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
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.)
"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
"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:
● 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
● 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
Develop Policies and Mobilize
● Collaborate in the development,
implementation, and maintenance of state Alzheimer's disease
● Integrate cognitive health and
impairment into state and local government plans (e.g. aging,
coordinated chronic disease, preparedness, falls, and
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 alz.org/public health. For more
information on Alzheimer's disease and the Alzheimer's Association, call
1-800-272-3900 or visit alz.org®.
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
www.alz.org 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
The plan, ordered under the 2011 National
Alzheimer’s Project Act, includes:
● finding ways to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease
● 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
“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
● 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
● HHS launched the widely praised website,
http://www.alzheimers.gov 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
● 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 www.alzheimers.gov. To
read the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2013 Update:
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