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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Minnesota: Study to Assess Dementia Rates and Patient Needs in Twin Cities African Immigrant Community

More than 16 million individuals in the U.S. — and 97,000 in Minnesota — live with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. 

“We know African-Americans are twice as likely to have dementia compared to their Caucasian counterparts in the U.S. and are less likely to be diagnosed,” said Dr. Joseph Gaugler, professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health

The dementia rates for African immigrants living in the United States may be even higher compared to those born here. But the extent of the problem is hard to gauge and address due to limited research on the dementia prevalence among African immigrants, and a lack of information on their care needs and the community-based resources available to help them.

To fill these gaps, Dr. Gaugler is leading a community-engaged assessment to identify and understand dementia prevalence, care needs, and patient resources in the African immigrant community in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minnesota is home to the nation’s fifth largest African-born community in the U.S.   

“This is one of the first projects to identify the extent of dementia care needs and resources among African immigrants,” said Dr. Gaulger. “In the long-term, the findings will serve as a roadmap for similar projects in other diverse communities across the nation and help inform future collaborative initiatives that promote equity in dementia care for underserved populations.”

The research is being conducted through a partnership between the school’s Families and Long-Term Care Projects (FLTC) program and African Career, Education, and Resources, Inc. (ACER), a Twin Cities organization working to advance equity and eliminate disparities for the area’s large and growing African community.

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