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Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Plan to Address Cognitive Health As Public Health Issue Released by Alzheimer's Association, CDC

Follows recent update of national plan to address Alzheimer's by Department of Health and Human Services

  The Healthy Brain Initiative: The Public Health Road Map

  National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease

July 15, 2013 – Calling for public health officials to act now to stem the growing Alzheimer's crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer's Association unveiled The Healthy Brain Initiative: The Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013-2018 at the 2013 Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston.

The report is a follow up to the The Healthy Brain Initiative: A National Public Health Road Map to Maintaining Cognitive Health, 2007 . It was released just a month after Department of Health and Human Services last month released the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2013 Update. (See details below this news report.)


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"The public health community is now paying greater attention to the Alzheimer's epidemic that millions of families have been facing for decades and that is poised to drastically increase," said Robert Egge, Vice President of Public Policy at the Alzheimer's Association.

"On the heels of the 2012 release of the country's first-ever National Alzheimer's Plan, the Alzheimer's Association and CDC have partnered again to create a tool for public health officials to improve the quality of life for those families and advance cognitive health as a integral component of public health."

The original Road Map addressed cognitive health and functioning from a public health perspective and provided a framework for the public health community to engage cognitive health, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

More than 280 experts in the field contributed to this new Road Map that outlines specific actions that state and local public health officials can take to promote cognitive functioning, address cognitive impairment for individuals living in the community and help meet the needs of caregivers. While federal agencies play a critical role in leading and funding efforts to address Alzheimer's disease, state and local agencies organize and provide public health services at the community level.

"The goal of the Healthy Brain Initiative is to enhance understanding of the public health burden of cognitive impairment, help build evidence-based communications and programs, and translate that foundation into effective public health practices in states and communities. This Road Map provides guidance to states, communities, and national partners to plan for and respond to this major public health issue," said Lynda Anderson, PhD, Director of the Healthy Aging Program at CDC.

The Road Map includes more than 30 action steps that the public health community can take at the federal, state and local levels over the next five years to address cognitive health and cognitive impairment from a public health perspective. The actions are intended as a guide for what state and local public health officials could do – on their own or with other national, state and local partners. Agencies are encouraged to select those actions that best fit state and local needs and customize them to match priorities, capabilities and resources.

Following are some of the action items, which fall under four topic areas, included in the Road Map:

Monitor and Evaluate

   ● Define the needs of caregivers and persons with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and younger onset, as they relate to employment and employers.

   ● Support state and local needs assessments to identify racial/ethnic; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender; socioeconomic; and geographic disparities related to cognitive health and impairment.

Educate and Empower the Nation

   ● Promote advance care planning and advance financial planning to care partners, families, and individuals with dementia in the early stages before function declines.

   ● Identify and promote culturally appropriate strategies designed to increase public awareness about dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, to reduce conflicting messages, decrease stigma, and promote early diagnosis.

Develop Policies and Mobilize Partnerships

   ● Collaborate in the development, implementation, and maintenance of state Alzheimer's disease plans.

   ● Integrate cognitive health and impairment into state and local government plans (e.g. aging, coordinated chronic disease, preparedness, falls, and transportation plans).

Assure a Competent Workforce

   ● Develop strategies to help ensure that state public health departments have expertise in cognitive health and impairment related to research and best practices.

   ● Support continuing education efforts that improve healthcare providers' ability to recognize early signs of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, and to offer counselling to individuals and their care partners.


For more information on The Healthy Brain Initiative: The Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013-2018, visit health. For more information on Alzheimer's disease and the Alzheimer's Association, call 1-800-272-3900 or visit®.

Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association reports to be the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Visit or call 800-272-3900.

Health and Human Services Updates National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease; Notes Achievements

Reflects national progress towards accomplishing the goals set a year ago, and new and revised action steps

July 15, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last month released the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2013 Update, a follow-up to the initial plan released in May 2012. The update reflects national progress towards accomplishing the goals set a year ago, as well as new and revised action steps.

The plan, ordered under the 2011 National Alzheimer’s Project Act, includes:
   ● finding ways to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025;
   ● enhancing care for Alzheimer’s patients;
   ● expanding support for people with dementia and their families;
   ● improving public awareness; and
   ● carefully tracking data to support these efforts.

The Plan was developed by experts in aging and Alzheimer’s disease from federal, state, private and non-profit organizations.

“Over the past year, the Plan has provided a framework for the progress made to relieve the burden of dementia on individuals, families, our health care system and our economy,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

“Researchers are expanding their work on prevention and treatment and we are getting clinicians the tools they need to help people with the disease. By enhancing collaboration between the public and private sectors, the Plan is breaking down walls that have prevented the sharing of expertise, data and resources needed to combat the disease and provide the best care possible.”

What was accomplished

Highlights over the past year include:

   ● National Institutes of Health, part of HHS, brought together international experts for the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2012: Path to Treatment and Prevention, which developed important recommendations on how best to advance research.

   ● Multiple new Alzheimer’s research projects were funded in 2012, including two major new clinical trials, genetics sequencing, and development of innovative new cellular models for Alzheimer’s.

   ● The Health Resources and Services Administration issued grants that helped provide training to more than 10,000 health care providers on topics from dementia diagnosis to effective behavior management for people with dementia and their caregivers.

   ● HHS launched the widely praised website, to increase public awareness and connect people with a diagnosis and their caregivers with important resources. The site had more than 200,000 visits in the first ten months.

The update plan also identifies additional action steps that HHS and its partners will take. These include:

   ● A unified Alzheimer’s disease training curriculum for primary care providers will be developed to help deliver high-quality dementia care.

   ● Researchers will investigate avoidable hospitalization and emergency department use among those with Alzheimer’s disease and the best interventions for reducing them.

   ● Detection of elder abuse and neglect will be expanded through aging networks and program providers who work with the Alzheimer’s population.

   ● Demonstration grants will be awarded to help promote legal services groups that assist families and communities impacted by Alzheimer’s.

   ● An expanded Dementia Capability Toolkit will be developed for state and local health networks to better help them provide dementia services in their communities.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, visit To read the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2013 Update:

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