Partnership announced to expand Alzheimer’s awareness and educational outreach in region’s Black communities

Diane Powell, chair of the Pittsburgh chapter of Black Women for Positive Change

The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter and Black Women for Positive Change are partnering to increase awareness and education about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias within the Black community. This partnership developed in response to findings from a recent virtual community forum in the Pittsburgh area, which highlighted these needs.

Research indicates that older Black Americans are twice as likely as older non-Hispanic White Americans to develop Alzheimer’s, yet the disease is underreported in this population, leading to later diagnosis and a delay in receiving treatment and support services. Findings from a Pittsburgh community forum revealed both a lack of knowledge and stigma about Alzheimer’s, including a reluctance to openly discuss the disease, resulting in barriers to accessing care and resources within the Black community. This partnership between BW4PC and the Alzheimer’s Association aims to eliminate these barriers through community-driven programming that increases awareness about Alzheimer’s, encourages the use of support services, and champions existing community efforts to support individuals with the disease and their caregivers.

“Black Women for Positive Change intends to work with the Alzheimer’s Association to have real discussions with individuals and families, who are directly impacted by Alzheimer’s disease,” said Diane Powell, chair of the Pittsburgh chapter of Black Women for Positive Change, in a news release. “We want to use this opportunity to foster learning and to work with key stakeholders in the community in order to address the unique challenges faced by African Americans and to increase access for patients to effective treatment and resources.”

This collaboration will include providing educational programming on Alzheimer’s disease for members of Black Women for Positive Change to support their efforts to positively improve the lives of working- and middle-class Black Americans. The two organizations will also work together with Pittsburgh-area faith leaders to assist the efforts of their healthcare ministries in order to increase education about Alzheimer’s and help eliminate stigma within the community.

“By partnering with organizations like Black Women for Positive Change, the Association can broaden its reach and make a greater impact within the Black community in Pittsburgh,” said Sara Murphy, Vice President of Programs and Services, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter, in a statement. “Our pursuit of health equity involves proactively developing partnerships and assessing opportunities to respond with more informed, culturally conscious resources for all communities. We are excited to partner with Black Women for Positive Change to collaborate on building Alzheimer’s and dementia awareness, education and support for our communities.”

Through this evolving partnership, the two organizations will address the health inequities as well as the disproportionate impact of Alzheimer’s on Black Americans. And that effort will center around providing increased educational and awareness programming that is guided by community need and involvement in order to address this ongoing public health crisis.

For more information on the educational programs and resources currently offered by the Alzheimer’s Association, visit the Community Resource Finder at www.alz.org/crf.

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Their vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. For more information, visit www.alz.org/pa or call the 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

Black Women for Positive Change is a national policy-focused network of predominately African American women and “Good Brothers” from states including: California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, New York, Texas and Virginia.

In 2013, the network has two primary goals: To positively contribute to ideas and methods that can strengthen and expand the American middle/working class, with an emphasis on the African American community; and to change the culture of violence in America.

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