WSU Scientists Helping Increase Recruitment of Native People for Alzheimer’s Research

IREACH Native Alzheimer's project

A series of culturally tailored workshops designed to provide education on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias have drawn the participation of more than 1,000 Native elders from across the United States in the last two years.

The “Brain Health Events” are a key component of a $14.6 million research effort being led by scientists at the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH) at Washington State University. The goal of the National Institute on Aging funded project is to reduce disparities associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN), and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) groups.

“We’ve had overwhelming success engaging Elders in Indigenous communities, often with more asks than we can accommodate in any given month,” said Dr. Gary Ferguson, Unangax̂ (Aleut) and an enrolled member of the Qagan Tayagunin Tribe, and an associate professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. “Elders rave about their experience and are excited to have a Brain Health Event in their home communities.”

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