Breaking the Silence returns, offers updates in care, research, and impact of disease on communities of color

Dr. Norris introduces the virtual event series.

The 8th annual Breaking The Silence event welcomed more than 200 attendees in April 2022, in a 3-part series of virtual programs held in recognition of Minority Health Month.

Breaking the Silence: Addressing Dementia in Communities of Color is an annual community dialogue designed to highlight health disparities that persist among racial and ethnic minority populations and the ways in which legislation, policies and programs can help advance health equity. WAI Regional Milwaukee Office associate director Nia Norris, PhD, welcomed attendees to the program held on April 22, April 25 and April 28.

“Our communities continue to be impacted by health disparities. As many of you already know, dementia impacts communities of color at an alarming rate. African Americans are estimated to be two times more likely and Latinos one and a half times as likely to be diagnosed with some form of dementia,” Dr. Norris said. “Today we have come together to continue to break the silence about this disease, to educate our entire village, as we learn from our own community how we can collectively work together to help our loved ones and our community families navigate through their journey. We hope today is a day of learning, hope and encouragement. We know this is not the end but rather another step on our path way.”

In the keynote presentation, Maria Mora Pinzon, MD, MS, described how Alzheimer’s disease impacts Latinos and communities of color, who face a higher risk of disease, but are under-represented in all elements of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care. The disparity critically affects research, science to prevent and end Alzheimer’s disease, and care of people living with dementia, she said.

“Communities of color are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia. But when you google Alzheimer’s disease, this is what you get… we do not see ourselves represented,” she said. “When I started working in Alzheimer’s disease, I came to the field thinking Latinos do not get Alzheimer’s. Lo and behold, they are one and half times more likely to get Alzheimer’s. And I didn’t know that and I’m a physician. How many people don’t know that? How many people that we trust, that we rely on, don’t know that?”

Watch a recording of the presentations here

One Size Does Not Fit All: Our Culture is our Strength and the Key to Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care, presented by Maria Mora Pinzon, MD, MS

New Discoveries in the Preclinical Phase of Alzheimer’s Disease: Findings from WRAP by Sterling Johnson, PhD

Panel Discussion: Navigating Care During a Pandemic

A panel discussion moderated by Stephanie Houston, MBA. Panelists Carla Wright, MD, Teresa Skora, NP, Ana Bernal, RN, and Janise Johnson discuss ongoing challenges of navigating care during the COVID-19 pandemic.