lead.

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