About Us

Where Memories Matter

 

 

Founded in 2016, The UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s is a collaboration of two world-class organizations at UW–Madison: the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (Wisconsin ADRC) and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute (WAI).

 

The Wisconsin ADRC and WAI work together to end Alzheimer’s disease from two different angles, with numerous UW faculty holding appointments in both organizations. The Wisconsin ADRC’s primary focus is generating new knowledge through research. Whereas the WAI is well known for bringing new knowledge to communities. Their research studies have complementary goals for discovery and intervention and they share common data elements, which allows for pooling of data for studies. Wisconsin ADRC and WAI faculty and staff also collaborate on scientific areas to advance science into care and treatment – benchside to bedside to curbside.

Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (Wisconsin ADRC) is a unique program combining academic, clinical, and research expertise. Its primary mission is to improve the lives of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease by facilitating innovative science that targets the prevention and treatment of the disease. In 2009, the Wisconsin ADRC was formally established under the leadership of Dr. Sanjay Asthana through generous funding from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging (NIH/NIA).

 

It is one of 35 Alzheimer’s Disease Centers across the United States and the only one in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin ADRC is also the nation’s first and only federally funded center focused on geriatric medicine. The clinicians and researchers at the Wisconsin ADRC are working to identify early signs of the disease and its causes in order to better understand why Alzheimer’s disease occurs and find ways to prevent, slow, or halt progression. They are part of a national strategy to combat Alzheimer’s disease and are dedicated to finding a cure by 2025. Their accomplishments since being founded in 2009 include:

 

  • 725 published research papers
  • More than 50 active studies in basic and clinical research
  • More than 150 completed research studies
  • Approximately 100 community outreach and educational                            events per year

 

Investigators at the Wisconsin ADRC conduct ba­sic science, clinical, and health services research programs. Their work is supported by resources collected and maintained by the Wisconsin ADRC, including a registry of potential research volunteers, biomarker databases, and an advanced neuroimaging service. In addition, through the generosity of its study volunteers, the Wisconsin ADRC is able to share data and research results with researchers around the country who are also studying this disease.

Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute

 

The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute (WAI) provides information, education, research, outreach, advocacy, and service programs to help improve lives, advance knowledge, and inspire hope. The WAI is committed to partnering with organizations, clinics, healthcare professionals and communities to create a reliable and accessible public environment in which Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are widely recognized, understood, and appropriately treated.

 

In the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea to share knowledge across the state and beyond, the WAI collaborates with both rural communities and urban centers, the Wisconsin ADRC, as well as various UW academic and research departments. In 2008, the WAI Regional Milwaukee Office was established in Milwaukee, WI, with the following goals:

 

  • Empower the community through outreach & education
  • Improve access to quality care, early diagnosis and                                       treatment for dementia
  • Increase African-American research participation by                                       building culturally tailored programs

 

The WAI is home to the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), the largest parental history cohort study of Alzheimer’s disease in the world. Founded by Dr. Mark Sager in 2000, the study tracks the characteristics and habits of adults who have a parent with Alzheimer’s disease, with the goal to better understand the factors that may increase a person’s risk or resilience to developing the disease.

UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s

Leadership Team

Sanjay Asthana, MD

Director, Wisconsin ADRC

Associate Dean, Department of Medicine (Gerontology)

Section Chief, Department of Medicine (Geriatrics)

Director of the Geriatric Research, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital

Duncan G. and Lottie H. Ballantine Endowed Chair in Geriatrics

Dr. Sanjay Asthana is an internationally recognized physician-scientist with expertise in Alzheimer’s disease and aging research. He received his medical degree from the University of Delhi in India and completed his residency at the University of Saskatchewan School of Medicine. He is the Associate Dean for Gerontology and Director of the Wisconsin ADRC. Additionally, he serves as Chief of the UW Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology and Director of the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Madison VA Medical Center. Funded continuously by NIH for over 22 years, Dr. Asthana has pioneered the field of estrogen treatment for age-related cognitive changes and conducted several prominent clinical trials.

