June 5, 2020
Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous stress on our country, exposing deep societal inequities. It is against this background that the sad and shocking events of the past week laid bare the systemic racism in our country. While the police killing of George Floyd has affected us all, it highlights the deep discrimination that Black Americans regularly face. This issue must be addressed by all communities, both small and large. All of us at the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center are deeply committed to do our part to bring this issue to light and to contribute to solutions.
Of course, as many remind me, talk is cheap. We will be measured by the actions we take. I am proud that our Center has worked to understand the causes of dementia in the Black community, about which much is still unknown. Already we are making a difference: nearly 40% of our current research participants are Black, the highest percentage of any NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in the country. But we can do better on many fronts. I commit our Center to redoubling our efforts to raise awareness about health disparities affecting the Black community, to “give back” to our research participants the information they need to maintain or even improve brain function, and to train more next-generation doctors and scientists from underrepresented groups.
Together we can make real, sustainable change.