$4.5 Million in Grant Funding Expands New Alzheimer’s Early Detection and Healthcare System Preparedness Efforts
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, May 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative (DAC), the organization leading an unprecedented global response to Alzheimer’s disease, today announced the recipients of a grant program aiming for early detection of cognitive symptoms. The early detection grants total $4.5 Million from 8 countries across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
The grants are an initiative of the DAC Healthcare System Preparedness Project, which aims to advance how healthcare systems worldwide detect, diagnose, treat, and care for people with or at risk for Alzheimer’s.
Grantees are located throughout the US, Brunei, Kenya, Germany, Japan, Canada, Cuba, and Armenia. Several grants will focus on expanding cognition screening and training for primary care providers. Others are harnessing innovative technologies to utilize optometrists and pharmacists. This will expand the pool of frontline workers available to screen for early detection, and reduce the unnecessary use of specialist care. Another deploys a mobile clinic to offer direct clinical support or equip digital tablets to volunteer workers to rapidly improve detection rates.
According to George Vradenburg, Founding Chairman of the Board, Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative, “Each grant will bring unique and measurable benefits to its local health system and community and, through DAC’s global learning network, will also spread their learnings broadly around the world. Finding new and innovative ways to advance early detection is paramount to improving healthcare systems’ abilities to provide better care today, and to prepare for the future availability of treatments.”
The grant application process was extensive, with DAC receiving 76 responses from 21 countries in two months. A diverse panel of experts, including a family member of an Alzheimer’s patient living with the disease, served as an independent review committee for these grants:
- Tarun Dua (Global) – World Health Organization
- Wendy Weidner (Global) – Alzheimer’s Disease International
- Ricardo Allegri (Argentina) – University of Buenos Aires & World Dementia Council
- Chirine Chehab (Lebanon) – American University Hospital of Beirut
- Lori Frank (United States) – RAND Corporation & New York Academy of Medicines
- Ryoji Noritake (Japan) – Health and Global Policy Institute
- Terry Fulmer (United States) – John A. Hartford Foundation
- Chandresh Harjivan (Canada) – Family member of an Alzheimer’s patient
“Early detection of cognitive decline is critical for patients and families and I am excited to see the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative tackling this challenge with their Health System Preparedness Initiative,” says Chandresh Harjivan, a family member of an Alzheimer’s patient. “I was honored to be asked to be part of such an esteemed review committee and am very happy that families living with the disease were part of the evaluation process.”
A summary of each grant can be found below.
About the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative
Launched at the World Economic Forum’s 2021 meeting on The Davos Agenda, The Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative is a multi-stakeholder partnership committed to aligning stakeholders with a new vision for our collective global response against the challenges Alzheimer’s presents to patients, caregivers and healthcare infrastructures. Convened by The World Economic Forum and The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) and fueled by a mission of service to the estimated 150 million families and half a billion people inevitably impacted by this disease by 2050, DAC is a collaborative for the benefit of all people, in all places.
About DAC’s Healthcare System Preparedness Project
DAC’s Healthcare System Preparedness Project (DAC-SP) is funding innovative approaches that measurably increase rates of cognitive screening, early detection and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s through pilot projects and early detection grants. The pilot projects are: AdventHealth Central Florida, FL, USA; Municipality of Volta Redonda, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Alzheimer Scotland; University of the West Indies (UWI), Caribbean Institute for Health Research, Jamaica; Kobe University, Japan; INGER/National Institute of Geriatrics, Mexico; and, Indiana University School of Medicine/Indiana University Health, IN, USA. These initiatives are incorporated into DAC Learning Labs, a network of governments and public health and healthcare system leaders, to share best practices that can be scaled globally.
***PLEASE NOTE: Click here to view a recorded discussion with some of the grant recipients, in which over 500 global leaders from 53 countries tuned in to learn about early detection. Click here to be kept informed about updated information regarding the DAC initiative.
Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative Early Detection Grants
Toronto Memory Program and RetiSpec (Canada)
This project implements the world’s first screening model that leverages collaboration between optometry and a local Alzheimer Society chapter to enable accessible identification of individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and referral to a qualified clinician, facilitating a faster diagnosis. The two community-based entry points include: (1) optometry clinics, where individuals can receive a non-invasive RetiSpec retinal scan for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease; and (2) the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, where individuals can undergo cognitive assessment.
