Nurse leader’s faith-based dementia awareness program secures $20 thousand grant

Jan. 23, 2023

Betty Irene Moore Fellow Fayron Epps, 2022 cohort member and assistant professor at Emory University. (c) UC Davis Regents. All rights reserved. Betty Irene Moore Fellow Fayron Epps, 2022 cohort member and assistant professor at Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodfrull School of Nursing, received a $20,000 Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Award.

Known for her expertise in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care, Fayron Epps received a $20,000 Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Award Jan. 20 from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert FoundationBader Philanthropies, Inc. and Family Caregiver Alliance. Epps is a nurse leader in the 2022 cohort of the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators.

An assistant professor at the Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Epps is also the founder of the Alter program based in Atlanta, Georgia. This program is one of only three organizations chosen nationwide to receive the 15th annual innovations award funds. Launched in 2019, the Alter program is a faith-based program that partners with churches and communities to support African American families as they navigate a dementia or Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.

“Faith leaders who’ve connected with us through the Alter program say it has brought things into focus for them in which they now feel equipped to support their parishioners facing dementia,” Epps said. “We are so grateful to receive this award and be recognized for this important work.”

Heather M. Young, fellowship national program director, said the work Epps does through the Alter program is vital for addressing dementia-related health disparities in the African American community.  

“Dr. Epps is doing incredible work in the community through the Alter program to provide education, health care resources and reduce stigma around dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” Young said. “It is exciting to see her recognized at the national level for her work.”

In just four years the Alter program has grown to include more than 40 faith-based organizations across 10 states, including Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Arkansas, New York, Tennessee, Wisconsin and North Carolina. Through its efforts, the program reaches nearly 40,000 people.

“My team and I look forward to continuing to support faith leaders and places of worship by giving them the tools that they need to help families as they navigate what can be an extremely challenging time,” Epps said.