NEWS | April 17, 2018

African Americans and Alzheimer's disease

Annual forum addresses caregiver needs, insurance, research opportunities


In an ongoing effort to address the disproportionate needs of the African American community coping with Alzheimer’s disease, the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the Alzheimer’s Association are hosting a free day-long forum on Saturday, April 21.

Rita Hargrave Rita Hargrave

The 10th Annual African American Caregiving and Wellness Forum, held at Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St. in Berkeley, will address topics including Medi-Cal benefits to cover dementia care, understanding and responding to dementia behaviors and current research in the field. The event is free and open to the public. Complimentary lunch, an ask-the-experts panel discussion, health screening and respite care also will be provided.

African Americans are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia compared with non-Hispanic whites, according to research published in the journal Health Affairs, and yet knowledge about diagnosis, disease mechanisms, management and treatment is based almost exclusively on studies of non-Hispanic whites. Risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which interfere with the brain’s vital supply lines.

The forum is intended to educate and support the African American community and connect attendees with research opportunities, which may ultimately lead to a better understanding of the disease in minority populations. Keynote speaker Rita Hargrave, a physician with the VA Martinez Mental Health Clinic and a consulting psychiatrist with the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease clinic in Walnut Creek, will present “Alzheimer’s Disease – An Update.” The presentation will cover the mission of the clinic, accomplishments and goals, challenges, resources and the importance of research.

“Older African Americans are less likely to have a diagnosis of their condition, resulting in less time for treatment and planning,” said Hargrave. “Early diagnosis and research of Alzheimer’s disease is especially critical to African Americans.”

Additional presenters at the forum include Esther Lara, clinical social worker and research administrator from UC Davis; Lisa Bryant, estate planner and elder law expert from the Law Offices of Lisa C. Bryant, Inc.; Dori Sproul, family care specialist from the Alzheimer’s Association; and Diane Lewis, Alzheimer’s disease advocate and founder of Alice’s Embrace.

The UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center is the leading Alzheimer’s treatment and research center in the East Bay. An interdisciplinary team of dedicated researchers and clinicians is available to provide comprehensive evaluations for those with memory problems, opportunities to participate in longitudinal research studies and clinical trials. The clinic’s facility is located at 100 N. Wiget Lane, Suite 150 in Walnut Creek.

For inquiries and appointments, please call 925-357-6515. To register, visit or call 1-800-272-3900. For additional information, contact Craig Wingate at 408-372-9933 or


The UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center is one of only 27 research centers designated by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Aging. The center's goal is to translate research advances into improved diagnosis and treatment for patients while focusing on the long-term goal of finding a way to prevent or cure Alzheimer's disease. Also funded by the state of California, the center allows researchers to study the effects of the disease on a uniquely diverse population. For more information, visit