Ludwig-Maximillans University (Germany)
Partners with two Universities, a health and social care charity, and three industry partners to conduct three screening types on seniors in Germany. This study will identify the best screening method by offering digital cognitive assessments, SCD questionnaire screening, and blood AD biomarkers testing to different groups. This study will also generate a patient registry to enroll patients in the global cohort and clinical trials workstreams, establish a fluid biobank, and train Artificial Intelligence diagnostic systems to better analyze speech patterns.
University of Havana (Cuba)
Provides a two-month training to primary care providers to integrate tablet based cognitive assessments Brain Health Assessment (BHA). The care provider will be assisted by informants, meaning a family-member or other person close to the patient, to help primary care providers determine if a dementia diagnosis is warranted.
Avant Institute (US – Multiple States)
This project implements Cognivue Clarity, a self-administered 10-minute cognitive performance screening tool, to increase access to digital cognitive screening assessments in 20-30 Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN) pharmacy sites across rural, urban, and underserved communities throughout the United States. This project provides training and onboarding for pharmacies to use Cognivue to screen patients and evaluate the results to make further recommendations and referrals.
Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation (Kenya)
This project redeploys existing volunteer staff in the Strengthening Responses to Dementia in Developing Countries (STRiDE) project and trains community health workers to screen 2,400 people aged 60 and above. Workers are equipped with tablets to conduct the screening Instrument for Dementia (CSI-D) cognitive assessment and informant interview, word list recall task, and Euro-Dementia scale. Ultimately, results will inform health system policy and practices in Kenya.
Alzheimer’s Care Armenia (Armenia)
This cognitive screening education programs utilizes a van that has been outfitted as a multidisciplinary mobile clinic to offer educational programs and work with local clinical staff to screen for cognitive issues using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA). The program provides citizens who test positive for cognitive decline with healthcare resources and offers workshops to caregivers on providing support.
Advocate Aurora Health (US- Illinois)
This project aims to educate primary care providers on the importance of early cognitive screening and provide them with EPIC electronic health record-based digital testing tools to manage their patients efficiently. Clinicians get access to continuing education programming, eConsult support services, and participate in a monthly Project ECHO-type case conference to discuss topics on dementia.
Kobe City Pharmaceutical Association (Japan)
This project evaluates the value of pharmacy-based digital cognitive tests. It combines the cognitive test with a regular healthcare consultation to increase regular cognitive testing, the rate of early detection of cognitive decline, and timely and accurate diagnosis of dementia in local community-based healthcare system.
University of Washington (US- Washington)
This project expands the pilot site success of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Kickstart, Assess, Evaluate and Refer (KAER Toolkit, 2020 Edition) into a fully operational Cognition in Primary Care (CPC) protocol in seven new primary care clinics across the University of Washington. The CPC model includes provider education training and incorporates two validated tests, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCa) and the Ascertain Dementia 8-Item Informant Questionnaire (AD8), and a structured Cognitive Checklist. This model checks for comorbidities of dementia and provides guidance on follow-up counseling and referrals to community resources.
This project will perform a pilot test of community screening and information in Senior Citizen Activity Centers, followed by a focus group discussion to select an initial paper-based cognitive assessment. The project will systematically involve communities at grassroots levels – senior citizen activity centres, engagement of village heads and community centres, targeting older people and those with dementia risk factors. Community links formed by the association are available for multisectoral support with this initiative. Other project activities also include training of field workers regarding community screening and cognitive assessment and training workshops for primary care (followed by relevant specialties).
American Academy of Physician Associates and Cleveland Clinic (US – Ohio)
Through partnership with The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the Physician Associate (PA) Foundation, and Cleveland Clinic, this project develops cognitive assessment toolkit for non-specialist medical practitioners to be trained in administering screenings, interpreting results, communicating those results and offering additional provider and patient resources. The pilot implementation will be followed by outcomes reporting and dissemination of the toolkit to the network of PA schools and all Cleveland Clinic locations.
Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) (US – Massachusetts)
This project uses a systems redesign approach, working with approximately eight teams across a range of settings on testing and measuring the results of intervention strategies that increase assessment rates. IHI will build and operate a learning community to encourage peer learning among participating teams, provide guidance, and teach scientific improvement methods to facilitate the teams’ testing. Project outputs include a prototype set of interventions, implementation guidance, and an associated measurement set that will be ready to share and scale more widely.