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Our Mission

"Alzheimer's disease is a major public health issue and will increasingly affect the health and well-being of the population.  Unless the disease can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease will increase significantly in the next two years…(Health) provider training and awareness is essential to effectively detecting Alzheimer’s disease and caring for people affected by this devastating disease." This is the assessment articulated in the recent National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, released in May 2012 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Findings also stated that timely and accurate diagnosis is critical towards the broader goal of enhancing care quality and efficiency, and improving the quality-of-life for people with dementia and their families.  In order for people to reliably receive accurate and timely diagnoses, two critical factors must be met:

  • There must be an adequately-trained health care work force in place to recognize the signs and symptoms of dementia.
  • Individuals and families must have adequate knowledge regarding the disease in order to overcome any stigma and fear associated with seeking a diagnosis.

The goals released in these documents echo the mission and purpose of the WAI Education and Outreach Program since its inception in 1999. Through this program educational opportunities exist for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, residents, medical students, and other health professionals to learn about the diagnosis and management of dementing disorders through CME offerings, lectures, webcasts and other venues for practicing providers. In addition the program offers various education, preceptor, service learning and externships for health professional students.



Continuing Medical Education Programs

Alzheimer's Disease: Annual Update Conference

Please join us for our annual CME conference to be held on Friday, November 7, 2014 at the Concourse Hotel in Madison, WI. We are also offering a live webcast of the event at the Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, WI. Click here for the conference brochure.


New this year!
We are offering a Pre-Intensive for Physicians (MD’s, DO’s, NP’s, PA’s only) on the evening of Thursday, November 6, 2014 at the Concourse Hotel in Madison, WI. You can attend this program separately or include it with the conference on Friday. Sign up for this optional program.

To meet increasing popularity and demand for our conference and to minimize travel time and expense for attendees, you can attend Friday’s conference at the Concourse Hotel in Madison OR attend a live webcast of the conference at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.


Summary of our 2013 conference:



Programs for Your Review

WAI faculty and WAI-affiliated dementia diagnostic clinic network faculty present to health care professionals and trainees continually throughout the year. We were fortunate to record a number of these presentations and make them available to you. Programs listed below are not available for credit, but we invite you to watch them as they may be helpful to you in your practice.


NOTE: In order to view the videos, you will need to have VLC Player loaded on your computer. Download and install the free player at After you have installed it, click on a video from the list below. Videos are large (for quality viewing) and may take about 30 seconds to load. You will need to have a high speed Internet connection for optimal viewing.

  1. Importance of Early Recognition by Mark Sager, MD
  2. Differential Diagnosis of Dementia: A Case Study Analysis by Christopher Koeppl, MD
  3. A Guided Tour of the Brain: Understanding the Functional Neuroanatomy
    of Dementia
    by Jason Kanz, PhD
  4. When Behaviors Become Difficult: A Non-Pharmacological Approach by Philomena Poole, RN, GNP-C
  5. Medications: The Dark Side by Robert Smith, MD
  6. Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease: Importance of Early Detection & Cognitive Screening by Asenath LaRue, PhD

Professional & Community Speakers Bureau

WAI faculty and staff are available to speak to groups of professionals or community groups about topics related to Alzheimer's disease. To discuss speaking opportunities, please contact Suzanne Bottum-Jones at 608-829-3302 or by e-mail at


A sampling of topics we are able to present include: Brain health and wellness; Alzheimer's research; benefits of early diagnosis; manifestation of dementia; and practice approaches to difficult behaviors.



Programs for Health Professional Students

Alzheimer's Disease Summer Externship

The WAI offers a unique 8-week, Alzheimer's-focused, summer externship for medical students who have completed their first year at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health or Medical College of Wisconsin. The externship is a part of the Educational Core of the NIH-funded Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC), funded by the National Institutes of Health. The externship provides a broad exposure to medical, social and educational needs of patients and families, to current practice in the community, and to experiences that are not part of the current medical school curriculum. Nineteen students have completed the externship to-date and two more will participate in the summer of 2014. (For online application and to learn more)


New Friends Program

New Friends is a program of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin that brings together health professional students at UW-Madison and individuals with mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias to meet one-to-one on an informal basis outside of the clinical setting. Through shared activities and conversations, New Friends provides an opportunity for students to learn from the person with mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias and their family as they share their experiences with dementia. It also provides an opportunity for the person and their family to voice concerns regarding their care and contribute to the training of future physicians.


The New Friends Program is currently unavailable as we work on some improvements. New Friends will be available again starting Fall of 2014. NBC News recently interviewed Darby Morhardt of Northwestern University. The new and improved New Friends Program will replicate aspects of her Buddy Program. Read more: Article: Alzheimer's Patients Mentor Med Students in Buddy Program




Educational Resources

New Diagnostic Criteria and Guidelines for Alzheimer's Disease

Expert international workgroups convened by the Alzheimer's Association and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), an agency of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), have jointly issued four new criteria and guidelines to diagnose Alzheimer's disease. These new criteria update, refine and broaden previous widely used guidelines jointly issued by the Alzheimer's Association and the NIH over the past 30 years. (read more)


National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease

On January 4, 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), requiring the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish the National Alzheimer’s Project to:

  • Create and maintain an integrated national plan to overcome Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Coordinate Alzheimer’s disease research and services across all federal agencies.
  • Accelerate the development of treatments that would prevent, halt, or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Improve early diagnosis and coordination of care and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Improve outcomes for ethnic and racial minority populations that are at higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Coordinate with international bodies to fight Alzheimer’s globally.

The law also establishes the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services and requires the Secretary of HHS, in collaboration with the Advisory Council, to create and maintain a national plan to overcome Alzheimer’s disease.

NAPA offers a historic opportunity to address the many challenges facing people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. Given the great demographic shifts that will occur over the next 30 years, including the doubling of the population of older adults, the success of this effort is of great importance to people with Alzheimer's disease and their family members, public policy makers, and health and social service providers.


A full description of the plan is available online at National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease (


Alzheimer's Disease Annual Update - Friday, November 7, 2014


Diagnostic and Treatment Guide for Physicians, learn more


WAI Milwaukee Project, learn more


Brain Fitness for Memory Wellness, learn more