Alzheimer's Association Announces "Coalition of Hope" to Promote Alzheimer's Disease Support and Research

Alzheimer's Association
Tuesday, 23 March 2004

More Than 150 Organizations Representing More Than 50 Million Americans Call on Congress for $40 million to Speed Alzheimer Treatments

The Alzheimer's Association today announced the launch of the Coalition of Hope at the U.S. Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC. The Coalition brings together more than 150 local, state and national organizations representing more than 50 million Americans committed to supporting increased research to find new methods and medications to help those with Alzheimer's disease.

The Coalition of Hope joins the Association in calling on Congress to provide $40 million in additional funding this year to the National Institutes of Health to support large-scale clinical trials for treatments that would slow or delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease. This $40 million appropriation request is in addition to the $679 million now allocated by the NIH to all forms of Alzheimer research and is an important step toward the Coalition's ultimate goal of $1 billion in annual NIH research spending to end this disease.

"Never before has such a broad and diverse group of organizations come together to showcase their support for increased funding for Alzheimer research," said Sheldon Goldberg, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. "From those with the disease, to caregivers and spouses, to children, Alzheimer's disease touches all Americans. The Coalition of Hope will help the Association make the case for additional funding for Alzheimer research in a way that is meaningful to policymakers."

The Coalition of Hope is composed of an array of organizations from all across the country representing baby boomers and Americans over the age of 60. These include religious, labor and ethnic groups, and rural organizations, each committed to supporting the Alzheimer's Association. Among the members are AARP, National League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Medical Association, National Rural Health Association, Urban League of Greater Miami, Teamsters Local 229 Scranton, PA, Older Women's League, and American Baptist Churches of USA.

"We are proud to be a part of the Coalition of Hope," said Jim Parkel, president of AARP. "We must take advantage of the scientific opportunities before us so that we can provide more treatments, more help and more hope to the millions of people with Alzheimer's today and delay the onset of the disease for millions of baby boomers in the next decades."

The Coalition of Hope is a major component of the Alzheimer's Association's new national campaign to change the way Americans think about Alzheimer's. On Feb. 12, the Association launched its "Maintain Your Brain" campaign to help Americans understand how much has been accomplished in the fight against Alzheimer's disease, and to understand more about what is now known about the benefits of a healthy brain and its potential for reducing risk for Alzheimer's.

"Alzheimer's disease is set to boom because of baby boomers," said Goldberg. "In this decade, boomers will begin to enter the years when they will become increasingly at risk for Alzheimer's disease. This fact alone should say to Americans of all ages: We must do something about Alzheimer's disease before it overwhelms our health care system, our families, and our communities. The Coalition of Hope and the Association are joining together to call on boomers to help us take action. Now."

Today, approximately 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. By the year 2030, when the entire baby boomer generation will be over the age of 65, that number will skyrocket to 7.7 million. Within just a decade, Medicare spending on people with Alzheimer's disease will increase by almost 55 percent to $50 billion annually. Medicaid expenditures will rise by almost 80 percent to $33 billion annually.

For more information, or to contact Alzheimer's Association, see their website at: www.alz.org

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