In recent months we’ve seen our share of successes in Congress. In March, both chambers passed a fiscal year 2018 spending bill which included a landmark $414 million in additional funding for Alzheimer’s and other dementias research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bringing total funding to just over $1.8 billion. While researchers continue to work diligently to find a prevention and one day a cure, we know that public health can play an important role in promoting cognitive function and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Luckily, with the help of our nationwide network of fiercely passionate advocates, Congress recognizes the urgency of treating Alzheimer’s as a public health crisis and is working in a bipartisan way to address the crisis.
Last week, the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S.2076/H.R.4256) reached two incredible milestones — 32 cosponsors in the Senate and 107 cosponsors in the House of Representatives! Since its introduction in November, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), the Alzheimer’s Association and our nationwide network of advocates have worked to build this groundswell of bipartisan support not only in Congress but also in the public health community.
While the legislative process can often be long and convoluted the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act has amassed overwhelming support quickly. This achievement is due in large part to the work of our advocates and to champions in Congress who have stepped up to lead on Alzheimer’s.
The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act would create population-level change, reduce costs, and most importantly, achieve a higher quality of life for those living with the disease and their caregivers by providing crucial investment in an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure to implement effective interventions focused on priorities such as increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk, and preventing avoidable hospitalizations. Specifically, the bill would direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to:
- Establish Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence (COEs). The COEs would identify and help implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions focused on: increasing early detection and diagnosis; reducing risk; preventing avoidable hospitalizations; reducing health disparities; supporting the needs of caregivers; and supporting care planning for people living with the disease.
- Award cooperative agreements to public health departments. This funding would help state, local and tribal public health departments implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions, including those identified by the Alzheimer’s COEs.
- Increase the collection, analysis and timely reporting of Alzheimer’s data. This data is critical to identifying opportunities for public health interventions, helping stakeholders track progress in the public health response, and enabling state and federal policymakers to make informed decisions when developing plans and policies.
Please join AIM and the Alzheimer’s Association in continuing to grow support for the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. We need your voice, today. Contact your representatives today to thank the current cosponsors and encourage others to sign on.