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Today, there is no known cure and there are no survivors of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. It is the 6th leading cause of death in adults and affects all demographic groups regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status. But despite the extent of illness in all community sectors, communities of color are at 1.4 to 2 times greater risk of developing the disease and are generally under-represented in research and in the groups involved in receiving services for dementia.


Recognizing the emerging public health crisis this poses for the African American community, the WAI Regional Milwaukee Office is advancing dementia and health disparities research by actively engaging under-represented populations in cutting-edge scientific studies. By implementing a public health community investment approach to research that focuses on transparency, community engagement, and reducing the stigma and fear often associated with Alzheimer’s disease and research, we have grown the number of African Americans participating in research from 2% to 10%. Today over 1,500 participants are enrolled in the WAI’s Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), the world’s largest study of its kind. Of those, 214 participate from the Milwaukee community; 125 are African-Americans, and 37 Hispanics. Retention of research participants in WRAP is vital to unlocking the answers of why communities of color are at a higher risk of developing the disease, thus this remains a high priority for our program.



  • Research (WRAP)
  • Focus on early detection of Alzheimer’s, and elucidating factors that make a person more resilient or more at risk
  • Understanding why African Americans and Latinos are at increased risk for Alzheimer’s
  • Advance health disparities and memory disorders research impacting African Americans and communities of color by actively facilitating and engaging under-represented populations in scientific studies
  • Increase public awareness and understanding of the importance of health disparities and Alzheimer’s research
  • Present the latest news and resources on research strategies, results and dissemination

Excerpt of Activities

  • Cognitive testing every 2 to 4 years
  • Early detection focus and elucidating factors that make a person more resilient to Alzheimer’s or more at risk
  • Outreach and recruitment
  • WRAP Updates and Newsletters to research participants
  • Biennial information sessions on research findings and new studies for participants and guests throughout Wisconsin

Funding Needs

$250,000/year for 2 years



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