The Clinical and Cultural Challenges of Dementia in African American and Hispanic Communities

Originally presented on November 17, 2016

Jennifer J. Manly, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, Columbia University

Teresa Santos, LCSW
Care Coordinator, Center for the Aging Brain and the Memory Disorder Clinic, Montefiore Medical Center

Ethnic and racial differences in risk factors such as socioeconomic status, cardiovascular disease, and genetics may play a role in the increased incidence and prevalence of dementia in African American and Hispanic communities. Social, physical, and cultural barriers, including stigma, reduce the ability of these communities to access early diagnosis and care. Community-based research shows that the symptoms of dementia onset and course are similar across race/ethnicity. However, ethnic minorities with dementia are less likely to receive a formal diagnosis, and minorities who present to memory disorders clinics are more likely to have neuropsychiatric symptoms than non-Hispanic Whites. It is well known that most cognitive screening tools are not culturally sensitive and may yield false positives. These issues contribute to misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in individuals from African American and Hispanic communities.

Ensuring access to high quality education and services for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, particularly for African Americans and Hispanics, is a goal of the New York State Department of Health and the Alzheimer’s Association of the Hudson Valley. This webcast will present information intended to increase recognition of the early signs of Alzheimer's disease among African Americans and Hispanics.  Information will include how dementia should be diagnosed among racially and ethnically diverse people, how dementia is treated, as well as resources to assist family and caregivers in supporting people from these communities affected by Alzheimer's disease.

Learning Objectives
After watching this webcast participants will be able to:

  • List at least three barriers in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in Hispanics and African Americans;
  • Explain the principles of a dignified Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis relative to Hispanic and African American communities; and
  • Identify the educational resources available to caregivers/families for understanding Alzheimer's disease in African American and Hispanic patients.

Continuing Education Credits expired for this activity on November 30, 2019. Please take the evaluation as your feedback helps us to plan future programs.

Thank you!