PCORI Symposium Highlights

Last month we hosted a virtual symposium titled, “Dementia in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Impact for Families”.

You can view the playlist of recorded presentations at our YouTube channel here.

We were joined by special guests, State Senator Jose Menendez and Councilman Manny Pelaez for this event. They emphasized the importance of taking action at the local, state, and national level to ensure that families impacted by dementia are supported and have access to care.

Our speakers included Kate Boyd, DrPHc, a Program Officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), a non-profit organization that funds research to support patients, families, health professionals, and policymakers to make informed decisions to improve health care.

Katie Brandt, MM is the Director of Caregiver Support Services and Public Relations at the Frontotemporal Disorders (FTD) Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to her professional expertise in caregiving advocacy and research, Katie shared her personal story as a caregiver to her late husband and her father who is living with Alzheimer’s.

A panel of Stakeholder Advisory Council members shared their personal and professional experiences. The panel featured councilmembers Janet and Bill Zinsmeyer who are a living with dementia and shared their experience navigating the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Mayra Mendoza, a family caregiver to her parents who shared her perspective on the pandemic, caregiving for an individual living with dementia, and how researchers can respect and support Latino families. Dr. Neela Patel is a geriatric physician at UT Health San Antonio and spoke about the importance of vaccinations and following CDC guidelines and how her practice has continued to support vulnerable members of our communities to stay safe and supported during COVID-19. Ginny Funk is the Director of Programs at the Alzheimer’s Association and spoke from a broader perspective about the impact she has seen for families living with dementia following the COVID-19 pandemic. She spoke of the strategies her Chapter has taken to continue offering resources to the community.

Lastly, we also heard a presentation and heartfelt conversation between Jason Resendez, the Executive Director of the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Center for Brain Health Equity, and Daisy Duarte a family caregiver, clinical trial participant, and advocate for the representation of Latinos in dementia research. Jason spoke about the impact of dementia and COVID-19 on South Texas and the need to address the health disparities experienced by Latino families living with dementia.

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