The MADRC Education and Information Transfer Core (Ed Core) builds upon nearly 25 years of experience training medical professionals about clinical care and research in Alzheimer's Disease (AD), educating patients and caregivers in underrepresented minority communities about AD, and recruiting diverse subjects for research studies. It leverages the outstanding educational resources and training activities of Harvard Medical School (HMS), the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) Gerontology Division, the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew SeniorLife, and the Neurology Department at MGH. Over the past 5 years we have trained 27 geriatric medicine fellows, 48 medical residents, 58 medical students and 7 post-doctoral research fellows in the area of AD and related dementias. Our trainees and faculty published 35 papers, presented numerous community-based educational programs, recruited 63 minority subjects for the MADRC Longitudinal Cohort, and conducted 2 research studies showing: a) that distinct from AD, normal aging is associated with neuropil, but not neuronal loss, and b) the onset of delirium accelerates the course of cognitive decline in patients with AD. Additionally, we have provided education to 180 health care professionals directly serving culturally and linguistically diverse older adults in community settings. We have disseminated information to thousands of community-dwelling elders through presentations, radio and television, newsletters, and seminars.
The specific aims of the Ed Core are to: 1. Enhance the professional education of physicians in the diagnosis, management, and investigation of AD;2. Increase the knowledge of non-professional caregivers and members of minority communities about early identification and symptom control in AD patients and stress reduction in caregivers;and 3. Provide sources of potential subjects of diverse backgrounds and assistance with their recruitment for MADRC research studies. During the renewal period, under the direction of Dr. Sharon Inouye, a leader in cognitive research, we will continue clinical and research training of pre- and postdoctoral students supported by our Geriatric Fellowship, T32 Training Grants, and Hartford Center of Excellence. Under the direction of Marcie Freeman and Dr. Olivia Okereke, both experts in community outreach and cultural issues, we will conduct workshops, seminars, and health fairs in native languages for members of underrepresented communities. With the help of our community advisory board and collaborating community agencies, we will expand our research subject registry, increase its diversity, perform cognitive assessments of participants, and continue to identify subjects for the longitudinal cohort.
Efforts to increase the level of knowledge of non-professional caregivers and all consumers about aging and cognition, the transition to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), AD and other dementias;and diagnosis and management of these memory disorders are essential in order to improve early identification, symptom control, and quality of life of the patient, and caregiver. Focusing these efforts primarily on the diverse communities intheBoston area - particularly, ethnic minority andnon-English speaking communities - is intended to reach those who may have least access to information and resources and bear the greatest burden of disease. Additionally, increasing the representation of diverse participants in clinical trials is necessary to increase knowledge about how AD and related dementias manifest in these populations. Education of medical professionals in clinical aspects of AD diagnosis and treatment is an imperative, given the aging population and associated AD diagnoses.
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