Our Success Lies in our Partnerships
Manager of African American Outreach
Caringkind’s African American Outreach continues to make inroads in the community because we recognize the importance of relationship building and awareness. We build trust and increase recognition of CaringKind programs and services by partnering with a vast array of community organizations. With their help, we can educate our constituents about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, including where to go for an assessment, for treatment and for services. Most importantly, we are empowering the community to take charge of the well being of their families and themselves.
Our goal to educate the community is the hallmark of our outreach efforts. African Americans are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s than whites, because of disproportionate rates of hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Education and information allows the community to better understand how to manage these risks. Knowing your numbers, eating heart healthy diets and exercising are core messages of CaringKind’s AA Outreach. Our partnerships help us spread the word throughout the community.
Over the years, CaringKind partnerships have expanded to include political leaders, medical research centers, community health organizations, advocacy groups and faith-based institutions. Through our partnership with HAS (Harlem Advocates for Seniors), we galvanized a group of family members and caregivers who had been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. Because of our visibility within HAS, this group participated in Caringkind’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s by joining the team “Harlem Supporters”. They walked with family members and friends and raised funds to advance CaringKind programs and services.
Our collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center’s NIH African American Genetic Research Study is another example of effective relationship building. Through this partnership we co-sponsored two very successful symposiums with elected officials. One took place in Harlem at the State Office building. With the endorsement of Councilman Bill Perkins, we had a robust turnout to hear a general overview of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, comments from a former caregiver and a presentation by Dr. Reitz, the lead researcher of the NIH AA Genetic study. Dr. Reitz discussed the history of African Americans and research and assured the participants that much has changed. The research community recognizes past transgressions and has established policies and guidelines that ensures transparency, safety and privacy for all participants. She expressed the importance of the inclusion of African Americans in research studies because genetic differences have an impact on research outcomes. As a result of her informative and passionate presentation, several families signed up for the study.
Because of the success of this symposium, we replicated it in the Bronx. With the endorsement of Councilman Andy King, who had a family member affected by Alzheimer’s, we held a symposium at the NAACP Headquarters in the Bronx. Again, we had a successful event with families registering for the research study.
An example of how our relationship building has extended to the faith-based community is a recent request from a member of the ministerial staff to establish a support group at a church. Several congregants have been affected by the disease and are in need of support services. Their request was forwarded to our Director of Support Groups. She is currently identifying a support group leader to support these families through their caregiver journeys.
Caringkind’s African American Outreach is proud of its’ accomplishments, but we do not rest on our laurels. We continue to reinforce our current relationships and actively seek to build new ones to enable us to accomplish our mission of providing education and services to all who need our help.