The racial inequities that have existed in our nation for hundreds of years have been brought to the surface again over the last few months. We at the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center recognize this nationwide problem, and are deeply committed to contributing to the solutions.
Of our nearly 500-person cohort in the University of Michigan Memory & Aging Project (UM-MAP), 40% are Black. While we do a great deal of work to address the health disparities that exist across racial lines in dementia, we know we can do more. And while we already spend approximately 25-30 hours per week in Detroit bringing access to research to the local Black community that resides there, we know we can still do more.
Our Center resides at the intersection of research, community outreach and education, and support. We know that it is our duty to do all that we can to support the ongoing research toward better care for Black Americans, while also increasing access to dementia education and support in the Black community.
While we intend to incorporate this diversity, equity and inclusion work into our ongoing conversations and priorities, we do have some concrete intentions that we’d like to share with our community at this time.
Firstly, we commit to funding research projects that address racial and ethnic disparities in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. This includes understanding the causes of dementia in Black Americans and the reasons why care is inequitably delivered, and developing community-based participatory research toward caregiving and modifiable disease risk.
Secondly, we intend to increase our education and outreach activities in the Detroit community.
Thirdly, long term we hope to help fund student from underrepresented groups in summer research experiences.
There are many opportunities for us to make changes that support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). While these are just a few, we are always open to your thoughts, feedback, and suggestions toward supporting these goals. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Erin Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional suggestions for how to improve the DEI efforts at our Center.