Indian Health Service announces funding to address Alzheimer’s in tribal communities


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The Indian Health Service has announced it will allocate $5 million in funding toward resources to address Alzheimer’s disease among tribal communities.

This is the first time the IHS has allocated funding toward Alzheimer’s disease.

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“These new resources will promote healthy living to reduce cognitive decline, encourage early detection and diagnosis due to dementia, and support caregivers,” IHS acting director Elizabeth Fowlersaid in a statement released by HHS. “This funding will also provide greater flexibility for awardees to meet the unique needs within their communities.”

The funding will support tribes, tribal organizations, as well as urban American Indian organizations to develop comprehensive and sustainable approaches in addressing Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia, focusing on awareness, recognition, diagnosis, assessment, management and support for caregivers.

“Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that affects an estimated 5.5 million Americans,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the release. “This historic funding opportunity for Native communities is much-needed and will go a long way toward supporting the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”

The IHS and the Alzheimer’s Association have also announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding, which will address and improve health and well-being among American Indians and Alaska Natives living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

A 2014 study based on Medicare data estimated the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias at 10.5% of American Indians and Alaskan Natives. By 2060, this number is projected to increase by five times among those aged 65 years and older.

The IHS is an agency within HHS and provides comprehensive health services for approximately 2.7 million Americans among 574 federally recognized tribes in 37 states.

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