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Global Brain Health Leader Awards to Develop Dementia-Related Projects

To address the growing public health crisis of dementia, three leading organizations announced funding for 23 small-scale pilot projects as part of this year’s Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders.

The Alzheimer’s Association, Global Brain Health Institute, and the UK-based Alzheimer’s Society have united to address global challenges in dementia, including access to care, stigma, brain health risk factors, and other key issues through a competitive funding program for emerging leaders in brain health and dementia—the prevalence of which is expected to triple worldwide to 152 million by 2050.

“Dementia is a global health crisis that continues to grow," said Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer's Association chief science officer. "The Alzheimer’s Association, Global Brain Health Institute and Alzheimer’s Society are thrilled to partner to fund these pilot projects, which will investigate innovative approaches to awareness, diagnosis, treatment and care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in various corners of the world.”

A woman cares for an older adult woman in a hammock in peru

Above: a caretaker and older adult woman in Peru. Photo by Alex Kornhuber, Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health.

The COVID-19 pandemic—which is straining health systems, increasing social isolation, and disproportionately affecting people living with dementia and their caregivers—is demanding a reimagination of service delivery. The Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders program provides fertile ground for such innovation. 

The 2020 awards—23 in total—will drive pilot projects that address disparities in dementia diagnosis, treatment, and care for vulnerable populations and their families. 

Several of this year’s projects focus on arts and dementia care, including a music program for older adults, a virtual program that engages participants in fine arts or performance arts, and an interactive radio program that highlights older voices. Art is an entertaining and generally accessible tool that may be an outlet for individuals living with dementia, and has the potential to reduce stress and decrease stigma associated with the illness. 

Additionally, many of this year’s projects focus on flexible, low cost and scalable ways to deliver services to diverse populations, including in Latin America, a region disproportionately affected by dementia. These include a study of digital technology to support cognitive assessment and dementia diagnosis in Cuba, the establishment of a clinical and research network in Peru, and development of a book to guide communication skills for caregivers in Brazil.

This year’s awards span 15 countries across five continents, including Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Cuba, Denmark, France, Ireland, Israel, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, Turkey, UK, and USA. The 23 awardees will join an overall portfolio of 88 pilots in 28 countries.

The total funding of approximately $575,000 (£440,000, €486,000) includes about $25,000 (£19,100, €21,100) for each individual award to enable the recipients to pilot test a project and then, if successful, seek further resources to scale up their work.

Older adult with walker crosses street in Peru

Above: an older adult crosses the street in Peru. Photo by Alex Kornhuber, Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health.

2020 Pilot Project Awards
  • Arts For Brain Health (Nigeria; Adewale, Kunle)
  • Public Financing of Home Care: Implications for Persons With Dementia (UK; Adrion, Emily)
  • Vascular heALth, fraiLty and cognItion in Ageing Nigerians sTudy [VALIANT] (Nigeria; Akinyemi, Rufus)
  • Digital Technology to Support Cognitive Assessment and Dementia Diagnosis (Cuba; Almirall Sanchez, Arianna)
  • Computerized Cognitive Tests for Individuals at Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease (Spain; Brugulat-Serrat, Anna)
  • LimaFTD Network: Improving Diagnosis of FTD in Underserved Settings (Peru; Castro-Suarez, Sheila)
  • Supporting Decision Making Rights of Persons with Cognitive Impairment (Bermuda; D'Alessio, Sarah)
  • Characterising the role of modifiable lifestyle factors in the
    ageing brain (Denmark; Demnitz, Naiara)
  • DEMGAL: an online tool for non-pharmacological
    prescription in Galicia (Spain; Dominguez Vivero, Clara)
  • Understanding sleep-wake alterations in Alzheimer’s
    Disease (Spain; Falgàs, Neus)
  • Emergence of Visual Artistic Creativity in Frontotemporal
    Dementia (USA/Israel; Friedberg, Adit)
  • Inequities at the end-of-life in cancer and dementia: a
    mixed-methods study (Belgium; Gilissen; Joni)
  • Serenatas For Tucson: A House-Calls Music Program
    for Latino Older Adults (USA; Gubner, Jennie)
  • Validation of the short 10/66 dementia diagnostic
    assessment in Ghana (France; Guerchet, Maëlenn)
  • Quality of End-of-Life Care for Persons with Dementia
    and Their Caregivers (USA; Hunt, Lauren)
  • Microstructural changes in primary progressive aphasia (Spain; Illán-Gala, Ignacio)
  • Developing tool to assess needs of dementia carers for
    economic evaluation (Ireland; Kinchin, Irina)
  • A novel program to promote independence in older adults
    with dementia (Peru; Mar Meza, Marcela)
  • Tea, Talk & Tunes On the Radio (USA; Mize, Cheyenne)
  • A novel deep learning algorithm for classification of
    dementia subtypes (Argentina; Moguilner, Sebastian)
  • TURQUOISE Outreach Project: Bridge Between
    Community and Dementia Research (Turkey; Öz, Didem)
  • Narratives on caring and being cared for (Brazil; Peres, Fernando)
  • Carer Portal: "Portal del cuidador" (Spain; Rodrigo-Herrero, Silvia)
Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia®. For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI)

The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) is a leader in the global community dedicated to protecting the world’s aging populations from threats to brain health. 

GBHI works to reduce the scale and impact of dementia in three ways: by training and connecting the next generation of leaders in brain health through the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program; by collaborating in expanding preventions and interventions; and by sharing knowledge and engaging in advocacy.

We strive to improve brain health for populations across the world, reaching into local communities and across our global network. GBHI brings together a powerful mix of disciplines, professions, backgrounds, skills, perspectives, and approaches to develop new science-based solutions. We focus on working compassionately with all people including those in vulnerable and under-served populations to improve outcomes and promote dignity for all people.

GBHI is based at the University of California, San Francisco, and Trinity College Dublin. Visit www.gbhi.org or find us on Twitter @GBHI_Fellows.

Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The mission of Alzheimer’s Society UK is to transform the landscape of dementia forever. Until the day we find a cure, we will strive to create a society where those affected by dementia are supported and accepted, able to live in their community without fear or prejudice.

Alzheimer’s Society relies on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0330 333 0804 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk. Alzheimer’s Society provides the Dementia Connect support line, the number is 0333 150 3456.