Today, there is no known cure and there are no survivors of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. It is the 6th leading cause of death in adults and affects all demographic groups regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status. But despite the extent of illness in all community sectors, communities of color are at 1.4 to 2 times greater risk of developing the disease and are generally under-represented in research and in the groups involved in receiving services for dementia.
African-American’s Fighting Alzheimer’s in Midlife is a sub-study of the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention available to African-American WRAP Participants. WRAP’s recruitment initiatives and AA-FAIM’s study design are informed by the Health Disparities Research Framework outlined by the National Institutes on Aging.
NIA Health Disparities Objectives
“Health disparities are associated with a broad, complex, and interrelated array of factors. Diagnosis, progression, response to treatment, caregiving, and overall quality of life may each be affected by race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status (SES), age, education, occupation, and other as yet unknown lifetime and lifestyle differences.
For example, a multi-ethnic epidemiologic study indicated that prevalence rates for Alzheimer’s disease may be higher for African Americans and Hispanics than for other ethnic groups. Another study found a striking relationship between SES and health and longevity. Gender differences in health and longevity are observed across racial and ethnic groups. We must first understand these differences and their interactions and then work to develop behavioral and public health interventions to reduce disparities and increase quality of life for all of our older citizens.
NIA objectives in this area include:
Understand health differences and health inequities associated with race, ethnicity, gender, environment, socioeconomic status (SES), geography, access, and sociocultural factors among older adults.
Develop strategies to promote active life expectancy and improve the health status of older adults in minority and other underserved populations.
Use research insights and advances to inform policy on the health, economic status, and quality of life of all older adults.
“The NIA Health Disparities Research Framework showcases priorities and investments in this important aging research area. This page is designed to serve as a resource for scientists interested in investigating health disparities related to aging. The Framework outlines four key levels of analysis related to disparities research–environmental, sociocultural, behavioral, and biological—with priority focus areas in each level. As we continue to address the issue of disparities among older minority populations, the Framework will help assess which areas are most in need of additional research resources. Using the Framework as a guide, NIA has awarded over $100 million in research awards since 2015 to explore the environmental, sociocultural, behavioral, and biological determinants of health disparities related to aging.”