Rutgers, Community Groups and Churches Team Up To Promote Alzheimer’s Awareness, Educate Caregivers

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Dec. 8-9 Is African-American Brain Health Weekend at Rutgers-Newark

Recognizing that African Americans are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as the general population, Rutgers University in Newark is collaborating with community and church groups to host a free public conference Dec. 8-9, to promote brain health and education about Alzheimer’s. The program will include presentations on ways to improve memory and to age well, how to care for elders with dementia, support services for families and legal issues for caregivers.  On Dec. 8 attendees also will learn how to cook “brain and heart-healthy” foods and then dine on what they make.  (AGENDA FOLLOWS). All programs are free but seating is limited and advance registration is required. To register for one or more of these events visit; for additional information, contact 973/353-1630.

“Minority and economically disadvantaged seniors are at greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease, due to environmental, lifestyle and behavioral factors,” explains Dr. Mark Gluck, a neuroscientist at Rutgers in Newark and a director of the Rutgers-Newark African-American Alzheimer's Awareness and Brain Health Initiative. “Our objective is to reduce the incidence, social cost, and personal, familial, and community devastation caused by the high rate of Alzheimer’s disease among African Americans -- double that of the general population -- and low rate of treatment, some 40% less than non-minorities.”

The December event is part of the Rutgers-Newark African-American Alzheimer's Awareness and Brain Health Initiative, a partnership of the Rutgers-Newark Office of University-Community Partnerships and the Rutgers Center for Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience.  According to Dr. Diane Hill, assistant chancellor of university-community partnerships at Rutgers-Newark, “This weekend-long program, developed in close cooperation with our local Community Advisory Board, illustrates how the academic and scientific strengths of our university can be leveraged to directly serve the needs of the residents of Newark.”

Community partners for the brain health weekend are Bethany Baptist Church, St. James A.M.E., The New Hope Baptist Church, East Orange Office of Senior Services, City of Newark Municipal Council, Babyland Family Services, Inc.  The program is supported by Forest Laboratories and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association of NJ.

The Brain Health Initiative uses programs such as the Brain Health weekend to increase knowledge among elderly African Americans in the Newark area about risk factors for Alzheimer’s, special factors affecting African Americans, and treatment options. The initiative also is working to promote and support brain healthy lifestyles including better diet and exercise habits among African Americans in Newark, while  providing educational and support services to the primary caregivers for a spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Finally, it is striving to educate African Americans about the value of participating in biomedical research and clinical studies.

Media who would like to speak with Dr. Gluck in advance of the conference should call 973/353-5262.

Rutgers University-Newark, Paul Robeson Campus Center
 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Newark, NJ

Saturday, Dec. 8

African Americans and the Crisis of Alzheimer's Disease:
How to Keep Your Memory Strong and Age Well

Time: 9-11:30 a.m. Room 255-7
Registration: Free but limited to first 250 people

  • “University-Community Brain Health Partnerships,” Diane Hill, PhD, Rutgers-Newark, Office of University-Community Partnerships
  • "Importance of African Americans Participating in Research," Rutgers-Newark, Honors College Undergraduates
  • "Pathways to Successful Aging in African Americans,"  H. Shellae Versey, PhD, Rutgers-Newark, Neuroscience
  • "How to Improve your Memory With a Brain-Healthy Lifestyle,” Mark A. Gluck, PhD, Rutgers-Newark, Neuroscience

Brain and Heart-Healthy Soul Food Cooking for the Holidays:
Demonstration Class & Lunch

Sponsored by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
Time: noon-2 p.m. University Club
Registration: Free but limited to first 60 people

Sunday, Dec. 9

Caring for a Parent or Spouse with Alzheimer's Disease:
A Lunch To Honor and Inform Caregivers

Time: 2 - 3:30 p.m. University Club
Registration: Free but limited to first 60 people

  • "Understanding Alzheimer's and Disease Progression," Mark A. Gluck, PhD, Rutgers-Newark, Neuroscience
  • "Caregiving to Elders with Cognitive Impairments," Deanna Gray-Miceli, PhD, GNP, Rutgers-Newark, School of Nursing
  • "NJ Alzheimer's Support Services for Patients and Families," Michelle Carter, MPH, Alzheimer's Association, Greater NJ
  • "Legal Issues in for Dealing with a Family Member with Dementia," Marilyn Askin, J.D., Rutgers School of Law-Newark