News Release icon Contact: Media Relations Office (518) 956-8150



School of Public Health Program Evaluates New York's Alzheimer's Disease Support Initiative

Alzheimer's in New York is projected to impact 700,000 individuals by 2025. The disease not only affects the individual with the diagnosis, but also the family members who are likely to serve as caregivers.

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 25, 2016) -- The University at Albany’s School of Public Health (SPH) will assist the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in evaluating a support network for Alzheimer’s disease caregivers. The project is part of a first-in-the-nation investment in a multi-faceted approach including community and clinical linkages.

The project is also part of the new $67.5 million grant program announced by Governor Cuomo to support the family members who care for the nearly 380,000 New Yorkers living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

A major public health burden facing New York state, Alzheimer’s is projected to impact 700,000 individuals by 2025. Alzheimer’s disease not only affects the individual with the diagnosis, but also the family members who are likely to serve as caregivers. In addition, the disease plays a major economic role by increasing medical costs and effecting employers of caregivers. It is estimated that Alzheimer’s disease costs all health care payers in New York more than $20 billion per year.

Through the NYS Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Support Initiative, over the next five years New York will strive to:

  • Significantly expand the evidence-based interventions offered by the Alzheimer’s Disease Centers of Excellence and Alzheimer’s Caregiver Assistance Programs;
  • Provide additional caregiver support services in ten regions across the state;
  • Offer targeted caregiver support services for traditionally underserved communities; and
  • Provide services to caregivers at a level unprecedented nationally, making New York a leader in Alzheimer’s support services.

School of Public Health Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Mary Gallant will receive $700,000 from NYSDOH over the next six years to coordinate a comprehensive evaluation of this initiative.

The goals of this multi-method evaluation will be to:

  • Document the statewide implementation of the Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Support Initiative in terms of the type, reach, and costs of services provided;
  • Examine the fidelity of implementation of evidence-based caregiver support services; and
  • Track the outcomes of the Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Support Initiative for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers, and for New York state. The outcomes to be documented include avoidable emergency department visits, unnecessary hospitalizations, and nursing home placement, as well as caregiver stress and burden, and caregiver physical and mental health outcomes.

Gallant, along with students and staff at SPH, will work closely with the NYSDOH and its contractors to design and implement the evaluation, analyze data, and publish and disseminate evaluation results.

"This project is significant because not only will it allow us to document the effects of these expanded caregiver support services, but it will also generate important evidence for future programmatic and policy decisions at both the state and national levels," said Gallant. "Furthermore, it will provide students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in evaluating a large-scale implementation of evidence-based strategies, and it’s a great example of the benefits of the relationship between the School of Public Health and the DOH."

"This project proposed by Governor Cuomo and supported by the legislature is the single largest investment in this area by any state," said David Hoffman, DOH Director of the Bureau of Community Integration and Alzheimer's Disease and a Clinical Associate Professor in Health Policy Management and Behavior at a recent Alzheimer’s disease advisory council meeting. "It has the potential to be a game changer for vulnerable people with dementia and caregivers stretched and stressed to their limits. We owe it to them to do this well."

UAlbany’s School of Public Health, created through a memorandum of understanding between the University at Albany and NYSDOH, has advanced biomedical research, public health policy and program development, peer-reviewed scholarship, and teaching. This year, SPH is celebrating the 30th anniversary of this unique model of graduate public health education.

The School, initially located within NYSDOH with its staff as the founding faculty, has evolved to have an independent campus and full-time academic faculty, but remains closely linked with the Department of Health. The School and the Department work together to improve the health of the New York’s citizens by providing an academic focus to problems faced in health department practice settings.

comments powered by Disqus

For more news, subscribe to UAlbany's RSS headline feeds

About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.