Finding better ways to reach more people – Beverly Berry is Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Alzheimer’s Association’s National Office
Alzheimer’s and dementia affect communities of color at a disproportionate rate. In fact, Black Americans are twice as likely as older Whites to have Alzheimer’s or another dementia. They are also less likely to have a diagnosis of their condition, resulting in less time for treatment and planning. As the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research, the Alzheimer’s Association is committed to bridging the health disparities gap and aims to achieve health equity in Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.
I willingly admit addressing the health disparities and inequities that exist in this space is a heavy lift that cannot be done by the Alzheimer’s Association alone. This is why we have enlisted the help of several national partnerships with a variety of community, medical and faith based organizations. The power and strength of these partnerships allow us to increase our impact and reach in underserved and underrepresented communities across the country. The partnership between the Alzheimer’s Association and the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E) has allowed us to cultivate a meaningful and lasting relationship that creates a greater awareness of Alzheimer’s Association resources, programs and care and support services for families impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias in communities served by the AME Church. One of those partnerships is here in Milwaukee, with St. Mark AME Church and Pastor Joy Gallmon. On February 16, Pastor Joy and I will host a virtual conversation about dementia and how it impacts the African American community called, “You Are Not Alone: Dementia Perspective, Conversation, and Insight”.
Our pledge to shift the narrative – Joy Gallmon is Pastor of St. Mark AME Church in Milwaukee
I was elated when the Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter reached out to invite St. Mark AMEC to host the “You Are Not Alone: Dementia Perspectives, Conversation, and Insight” event. This event and partnership aligns with who we are as a local AME congregation.
St. Mark AMEC has a legacy of fulfilling the call of Christ to work for the release of those held captive by norms that limit access to life-giving resources. This partnership allows us to fulfill the mission of the global African Methodist Episcopal Church to minister to the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and environmental needs of all people by spreading Christ’s liberating gospel in the spirit of the Free African Society out of which the AME church was born.
More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and 20 percent of them are African American. The membership of St. Mark AMEC are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The membership and the communities we serve personally bear the weight of caregiving and all too often are disconnected from care, support services, and advocacy opportunities.
St. Mark AMEC is committed to working with the Alzheimer’s Association to shift the narrative. We must connect pastors with the information they need to recognize symptoms, develop protocols to create a welcoming and safe worship environment for caregivers and their loved ones, counsel and connect members struggling with memory-related diagnoses with available resources and remove cultural stigmas around accepting support.
I believe that the work of the church includes shifting health outcomes for the communities we serve. One of the ways we do that is through partnerships that help us raise awareness among our congregation, community, and the church universal.
You are NOT alone. We see you. We are praying for you. Please join us virtually on Zoom or by phone on February 16 at 2:00 p.m. for “You are Not Alone: Dementia Perspectives, Conversation and Insight.” Register for this life-changing discussion at https://bit.ly/notalone216 or 800.272.3900