The Alzheimer's Association and The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church) announced today a new three-year partnership aimed at educating and engaging more than 2 million U.S.-based AME Church members in the fight against Alzheimer's.
The Alzheimer's Association and the AME Church, through the leadership of its International Health Commission, will work together to create greater awareness of Alzheimer's Association resources, programs, care and support services for families impacted by Alzheimer's and other dementias in communities served by the AME Church, while engaging church members in the Association's volunteer, diversity outreach, advocacy, research and fundraising initiatives.
"The Alzheimer's Association is pleased to join with the AME Church to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease and to engage its members in the fight against Alzheimer's," said Rey Martinez, chief diversity and inclusion officer, Alzheimer's Association. "This important partnership will help extend the Alzheimer's Association reach into communities served by the AME Church, providing more families care and support services, while engaging church members in all our work to end Alzheimer's."
African Americans are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. They are also less likely to have a diagnosis of their condition, resulting in less time for treatment and planning. The partnership will look to further inform AME Church members about the disease, risk factors, the importance of early diagnosis, and other important disease-related information.
"AME Church looks forward to working with the Alzheimer's Association," said Bishop Harry L. Seawright, President of the Council of Bishops and Chairman of the Commission on Health, AME Church. "I know how devastating this disease can be. My mother passed away 13 years ago from Alzheimer's, and my sister, who is one of my biggest cheerleaders, has dementia. So, for me, it's very personal. It's important that we connect our community with information about Alzheimer's and where people can go for help."
"Many in our community suffer with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses that can increase the risk of Alzheimer's. We want to encourage our community to learn more so they can reduce their risk," Bishop Seawright said. "We also want to support our caregivers, who struggle with such loss, including a loved one who may no longer remember them."
To kick-off the partnership, the AME Church is sharing educational materials from the Alzheimer's Association with its members on its Health Commission website. The site also includes links to Alzheimer's Association support services for individuals and families affected by the disease, including the Association's 24/7 Helpline. In addition, the Alzheimer's Association and AME Church leaders will focus on engaging the AME Church members in six key activities during the first year of the partnership, including:
• Increasing concern and awareness of Alzheimer's and other dementias
• Providing care and support programming to individuals and families impacted by Alzheimer's
• Expanding research and scientific opportunities
• Supporting state and federal advocacy efforts affecting Alzheimer's
• Participating in Walk to End Alzheimer's and other community-based events
• Engaging AME Church volunteers in the delivery of programs and activities
"We intend for this to be a robust partnership," Martinez said. "We want AME Church members to be engaged in
every aspect of the Alzheimer's Association mission. The AME Church is an influential voice and has been a proven champion for so many important faith-based issues. We're proud to join with it in the fight against Alzheimer's."
"I've been enlightened over the past few months of the magnitude of services the Alzheimer's Association provides," Bishop Seawright said. "It is helping and supporting many people. This partnership will help connect our community with more of these services, so people can get the help and information they need."