Milken Institute Announces Five Recommendations to Improve Health Equity for African American and Latino Communities

abstract

News Release

Milken Institute Announces Five Recommendations to Improve Health Equity for African American and Latino Communities

Author(s)
Rajiv Ahuja
Rajiv Ahuja
Associate Director, Center for the Future of Aging
Cara Levy
Cara Levy
Senior Associate, Center for the Future of Aging

New report from Alliance to Improve Dementia Care highlights health- and long-term care systems, communities, and workplaces.

Washington, D.C. – March 31, 2021 – The Milken Institute today released recommendations to reduce disparities in dementia prevention, detection, diagnosis, and care. “Better Brain Health through Equity: Addressing Health and Economic Disparities in Dementia for African Americans and Latinos” addresses the challenges of the current health- and long-term care systems by examining the roles of the workplace, dementia-friendly care practices, and key stakeholders, such as policymakers, community organizations, and caregivers.

The Milken Institute projects that during the next 20 years, 13 million people will live with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, and two out of three will be women. This is double the current number, and projections are starker for African Americans and Latinos. Research indicates that by 2060, the number of African Americans and Latinos living with dementia will increase nearly two-fold and more than four-fold, respectively. In that same time frame, non-Hispanic whites living with dementia will increase by 69 percent.

“African Americans and Latinos typically receive delayed diagnoses of dementia and experience institutional and cultural barriers when seeking help, participating in research, and engaging with the health-care system,” said Nora Super, executive director of the Milken Institute’s Alliance to Improve Dementia Care. “Reducing health and economic disparities in dementia care will require building a dementia-capable and culturally competent workforce and expanding financial support for caregivers, among other solutions.”

The Milken Institute developed the recommendations in collaboration with leaders across industry, government, research, advocacy, philanthropy, community-based organizations, and health systems. These recommendations offer guidance for policymakers, businesses, health- and long-term care systems, and communities to the inequitable impact of dementia on African Americans and Latinos, which is even more vital amid demographic trends showing a population growing older and more racially and ethnically diverse.

Report recommendations center on the following themes: 

  • Revamping care infrastructure: Transforming clinical care, research, and long-term services and supports to achieve greater health equity for people living with dementia and their caregivers.

  • Addressing workplace disparities: Expanding dementia-friendly networks and workplaces for racially and ethnically diverse communities.

Related to these themes, the Alliance recommends the five following solutions:

  • Increase community outreach to expand brain health awareness, diversify research, and build trust.

  • Improve recruitment, retention, and interdisciplinary training to build a dementia-capable and culturally competent workforce.

  • Develop core components of culturally-sensitive collaborative dementia care models that deliver high-quality, person-centered care.

  • Reduce health-care bias and align with what matters to the older adult and their family caregivers by leveraging the Age-Friendly Health System framework that delivers evidence-based, high-quality care to older adults.

  • Promote bipartisan federal and state policy solutions that expand paid family and medical leave for elder care and encourage employers to provide caregiving benefits.

“Given the growing disparities impacting our African American and Latino communities in the area of brain health, acting upon these recommendations will serve as a critical step to enhance awareness and foster greater inclusion to improve the lives of all people living with dementia,” said Kai Walker, director, head of Inclusion Transformation, Retirement & Personal Wealth Solutions at Bank of America.

The report establishes health equity as the foundation of the Institute’s Alliance to Improve Dementia Care, which is dedicated to improving quality of life and care for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

“Better Brain Health through Equity: Addressing Health and Economic Disparities in Dementia for African Americans and Latinos” is co-authored by Rajiv Ahuja and Cara Levy and can be downloaded here.

Media Contact:

Enxhi Myslymi, emyslymi@milkeninstitute.org, +1 (203) 721-4840

About the Milken Institute

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that helps people build meaningful lives in which they can experience health and well-being, pursue effective education and gainful employment, and access the resources required to create ever-expanding opportunities for themselves and their broader communities. For more information, visit https://milkeninstitute.org/

About the Alliance to Improve Dementia Care

The Alliance to Improve Dementia Care brings together a multi-sector coalition of leaders to advance timely detection, access to treatment and coordinated care, and health equity for people at risk for and living with dementia and their caregivers. Through expert workgroups, convenings, and collaborative initiatives, the Alliance amplifies and promotes the adoption of proven solutions and promising innovations. For more information, visit https://milkeninstitute.org/alliance

Published March 29, 2021