Public Health

“In order to serve those in Wisconsin who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, we all need to come together to share our knowledge and be generous with information surrounding this disease – that’s the
only way we will effectively serve the citizens of the state.”

- Dr. Cynthia Carlsson, Interim Director, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia, a general term for memory loss or cognitive impairments, and accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. Due to the increased number of people suffering from AD and dementia, many areas of Wisconsin have developed promising practices to enhance their dementia-friendly communities and help build dementia capable organizations. Unfortunately, these practices are not necessarily shared state-wide.

 

Because of our extensive network and vital cooperation within the scientific, treatment and caregiving communities benefiting those whose lives are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, the Initiative to End Alzheimer’s is in a key position to address this issue. The creation of the Wisconsin Dementia Resource Network (WDRN) will generate an atmosphere for sharing culturally-tailored best practices in dementia-friendly communities and dementia-capable businesses across Wisconsin, where people will be met with understanding and have the ability to live as independently as possible all while being active in their community.

 

What’s more, the UW is uniquely positioned to further address this issue. The WDRN will be used to identify and share best practices with key Wisconsin stakeholders such as the Department of Human Services, Alzheimer’s Association chapters, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, dementia care specialists, and community-based dementia leaders. The ultimate goals of the WDRN are to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and increase access to dementia-capable services, leading to earlier diagnosis and better quality of life for people living with dementia.

 

In order to create this network, the UW is looking to identify $2 million in philanthropic gifts to do the following:

  • Provide seed funding to organizations and communities who elect to start a dementia-friendly community, or adopt best practices to increase dementia-capable partners within the community
  • Conduct two pilot studies per year centered on public health models of care to attract additional federal funding
  • Invest in outreach and education programs across the state in order to expand awareness and increase the number of dementia-friendly communities in Wisconsin
  • Construct and maintain a web-based portal designed to share Alzheimer’s disease and dementia information with network participants
  • Develop web-based data collection system to gather data from community partners so that we may evaluate and research the impact of the WDRN in areas of stigma reduction, caregiver burden, and improving access to dementia-specific healthcare

Dr. Cindy Carlsson, Interim Director, WAI and Clinical Core Leader, Wisconsin ADRC, along with Shahriar Salamat, MD, PhD and Sterling Johnson, PhD, present at the Wisconsin ADRC subject dinner.

To learn more about supporting the UW Alzheimer’s disease public health mission during your lifetime or through your estate plan, please contact Dori Suddarth at 608-381-3638 or dori.suddarth@supportuw.org.