Cynthia Carlsson, MD, MS

Interim Director, WAI

Clinical Core Leader, Wisconsin ADRC
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (Geriatrics and Gerontology)

Associate Director for Clinical Programs at the Madison VA GRECC
Louis A. Holland, Sr., Professorship in Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr. Carlsson is the Associate Director of the WAI and Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics. She is a board-certified internist and geriatrician with clinical expertise in dementia. Her clinical research focuses on early identification of Alzheimer’s disease through use of cerebrospinal fluid and neuroimaging biomarkers, and the role of vascular risk factors in the development of dementia. Dr. Carlsson’s overarching goal is to better understand how vascular risk factors contribute to the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and how treating these vascular mechanisms may delay or prevent the onset of dementia.

Sterling Johnson, PhD

Associate Director, Wisconsin ADRC

Principal Investigator, WRAP, WAI
Jean R. Finley Professor of Dementia and Geriatrics
Professor, Department of Medicine (Geriatrics and Gerontology)
Leader, Neuroimaging Service

Dr. Johnson is a clinical neuropsychologist with research interests in brain function in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. He is the lead investigator for WAI’s Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), a longitudinal cohort study of people at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, and the Imaging Core Leader of the Wisconsin ADRC. He is also a Professor in the Department of Medicine, the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology and affiliated with the Geriatric Research Education and Clinic Center (GRECC) as well as the Wm. S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital. Dr. Johnson’s current projects focus on:

 

  • Neurobiological and psychological processes that affect memory
  • Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease with multi-modal imaging including amyloid and tau imaging
  • Enriching clinical trials and improving trial design to speed the discovery of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease

Art Walaszek, MD

Co-Leader of the Outreach, Recruitment and Education Core, Wisconsin ADRC

Vice Chair for Education and Faculty Development, Department of Psychiatry

Director of Psychiatry Residency Training, Department of Psychiatry

Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Public Health

Consulting Physician, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital

Dr. Walaszek is Co-Leader of the Outreach, Recruitment, and Education Core with the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. He is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. His mission is to improve the care of people with Alzheimer’s disease through education of medical students, residents, and clinicians in practice.  Dr. Walaszek is Vice Chair for Education and Faculty Development, and Director of Psychiatry Residency Training at the University of Wisconsin Department of Psychiatry. His clinical practice involves caring for primarily older adults with depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and dementia, and their families.

Gina Green-Harris, MBA

Director, WAI Regional Milwaukee Office

Director, Center for Community Engagement and Health Partnerships

Gina Green-Harris is the director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute (WAI) Regional Milwaukee Office, an outreach center that provides culturally-tailored programs and services to the Milwaukee-area African American community. The center also provides resources to medical school faculty and staff in their efforts to achieve health equity for all Wisconsin residents. She has also been named director of the Center for Community Engagement and Health Partnerships, which is an outreach program of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health also based in Milwaukee. Gina has built key relationships within the medical school and with community partners. These vital relationships have led to the development of innovative programs, enhanced services, and increased research opportunities, for underserved and underrepresented populations in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin.

UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s

Board of Visitors

Mike Adler, B.S.

Insurance Agent

Ann Brewer, R.N.

Registered Nurse

(Retired)

William Clifton, PhD

UW-Madison Administrator (Retired)

Caregiver

Lou Holland Jr., B.S.

IEA Board Chair

President, Cumota, LLC

Cindy Hoyt

Budget Analyst

(Retired)

Jim Hoyt, Ph.D.

Professor of Journalism

(Retired)

David Knuti, M.A.

Foreign

Commercial Officer

(Retired)

Sigrid Knuti, B.S.

Advancement Executive Director

(Retired)

Carol Koby, M.S.

Broadcasting

Koby Communication Services, LLC

Jim Kubek, MBA

Director of Development

(Retired)

Karen Lange, B.S.

(Retired)

Judy Taylor, B.S.

System Administration

(Retired)

Photo of the inaugural Initiative to End Alzheimer's Board of Visitors Meeting featuring our Board and Staff Members