The Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) has seven areas, or cores, which each serve a different function in order to further the research mission of the ADRC. One of the cores is the Education and Information Core. It is responsible for the development of professional staff training and outreach programs that will publicize the ADRC, improve clinical and research skills related to Alzheimer's disease (AD), and foster interest in AD and related disorders.
The Education Core works closely with the Northwest Geriatric Education Center (NWGEC) to provide education about AD to health care providers throughout the WWAMI region. (WWAMI is the abbreviation used for Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho, a five state region for which the UW is expected to provide training and consultation to health care professionals.) Serving such a large and diverse area means ADRC investigators sometimes travel "off the beaten path" to provide state of the art education and consultation services to professional and family caregivers, physicians, nurses, and community groups.
For example, this spring Dr. Rebecca Logsdon, one of the Education Core's faculty, has been on the road much of the time, presenting a series of workshops on Alzheimer's disease, caregiving, and healthy aging to communities that have not had easy access to educational programs in the past. With co-sponsorship from the ADRC, the Northwest Geriatric Education Center and Area Health Education Center, and the Alzheimer's Association, she has traveled throughout rural Alaska, from the Aleutian Islands to Haines, Petersburg, and points in between by car, boat, and float plane. The turnout, even in remote locations, has been gratifying, and usually includes a mixture of medical providers, families, seniors, and public officials. In Haines, the entire day-long presentation was recorded for later broadcast on the local public radio station, and in Petersburg, Dr. Logsdon was interviewed in a live, on-the-air radio call-in show.
Dr. Logsdon also traveled to Browning, Montana, to present a two-day workshop on AD at the Blackfeet Tribal Headquarters. Over 50 community health care providers from western Montana participated in the workshop, along with tribal elders, family members, and persons with Alzheimer's disease. The Blackfeet Alzheimer's Demonstration Project, which sponsored the event is working with the ADRC on an ongoing basis to increase the capacity of families and community groups to provide care for elders in their community.
These rural presentations are demanding in terms of time and energy, but they provide a vital resource to the communities we serve. And, as one of main goals of the Education Core is to educate people about AD through training and research, the work of the faculty, like Dr. Logsdon, help improve care to patients with AD and their families throughout our western states.
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