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Polygence Scholar2022
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Gisele Brown

Bishop O'Dowd High SchoolClass of 2023Kensington, California



  • "Black Americans & Dementia: Racial Disparities in Dementia Care and The Impact of Systemic Racism" with mentor Deborah (June 23, 2022)

Project Portfolio

Black Americans & Dementia: Racial Disparities in Dementia Care and The Impact of Systemic Racism

Started Apr. 7, 2021

Abstract or project description

Over 6 million Americans have dementia and Black older adults are at increased risk of developing the disease. Despite this, there are many barriers that prevent Black older adults from receiving treatment or even a simple, timely diagnosis. While dementia treatment is not a cure, it can slow the progression of the disease and aid the symptoms. That being said, a timely diagnosis is essential for a slowly progressing neurodegenerative disease, as the earlier one is diagnosed, the more interventions available. Individuals affected by the disease and their families are able to prepare. One of these barriers is mistrust toward the healthcare system, driven by this country's past racial treatment of Black Americans. This systemic racism has caused a lot of harm to Black Americans, as race justified oppressive treatment and allowed society to use the concept of race as a genetic divider. Another barrier is access to education, and this is crucial due to the fact that higher education is associated with longer and healthier life expectancies. Gisele wrote a paper that reviews compiled evidence of racial disparities in dementia care, and systemic racism within the United States, and proposes solutions to counter these injustices. After researching, her proposed strategies to combat these inequities were community-based organizations to spread dementia awareness, diversity in the healthcare workforce, and specifically, diversity in dementia research. She concluded that with diversity, culturally sensitive research can be achieved and that all perspectives are necessary to the process of finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease.